Today I watched the Ashland Deer Summit, and it reminded me of all the things I love and hate about this town. The very fact that we live in such an idyllic paradise that one of our only problems are the occasional violence of deer is wonderful. This is a beautiful place, though I would not call it ‘magical’.
I would leave that description to Mary Gabriel, who refers to this town as a ‘magical town’ in her prewritten comment she read aloud at the Summit. Mary claims that, since the deer were here first, it would be wrong of us to stage a culling or ‘harvest’ as Don Strong proposed. She calls it shameful to stain our hands with the blood of ‘the other beings’ who inhabit Ashland. Despite her endless critiques of the solutions of others, Mary’s only recommendations to those who fear for their safety is to ‘run like the dickens’ or move to a city. She also threatens to do everything in her power to get the mayor and the town bad publicity if she does not get her way.
Ashland is full of Mary Gabriels. They claim that magic is real, sell quartz crystals as medicine and deny the effectiveness of vaccines. The mountains that surround this valley block them off from the real world. These, however, are not the only people in Ashland.
Gary Fall, Carol Walker, Don Strong, Ed McCurry and the Doherty family all represent the rational people Ashland has to offer. The Doherty family, Gary Fell, and Carl Walker suggested a culling like the ones used in Australia on the Kangaroos. Don Strong even went on to propose the meat thereof be used to fill the food bank in order to help the homeless. When others began to complain about the possibility of killing the deer, Ed McCurry came up with an interesting compromise. He suggested that the deer be sedated and relocated to a safer place.
Overall, the Summit was handled pretty well our local mayor, who moderated between different groups with a time limit on speaking and some cold hard facts. As long as people like him are in charge, I’m sue this town’s policies will remain open to all for input.