Lunaya Pravda

30 June 2006

Think we're free? Just try to get crabs

Over this past weekend, I had the pleasure of playing host to a friend of mine, K., in from the southwest. Good guests make it easy to be a good host, and she's definitely among the best ones I've had stay with me since I bought my first house in September. She denies that she's charming, despite all evidence to the contrary. Excellent conversation, great sense of humor, and though she embarrassed me more than a few times staging pictures of the snow globe accompanying her (like the garden gnome from Amélie), we had a great time.

Some have heard the staying that goes something like "Think you're free? Try buying a cow and selling the milk." After watching what's happening to an Amish man in Ohio who sold raw milk to an undercover government flunkey, it's clear how much freedom has suffered, even in the ironically named nonexistent "free market". I had my own similar moment of clarity this week.

K. and I had planned on trying out crabbing for the first time this weekend, so I hopped on the internet to find out what we needed to do to keep the government thugs at bay. God knows you don't want to get nabbed with an illegal catch when they can seize your car and all your gear over a case of crabs, and being a total newbie at crabbing, I was prepared to jump through the hoops to prevent that very thing. I mean, how many hoops could there be?

Oh, the horror! Buy a 1 to 5-day fishing license and get a dungeness crab stamp affixed to it for an extra fee; be sure to fill out your catch record and send it to the state by next April, complete with personal contact info; crabbing is allowed here, here, or there, except on dates X, Y, and Z; generally the crabbing season starts on this date but may start later in certain zones because of decreased dungeness numbers; crabs must be male and more than six inches across... The rules and regulations and restrictions went on... and on... and on. And not only that, those regs were spread out over pages and pages of information. There wasn't just one web site titled "Crabbing info" that laid out everything we needed to know. All of it is parceled out and hidden in more generalized sites relating to all types of fishing.

In the end, we both decided it'd be better to just get crabs at the docks and skip the bureaucratic bullshit. So if you think we're still truly free, I challenge you to get a case of crabs without the government getting involved.

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