Sunday, December 23, 2012

Gator Catch

     I reported the nuisance alligators in my pond to the agency called Alachua County Animal Control, which says it "removes unwanted wildlife."
     I think of these alligators as representatives of the prosecutors who are presiding over the putative investigation of my clinic.   The alligators and the investigators are both making life inhospitable for the rest of us.  They're hanging out in the wrong places, doing surveillance work where there isn't anything suspicious going on, taking down innocent creatures.  They're big fish in a small pond, making commotion, gaining fame by baring their teeth around the rest of us, who don't have weapons.  Ducks, fish, frogs, cranes, patients, doctors and clinic staff are all pretty defenseless.
     "They've got real small brains," said the local guys who arrived with fishing poles and beef lung as bait for catching the gators.
     "They don't spend a whole lotta time thinking."
     The two men happened to be relatives of some of my patients.
     "We know you," said one.  "We just live a mile away."
     "Yeah, you've been my grand-mamma's doctor for fifteen years," the other added.
     I mentioned the government's investigation of my clinic.
     "You don't have to tell us those government guys don't know what they're doing," they said.  "We know you're innocent."
     Turns out they'd had a run-in with the federal government, too.  The IRS nabbed them, saying they owed a ton in back taxes.  Two years and $190,000 in legal expenses later, the IRS changed it's mind, informing them they didn't owe back taxes, after all.   Too late:  the men had closed their business and decided not to work or pay taxes ever again.
     If you don't have to work, why bother, after having faced regulatory agents who terrorize you, threaten to shut down your business, and don't have to be accountable in any substantive way?
     That's what they said.  "I don't blame you for closing your business," one gator guy told me, as he baited his line and sent out a series of high-pitched clucking calls to rouse one of the alligators, who surfaced long enough to look at him.
     I left the pond, and watched the activities from a window.
    Both alligators were caught, and hauled off the property.  I know it's not kind, but I thought they looked like government agents with their jaws tied shut, trapped in the back of the pick-up truck.
    I am told they were going to be relocated to Lochloosa Lake.
    Should I care whether they end up in someone else's frying pan or not?

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