perpetuating myths (was uptight/stragne/illegal behaviour)

Shueyi Shueyi at
Tue Mar 3 18:05:29 EST 1998

Ken Philip states - "
< 	The North must have a wider tolerance for deviant behavior than
<     do the lower 48 states.

Based on all the other posts to this list that's what you have to believe, but
I'm not so sure that' it is true.  In over 22 years of active collecting, I
have been approached by "enforcers" exactly two times.  Once was on Big Pine
Key in the late 1980's where I was collecting in a vacent lot in town and was
harrassed by a local envioromental activist, and the other was two years ago
when and Indiana Conservation Officer really was an a**hole and chased me down
for "poaching endangered speies".  

The Big Pine Key incident is easy to understand, given that about 10 people
could see me at any given moment and I was on private property without a clue
about who owned it.  

The second is harder to explain, given that I was on a Nature Conservancy
property, I'm and employee of The Nature Conservancy, and there are no
endangered species at the site.  As it turns out, the Conservation Officer
took quite a bit of heat for violating the Conservancy's private property
rights without our permission (a serious no-no if you are a government
employee in a paranoid state like Indiana).  I explain this incident as
follows - the Officer was simply an idiot.  Idiots exsist in all professions,
this one just happerned to be a Conservation Officer.  (the really scary thing
is that this one gets to carry a gun).

The bottom line is that a reasonable person can indeed collect without being
harassed in the lower 48.  99.9999999% of my time in the field has been
incident free.  The 2 negative events haven't soured my love of entomology -
I'm not a bitter person who dreads and fears my next encounter with someone
who does not share my exact view point on this particular subject.  But I do
make sure that I minimize the odds of encountering such types. I don't hide in
the bushes acting like I'm up to no good. I don't sneak onto public lands or
into people's back yards.  I act responsibly and I'use common sense.. I get
permission from the land owner (public or private), I respect their descision
if they say no, and I don't make a spectacle out of myself.  If you do this,
you'll be fine and you will probably even enjoy the experiance..

There are so many myth's out there about harassment, problems with permits,
and so on that simply aren't true.  But because you only hear the bad, you
assume all the news is negative.  I have yet see anyone on this list asking
for people who have never had a problem with collecting to post messages -
just requests for bad experiances.  So guess what you read about ......
whining about this or that problem by people who wear cammo outfits and skulk
in the bushes.

As an example of one of these myths, I recently had the chance to work for a
few weeks in Mexico.  I was told by several people that there was no way I
would ever get a permit to collect on  such short notice (I had less than 3
months lead time).  "Mexico simply does not issue collecting permits anymore"
is what I was told.  Or,  it would cost me several hundered dollars to get my
request processed and it would take at least a year.  Well as it turns out,
none of these "experts" had actually tried to get one, they were just
repeating second-hand information,  myths that had been passed on to them by
others who had heard this or that story.  

Through a friend, I managed to get a permit at no cost within 3 weeks of my
initial request.  This myth undoubtably will live on, despite reality.

That's life,
John Shuey

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