Thursday, March 1, 2012

Thoughts from the Road - Danger Real and Perceived

I spend time each month in, or traveling through, for work or visiting friends and family, in a state where a law abiding citizen can't carry a legally obtained firearm concealed to protect against all the criminals that have their illegal weapons. Until such time as the lawmakers in that state see the light, I will only take my allowable gear, some basic safety devices, and some olives for a martini, making sure I don't stop to spend money or anything anyplace I may not be safe.

Much effort is wasted on worrying about guns in the hands of millions of law abiding citizens for whom statistics show, make it through years and years of owning a weapon, of carrying concealed, without shooting up a Jiffy Lube. Yet to some, including certain politicians, concealed carry citizens are considered as dangerous to them as a career criminal.

Violent criminals and concealed carry holders. How do we know which one is dangerous to the law abiding? (aside from that whole full FBI background check thing).

How would you know the difference?

Armed robber. Grandma protecting her home and her family. You can hardly tell them apart.

It's a fact.

Why am I uneasy when I travel to or through a state where I can not legally carry a concealed firearm? States that do not allow concealed carry have a violent crime rate MUCH higher than those states that do.And that myth that many politicians tout? "1000 people are killed every year by guns".
They forget to tell you that 25% of those include war deaths, 14% is suicide (and suicide rates do NOT go down in areas that don't allow guns). The majority of the rest are in high crime, lawless areas, that don't allow guns except for the criminals who greatly add to the gun deaths there.

A law abiding person has a greater chance of being killed by a cow than of dying by gunfire, either intentionally, or accidentally, from the weapon used by someone who lawfully holds it.Yes, more people are killed by cows each year than lawful guns intemtionally fired by a non criminal. Even more than sharks (though I'd avoid if swimming in the Pacific wearing your wasabi wet suit).

Yes - Cows.

Here's one disemboweling his lastest victim.
Why aren't the politicians doing something about that?

-Cow locks required on all cows and cow pastures.
-All assault cows banned except those with properly attached cow bells.
-The formation of organizations to keep the media informed of the danger, such as BADD (Bovines are Deadly, Dumbass)
-Cow Owner Identification Cards (have it ready to show the law officer).
-N.C.R.A.: National Cow Registration Act requiring the registration and marking of all cows with non-removable serial numbers.

And lastly, the establishment of "Cow-Free Zones" for the safety of citizens. For we know, that no one is ever badly injured on a farm in areas where there aren't cows.

So, to keep in line with the hysteria involved with "oh my God, you own a gun" and the Brady campaigns flawed logic of how concealed carry causes more crime, I present a Home on the Range Primer on avoiding violent crime by cow.

Yes, cows, seen in screen and print as a gentle lowly creature, the cow can easily turn into a grumpy mooing menace. I've lived on a farm. I know.
Think about it, you're doing a bit of pheasant hunting, crossing land you got permission to roam, having a wonderful time. The sky is balmy, the birds singing in the trees. Then up ahead, you head the yell of one of your companions. You run up ahead to find him scrambing up the tree as Mr. Bull tries to give him a horn enema. You turn and run, but guess what. He's gaining, and you're next.

You might be surprised to know that few people know how to defend themselves from cow attack. Between 2003 and 2008, 108 people died from cattle-induced injuries across the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The majority of cow-related fatalities were caused by blunt force trauma to the head or chest; with over a third of the victims working in enclosed spaces with cattle. Normally, the perpetual battle between man and bovine is one-sided (and involves steak sauce). But people who work around cattle have associated risks, and have to be aware of both the animal and their surroundings at all time. "Like what they say about dogs, they can smell fear," one local rancher said.

But you're thinking? I'm not a farmer, I don't have a ranch. Why should I worry about cow attack? Well why do people worry that a married Baptist CPA is somehow going to take his concealed carry weapon into the local grocery and shoot up the entire produce section, including them? So for those that worry entirely too much about such things. Some cow safety tips.

How to tell a Gentle Cow from a Really Pissed off Cow.

See the difference?

Now, don’t get mixed up, non pissed off cows are still very dangerous. But it can be difficult to tell them apart. Color, however, is not a reliable identifying characteristic for either sex and the claws, which can rival that of Wolverine of the X-men, are difficult to see at a distance.

Precautions when camping in cow country. Now that you know to watch for a cow that's in a bad MOOd (pun intended). it’s time to learn what you can do to prevent an attack when camping out. Do not cook or store food in or near your tent, unless your tent is equipped with the latest in anti-cow technology. Do not sleep in the clothing you cook in and properly stow garbage, wash dishes and wipe down any tabletops. Hang food and anything with strong odors (toothpaste, bug repellent, hippies, etc.) out of the reach of cows, if possible. If no trees are available, store your food in airtight or specially designed cow-proof containers. Avoid taking odorous foods and keep food smells off your clothing, lest you be molested or mugged and have your wallet stolen by gangs of cows.

Hiking in Cow Country. You must avoid surprising the cow at close range. If the terrain makes it hard for them to see you as your approach, make lots of noise. Talk loudly, wear a bell, sing the Monty Python Lumberjack song. If spotted by a cow, try to get its attention while it is a good distance away. Help the cow to recognize that you are a human by talking to it in a normal voice, waving your arms. Try not and travel alone. In a group, cows will attack the weakest link. Try and hike with people much slower and fatter than yourself and if the cow rushes you, point at that obnoxious guy with short legs that complained the entire hike.

Watch for signs that cows are in the area. That can include rubs and scrapes, cow patties, unusual explosions and booby traps involving spikes. Identifying these clues may help to prevent an encounter.

Leave your dog at home. Dogs and cows don't mix. Unless of course you're looking for a good dog vs.cow knife fight.

If you Encounter a Cow. Remain calm and avoid sudden movements. Give the cow plenty of room, allowing it to continue its activities undisturbed. Every living thing has a zone of danger or personal space -- that is, the distance within which a cow feels threatened. If it changes its natural behavior (feeding, foraging or hay huffing) because of your presence, you are too close.If you push that limit, the cow may react aggresively in the form of a bluff charge, or even an outright attack. Cows are famous for the bluff charge and may run at you and suddenly stop or continue right at you. You never know, which it will be, they have a terrible poker face. If they charge and stop, try and stand still and slowly back away. If they continue, try and get something between you and the cow, trees, outbuildings, a chili cookoff. Then get away from the cow as quickly as you can.

If a confrontation is unavoidable. Kick, punch, yell, the welfare of the animal is not important if your life is at risk (and how much damage do you think you are going to do to a 1300 pound side of beef?)

Do not play dead. Unless you want a fresh steaming cow pile on your head.

Don't get cornered. Like politicians you elect, trust them and get used to how they work, but don't trust them so much that you ever turn your back on them. Avoid getting into a confined space with cows. A lot of farmers are killed when cows smashed them against the sides of gates, fences and barns.

Don't forget the little ones. A calf may be cute but don't forget its "protective and charging at you Mama" is not. When a cow gives birth she becomes another animal, one that a bottle of Midol, a backrub, and a slug of scotch will NOT help improve the mood of.

If you live with a cow with a violent temper. Adjust its attitude. Have a nice steak dinner. Invite your friends.

Next Week: The Barn Cat- The beltfed weapon of the hayloft (with a reminder of some of the rules of cats)

Cats are always loaded.

Be sure of your cat and what is behind it.

Never point your cat at anything you don't wish to destroy (especially furniture).
Keep your finger off the cat until you are ready to fire.


  1. If cows are outlawed, only outlaws will have cows.

    BTW, if you look at the photos of the B&W cow side by side and cross your eyes until the 2 photos merge, you'll have a 3D image? cool.

    This is what happens when you mix migraine meds and boredom.

  2. When I got to the cows I began laughing until my eyes were streaming. Thank you for a great post and a great laugh. I so needed to smile.

  3. Full. Of. Win.

    Your internets is in the mail.

  4. "never point your cat at something you do not wish to destroy..."

    bwaaa ha ha! Cats - some are easy to carry, most are difficult to conceal

  5. I was going to suggest that everyone join Cow Owners In The United States, but the acronym looks REALLY bad on a business card.

  6. I found out early in life that even gentle old dairy cows are incredibly strong.

    Do NOT let a barn cat use a cow's hind leg as a scratching post while you are milking said cow.

    If a cow wants through the fence, it's coming through. If it wants over the fence, it WILL get over the fence.

    If a half grown South Dakota range heifer trots into the sale pen with its' ears up, GET OUT NOW!

    And, if you're ever on a farm and someone offers you a cat named "Buzzsaw" to pet, DON'T!!

  7. Several years ago while Back Packing in Northern New Mexico, we learned that cows are also a defense mechanism, against Bears. Camping in the vicinity of cows assures you of having an early warning system of prowling bears. Mama cows get extremely noisy if they sense the presence of a bear, alerting every one within bellowing distance that something is up.

  8. So work...with a straight have to explain why I'm beet red and wiping away tears! Maybe I'll just hand the questioner a bottle of A1 and a link to this post...!

    Awesome, as always!

  9. "I put on women's clothing, and hang around in bars!"
    (sorry, just came in from a hike)
    Damn! Now I'm thinking of steak and steak sauce (A-1, of course!)

  10. You ignored the whole "chemical weapon" aspect of cows. My neighbor has a small (50 or so head) feed lot. Spring in Iowa is great chemical warfare training!!

    obviously something must be done!!!

    (not even gonna get started on pigs)

  11. cows...why did it have to be cows...

  12. The last time I saw my father on the farm, a bull was chasing him across the field and he barely made it over the fence.:)

    Blackhawk CQD Mark I Type E?

  13. Yeah, ya got to watch out for the cats. They have no external safeties!

  14. Barn cats...heh

    Back during our living on a horse farm era, barn cats were a given. One day one of the teen age boys who used to muck out the stalls began playing with one. Picked it up (mistake #1) and walked over to the electric fence. Dangled the tail over the fence (Big mistake #2). Was asleep during the high school science lesson about electricity....

    Cat also did about three 360's around his head, down one unprotected arm and was gone.

    He never _ucked with either the cats or the fence again.

    Chalk it up to a cognitive learning experience, I guess.

  15. Amen sister! You are too funny! What's even funnier is that my sister totaled her truck a few months ago guessed it...a cow that was loose.

  16. Awesome. I placed the "cat safety rules" on my blog with a link, mostly because my cat is happily napping on the arm rest of my chair as I'm laughing at this post.

    Great stuff

  17. Buzzsaw the Cat - oh there's a story there. I have arrived at my destination, tired but cow free.

    Talk to you all later!

  18. While working on a large wildland fire in Montana, my crew and I had to fight several cows when we tried to use a stock tank as a safety zone. There was a lot of pushing and shoving. I believe there were even some very bad words used by both sides.

  19. Horn enema? Ummmm, no thanks. :)

  20. Close Encounters of the Cow Kind.

    That was hilarious.

  21. Hilarious. My dad has a bunch of cows and I'm around them all of the time. Most of the time when they hurt someone, it's not that they're mean it is that they are stupid. And they do have plenty of stoopid to go around. Maybe there's something there, too. Stupid is dangerous and this is where cows and CSGV folks are alike.

  22. I'm in no moood for such scurrilous attacks on my or any of my herds character.

    Thank you,
    Elsie T. Cow

  23. There are the shorthorns and the long horns, both can be a goreing experience. Neither is mentioned in the constitution as being illegal to have possession of. Therefore I shall file for concealed weapon permit, north end of cow headed south.

    Very good idea of carrying mad cow with self for self protection. Unleash the aroma of a trampling bovine.

  24. WAIT... there's married, Baptist CPA's packin' heat?

    Thanks for the mooooo-ving commentary and smiles...

    Dann in Ohio

  25. All the anti-gunners ought to read this, although they probably won't understand most of it, being so "civilized" and all.

  26. Queue up Dana Lyons singing "Cows With Guns".

    I grew up on a farm as well and I have much more respect for hogs. Cows don't eat you when you're down.

  27. Brigid, it has been an unbelievably stressful week at work. But I laughed uncontrollably reading this post. . . think it's the first time I've laughed all week. Yep, we gotta take away all those cows, they are definitely a threat to society. Another benefit in reading your posts, I find lots of other great blogs to follow.

  28. hahahaha!! Love it!!! AND! the Cat analogies "Never point your cat at something you do not wish to destroy..."
    "Cats - some are easy to carry, most are difficult to conceal" Alison I love that one!

  29. hahahaha!! Love it!!! AND! the Cat analogies "Never point your cat at something you do not wish to destroy..."
    "Cats - some are easy to carry, most are difficult to conceal" Alison I love that one!

  30. Great post. A good laugh to start the day.

  31. Speaking of the dangers of Cows, you'll love this new lawsuit:

    Pamela Moore
    Kalamazoo County Fair Inc.; Kalamazoo County Agricultural Society; Kalamazoo County Farm Bureau Inc.

    2/16/2012 12-0094-NO (Kalamazoo)

    Negligence action. Plaintiff was attacked by a pregnant Cow while attending defendants' County Fair.

    Beware the MOOdiness of a pregnant cow....

  32. Brilliant! Absolutely Brilliant!

    An old fellow who worked for my Granddad used to tell me that "A cow could tear up an anvil." as he fixed the latest casualty.

  33. Geez, don't be spreading this around about cows. They've got so many laws on the books now that it's darn near impossible to raise a decent steak.
    When we were runing x,xxx head the ol cowboys always said it was easy to work cattle as long as you thought like a cow. Somehow...I never found that hard to do...

  34. Doing my personal best to make the world a safer place, eating one menacing cow at a time.................

  35. Here's another massively more frequent killer than sharks: falling out of bed(kills 450 annually in the US).

    (Vending machines kill 10-13 annually).

  36. Mrs. S. - sorry I hit the wrong button. Glad you enjoyed this again. No barn cat future post, I was just having some fun. :-)

  37. Aw, shucks, with your sense of humor, I bet a barn cat post would be really funny.

  38. Great post! Had me laughing out loud enough to wake my cats. (Now I've got to snack them or I'm dead meat!)

  39. One winter my Mom took in a stray cat that showed up in our back yard. It was nice enough to allow the rest of us to stay in the house with it. This cat was huge - about 26 lbs. It was also very ill-tempered. It did not like to be touched. It would hop up into your lap and sit there and purr, but if you tried to pet it you lost skin. It's purr sounded more like a growl than a purr.

    Our neighbors from up the street had a medium sized dog that was just as ill-tempered. They kept it in the back yard. All the kids in the neighborhood knew to stay out of their yard because of this dog.

    One day I heard the two little girls who lived across the street screaming. I looked out the window and saw the dog from up the street snarling and growling at them as it backed them across their front lawn as the older girl tried to hold it at bay with a plastic baseball bat. I bolted out out the door, hopped over the front porch railing and started screaming at the dog as I ran across the yard. I was desperately trying to figure out what I was going to do once I attracted the dogs attention. As I reached the street I noticed our(?) cat sitting on the curb watching the show. As I ran past I snatched the cat by the scruff of the neck, and holding it away from my body, shook it as I ran. As I crossed the street my yelling and the cat howling got the dog's attention. When it turned and growled my direction - I threw the cat at it.

    The fight was short, loud, involved teeth, claws, a lot of flying fur. I didn't see all of it because I was rushing the girls towards their front door. The cat won, so to speak. Or rather the cat didn't run away first. In the end it took 17 stitches to fix the dog and 19 for the cat.

    I told you that, to tell you this - In the aftermath of getting the animals healed, and apologies all around between all the families - my Dad looked at me and said "Nice job looking after the other kids in the neighborhood, but don't make a habit of this. I don't want anyone accusing you of assault with an angry feline."

  40. I saw a cow kill a hawk.It landed on the afterbirth ,the cow charged and pinned it with her knees.I named her Hawk Killer.By God ,she threw bull calfs too.

  41. I wish you hadn't posted this because:

    1., er, ah...soiled my pants laughing;

    2. Somewhere there are politicians who will read this and introduce a bill to close the MOODy Cow Show Loophole. Anothers will amend it to prohibit barn cats owning more than ten claws; and

    3. Not to be out done, another will amend the bill to require I have permission to own a bed, prevent me from getting getting up in the morning without a license, and insist I get training from certified bed safety officers.

    Mark my words. You have opened a can of stink that will not remain unstirred.

  42. Cows have always been a constant source of pain and frustration in my life. But then I gotta think about all those steaks, roasts, burgers, ribs......cheese, ice cream.....
    Ahh what the hell, maybe it was worth it after all.

    I still hate barbed wire though.


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