Monday, February 7, 2011
Are you compliant with a certain Mohave County Regulation?

Butch Meriwether
Butch's Brew

Society as a whole has come a long way since the days of discrimination, ethnic persecution and the oppression of others.

There have been great leaps and bounds toward the equality of men and women.

Discrimination and ethnic persecution, which single out of a particular group, have all but stopped in many parts of the U.S., but there are still infectious pockets of opposition to the strides achieved within our great nation.

Most everyone wants discrimination and unfair treatment of others stopped, but the practice of discrimination and segregation continues to flourish on a daily bases within Mohave County, especially against the descendants of Cher Ami who became famous for successfully helping save the lives of United States military personnel during World War I.

Cher Ami was part of an elite group assigned to the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France, during the war. Cher Ami and others were utilized when normal forms of communication failed or were not available.

You might wonder how Cher Ami was able to display such intestinal fortitude to continue his journey to get a message to where the rescuers were located after having his eye shot out, being blood-soaked, shot in his breastbone and the message he was carrying dangled from a tendon, the only part left of his leg. For his actions, Cher Ami was awarded the Croix de Guerre for heroic military service on the front lines of Verdun, France, during WWI.

I don't think Cher Ami even considered anything such as discrimination or ethnic persecution during his short military career. I think he only knew he had an assignment and no one or anything was going to keep him from accomplishing his mission. He was a true hero in the making.

Another great American hero named G.I. Joe helped save the lives of more than 1,000 British soldiers during WWII by getting a message to the fleet of U.S. bombers just prior to them taking off to bomb the city of Calvi Risorta in Italy. The U.S. aircraft were to bomb the city at 10:45 a.m., but they were not aware the British had captured the town at 10 a.m. that day. If it wasn't for G.I. Joe, all of the British troops within the city limits would have perished from the deadly rain of American bombs.

However, in mid-1998, the Mohave County Board of Supervisors decided after a lengthy discussion and a unanimous vote that instead of embracing the descendants of Cher Ami and G.I. Joe who currently reside in the county, they were going to make it against the law to provide aid and food to them. The punishment if someone violated the new law enacted by the BOS in 1998 was a $100 civil fine for each offense.

The BOS again took up the issue of feeding Cher Ami and G.I. Joe's descendants one step further in 2009. The BOS decided to raise the civil fine to $750 for the first offense, and if the perpetrator/good Samaritan didn't come into compliance within 15 days, they would be responsible for a $1,000 per day civil fine for the continued offense or noncompliance.

It isn't the fault of Cher Ami and G.I. Joe's descendants for being here because they had nothing to say about their arrival in what is now called the U.S. That's right; the Rock Pigeon are not indigenous to the U.S. and prior to the Europeans bringing them to the New World, no one had laid eyes upon them here. What people refer to as Carrier Pigeons are actually Rock Doves specifically domesticated to be utilized to transport messages

However, not everyone is aware not all pigeon species were brought to the New World by the Europeans. The Passenger Pigeon also known as Wild Pigeons (Ectopistes migratorius) inhabited North America and lived in enormous migratory flocks that sometimes contained more than two billion birds, but they have been extinct since when the last known died in 1914. Some of their flocks would be seen that stretched more than a mile and a half wide and a few hundred miles long across the sky, sometimes taking several hours to pass. When they flew overhead, the skies appeared to turn dark when they passed overheard. It is estimated that the Passenger Pigeon was the most numerous species of birds on the Earth at one time.

Most people who reside in Lake Havasu City also hate the descendants of Cher Ami and G.I. Joe, but they have quickly forgotten that early residents, developers and city officials brought them there to help with the dedication of the London Bridge on Oct. 10, 1971.

That's right, even officials from Lake Havasu City can be blamed for the Rock Dove population that are better known as pigeons within Mohave County.

Even Woody Allen of Hollywood fame, has ridiculed and degraded pigeons. He perpetrated ethnic persecution with a "racial slur" by referring to pigeons as "rats with wings" in the 1980 movie Stardust Memories that he wrote and directed.

Needless to say, the media has also perpetuated this racial slur for 30 years and continues to ridicule and degrade pigeons so that they have no respect in our society and, therefore, are treated with contempt and hatred by Mohave County officials and most of the general public.

Instead of perpetrating discrimination, ethnic persecution and imposing fines for individuals who support and feed Cher Ami's and G.I. Joe's descendants, we all should embrace them.

Maybe our county should follow the lead of a very large city in the U.S. by declaring a specific day to honor the descendants of such great heroes as Cher Ami and G.I. Joe.

The New York Bird Club has unofficially designated June 13 as National Pigeon Day, and they furthered their support of their feathered friends by asking New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to make it official. June 13 is the day Cher Ami, which means "dear friend" in French, departed this Earth for a really nice pigeon coop in Heaven.

A letter was sent to President Barack Obama on May 13, 2009, asking him to designate June 13 to honor pigeons. According to the letter to the president, pigeons "...often are the first contact children have with nature, and for the elderly, feeding pigeons ... gives them both purpose and pleasure when they have little else left." Many elderly folks enjoy sitting on a park bench and feeding the pigeons.

You might not realize it, but throngs of Mohave County residents, both young and elderly, more than likely violate the no-feeding pigeon ordinance on a daily basis and they are not even aware of it. Most of the county ordinances are not posted on the county's website, and unless a person violates an ordinance/law and is cited by law enforcement or county officials, they would never know they had broken the law.

If county residents enjoy feeding doves, quail, rabbits and other desert creatures around their homes, and a wayward pigeon "wings" its way to the tasty meal placed out for other species, the particular resident could be fined. All it takes is a neighbor to complain to the Mohave County Health Department and they are on the fast track to paying a fine if they continue to feed their feathered friends.

I understand that "big brother" is watching and most municipalities have crime-stoppers programs where residents can report crimes they have information about or of ones they observed.

But I believe people should think twice about calling to report your neighbor for feeding pigeons. Your neighbor could be feeding the descendants of Cher Ami and G.I. Joe. Maybe one of those Mohave County pigeons' ancestors saved your family members' life in your direct lineage during the war and if your relative hadn't survived, then you wouldn't have been brought into this world.

Remember, pigeons are deeply embedded in the history of the world, have their place in American history and continue to serve when called to help provide messaging when normal forms of communication can't be utilized.
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