The Deer Here Ain’t So Dumb, Dear

On any given day, you’ll find the FBI Academy range on the Quantico Marine base is crawling with federal agents firing thousands of rounds of ammunition. You’ll also find it crawling with deer, often wandering and browsing very close to the targets — while shooting is going on!

The reason they are there is because the academy grounds are, of course, restricted to official users, so there is no hunting allowed. And, as any avid deer hunter can tell you, deer learn where the no-hunting zones are, and many deer migrate to them every deer-hunting season. But what explains their nonchalant wandering around targets while volleys of gunfire fill the air?

Simple, say animal behaviorists: They have  learned that despite all those gun blasts, none of them are ever hit. They don’t behave that way in areas where gunfire is rare, but when it’s heard, their fellow critters tend to fall down dead. To them, “Lotsa shots, no dead buddies” and “Not so many shots, lotsa dead buddies” is a pretty simple equation. It may even have some application to smarter humans — but then again, maybe not. They’d have to be smarter than deer, anyway.

When Vanity Becomes Stupidity

In every state they’re offered, personalized “vanity plates” cost extra money, but nowhere near $20,000. That’s how much Danny White, a resident of Washington, DC, has racked up in parking tickets because of his vanity plates, which read “NO-TAGS.”

For years, every time a parking controller wrote up a violation for a vehicle with no plates or registration tags, Danny got the summons. Every three or four months he would gather up his sheaf of tickets and head for traffic court, where they would be routinely dismissed. It took a lot of time for him to do this, but he laughed it off.

Things improved when DC jiggered the computers so only “NO TAGS” citations written to Chevrolets like Danny’s Avalanche wound up in his mailbox. But still, the numbers mounted, and after 20-plus years of trips to traffic court, Danny’s just about had it, and now says his record is so long, even though it consists of voided tickets, that he can’t even renew his license or registration.

Asked why he didn’t just turn in those NO-TAGS tags, he said, because he paid for them! We won’t ask at what point vanity becomes stupidity.
By Commander Gilmore

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