Considering collaboration

To the Editor:

It was reassuring to have the Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, visit Harney County in a time of healing and opening a new path for management of public lands in the West.

However, she missed the point in her announcement that a new approach to management was being initiated, termed “collaboration,” which would improve the process.

In this politically correct era, we’ve been informed that words matter. They can be “hurtful,” “stressful,” and destructive.

I recall that at the end of World War II, citizens of Paris, France, and other European countries dealt harshly with collaborators who aided the Nazis. There had to be more to my understanding of the word.

Webster’s put me straight. A collaborationist was the European culprit while Jewell’s application means to work together to come to a literary or scientific conclusion. Being skeptical, I question, “who decides what is scientific?”

That question has led to many lawsuits and “hurtful” actions that have either directly or indirectly led to the reason Jewell came to Harney County. I won’t dispute the statement that it was going to cost $6 million to repair damage at the Malheur Refuge headquarters. I note that part of the cost was emotional damage done to government employees and their families.

What about stress created with the threat of a 2.5 million acre monument in neighboring Malheur County, that has the potential to destroy the economic and social structure of the county. Upon research I found the name Malheur was given by French trappers who suffered after consuming beaver tails laced with hemlock. The word, which means bad or evil hour, is fitting because the refuge and the county bearing the name are and have suffered bad hours.

Oh, yes, what about the suffering of Harney County’s Hammond family, and their menfolk, languishing in a federal prison because of a misunderstanding and “hurtful” application of the law.

In closing I believe her approach to collaboration, in the politically correct sense, could be “hurtful, stressful and destructive.” I believe management would be better served with a different word – “cooperation.”

Mike Hanley
Jordan Valley