Otus the Head Cat

Goat pa­trol is an­swer to guard­ing mon­u­ment.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - STYLE -

Dear Otus,

I, as all right-think­ing Arkansans, was hor­ri­fied at the re­cent de­struc­tion of the newly erected Ten Com­mand­ments mon­u­ment on the grounds of the state Capi­tol.

Whether you view the mon­u­ment as, ac­cord­ing to evan­ge­list and Repub­li­can Sen. Ja­son Rapert of Con­way, “a daily re­minder of the his­tor­i­cal moral foun­da­tion of law” or, as op­po­nents claim, “a di­vi­sive and un­con­sti­tu­tional vi­o­la­tion of the First Amend­ment sep­a­ra­tion of church and state,” the fate of the mon­u­ment should be in the courts and not at the front end of a Dodge Dart.

I’m mail­ing you my so­lu­tion to pro­tect the mon­u­ment’s re­place­ment, which should be in­stalled by the end of the month. Any sup­port you and your thou­sands of read­ers can give will be ap­pre­ci­ated. — Gary Cabra,

Quitman Dear Gary,

It was wholly a plea­sure to hear from you and to thank you for your calm, level-headed, non-fre­netic ap­proach to a sit­u­a­tion that has di­vided the state into dis­cor­dant fac­tions of hide-bound, in­tran­si­gent, Bi­ble thumpers vs. re­ac­tionary, pompous, liti­gious, ef­fete elit­ists.

This is, af­ter all, the United States of Amer­ica, where there is room for ev­ery­one (ex­cept those on a travel ban) and where the rule of law is the very glue that co­he­sively binds the dis­parate — and of­ten in­con­gru­ous — as­pects of this great ex­per­i­ment in rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­racy.

It is in­cum­bent upon us as true Amer­i­cans to hold sacro­sanct the rule of law and re­ject with vig­or­ous con­dem­na­tion the at­tempts by those who would, through vi­o­lence or ag­gres­sion, coun­ter­mand the peace­ful or­der.

That said, I need to pro­claim my new-found re­spect for the lowly Dodge Dart. I mean, the al­leged mon­u­ment killer was driv­ing a hum­ble 2016 Dodge Dart when he al­legedly smashed it into the 6-foot-tall mono­lith, shat­ter­ing the gran­ite into four large pieces and 87 shards.

Capi­tol Po­lice quickly ar­rested the al­leged per­pe­tra­tor at the scene, but they can’t be ev­ery­where at once on the 40acre grounds.

That was June 28. The mon­u­ment had been in place less than a day and was brac­ing it­self for a del­uge of law­suits from the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union and the Satanic Tem­ple.

If a Dodge Dart owner with a his­tory of mon­u­ment de­struc­tion in Ok­la­homa can al­legedly ram his 3,186-pound ve­hi­cle (MSRP $16,995) into a 3-ton gran­ite slab while al­legedly broad­cast­ing live on Face­book and al­legedly shout­ing, “Free­dom!,” then the mon­u­ment needs more pro­tec­tion than a few yards of zoysia.

Rapert, who called on elected of­fi­cials to take a stand against vi­o­lence and against peo­ple “us­ing weapons to de­stroy things” based on dif­fer­ences in view­points, said a re­place­ment mon­u­ment could pos­si­bly be pro­tected by steel posts.

Sure, steel posts might be one so­lu­tion. They are cer­tainly bet­ter than the orange plas­tic con­struc­tion safety fenc­ing that sur­rounded the crime scene in the days fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent.

But posts are hardly ad­e­quate when what is truly needed are eye­balls on the scene. And the Capi­tol Po­lice are strapped for man­power. That’s where Cabra’s so­lu­tion is the log­i­cal an­swer.

Gary’s Guard Goats is a young busi­ness in Quitman that won over the au­di­ence dur­ing the re­cent de­but of Steve Har­vey’s Fun­der­dome on ABC. Think of the seed-fund­ing com­pe­ti­tion show as Fund- er­dome, not Fun­der­dome.

Cabra and his trained goats beat out Marissa, a 15-year-old en­tre­pre­neur who in­vented the Puff-n-Fluff, a bag you put your just-washed dog in and at­tach a blow dryer to, to avoid that “wet dog” smell.

Cabra used the prize money to ex­pand his busi­ness and by pur­chas­ing six ad­di­tional guard goats, cre­at­ing a web­site and open­ing a store­front on He­ber Springs Road West in Quitman next to the old post of­fice.

Un­like guard dogs, goats need no spe­cial diet, are friendly, but fiercely pro­tec­tive of their as­signed charges. Stak­ing them out at the new Ten Com­mand­ments mon­u­ment will free up the soli­tary overnight Capi­tol Po­lice cruiser to pa­trol the rest of the sprawl­ing Capi­tol grounds.

“Ain’t no­body get­ting near that mon­u­ment when the goats are on duty,” Cabra said.

The de­ci­sion to use the goats is in the hands of Sec­re­tary of State Mark Martin, who is re­spon­si­ble for the Capi­tol and grounds.

Un­til next time, Kalaka re­minds you to con­grat­u­late Owner next time you see him. Next Fri­day marks his 40th an­niver­sary at the news­pa­per. Not bad for a guy who has never been in a jour­nal­ism class­room.

Garry’s Guard Goats

pro­tect the se­cret en­trance to the tun­nels be­neath North Lit­tle Rock’s Burns Park. The goats would be a cheap so­lu­tion to pro­tect­ing the re­stored Ten Com­mand­ments mon­u­ment.

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