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(From the Dec/Jan Zephyr) Take it or Leave it: MY ‘ALMOST-FERGUSON’ MOMENT: Rangers Should ‘Range’ But Fear & Adrenalin Can Be Deadly…by Jim Stiles

An excerpt:

The almost fanatical quest for fees turned to tragedy in New Mexico a few weeks ago at Elephant Butte State Park when a state park ranger shot a tourist to death during a dispute over a camping fee. According to a story in the Las Cruces Sun-News, the victim, apparently a tourist in his 50s from Montana, became belligerent with Ranger Clyde Woods, a three-year veteran of the parks department when he refused to pay a $14 camping fee. Woods attempted to arrest the camper for trespassing and the man put his hands in his pockets and refused to remove them.

According to a spokeswoman for the parks division, Erica Asmus-Otero, the man “acted in a manner that our officer is trained to respond to,” and said he was “aggressive and verbally abusive.” So Ranger Woods shot him dead. The dead man was NOT carrying a firearm or a knife of any kind.

After the shooting, Parks Director Dave Simon said, “Deadly force is always a last resort” and added that the “vast majority of park users comply willingly with park fees.”


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