Does Having A Bear-Smart Community Imply Smart Humans Are Developing Policy?

by Travis Mateer

For Missoula to be considered a BEAR SMART community, policies are being developed to create bear buffer zones, where special trash cans will be REQUIRED of citizens to use. But as policies get developed, are we just assuming that the humans developing these policies are smart? I don’t think it’s smart to assume bear smart policies are being developed by smart people, and here’s why: enforcement.

The conversation I heard around enforcement was mildly interesting, and indicates that policy makers might not have the kind of smarts it takes to understand how words like “enforcement” become actual actions that will produce the compliance they are seeking from citizens in these newly defined bear buffer zones.

It’s almost cute how they think changing potential penalties from CRIMES to CIVIL infractions will entice judges to levy those infractions more readily against those pesky “repeat offender” who, for whatever reason, are going to require some level of coercion to get them to comply. The city attorney even said it’s a lower standard of proof with just civil infractions, so that might further incentivize prosecutors to make us a SMART and SAFE community. For bears. By fining the shit out of people who don’t properly secure their shit.

Good job, Bear Smart Missoula!

There were some bear smart advocates on campus who I approached a few weeks ago, and I asked them about homeless encampments, and if that was an issue they were aware of, since our own Mayor claimed one of these encampments allowed many pounds of BACON to spoil in summer heat.

No, they said, that issue wasn’t really on their radar.

Do I have an opinion about that? Yeah, I think it is VERY STUPID for the SMART bear people to NOT be thinking about “urban camping” as a bear attractant.

While it’s super fun listening to the smart people develop new ways for local government to take your money for non-compliance with their SMART policies, I didn’t get a nap today, so I’m going to leave it there.

If you appreciate the questioning of basic assumptions, consider supporting Travis’ Impact Fund (TIF), or making a donation at my about page.

Thanks for reading!

About Travis Mateer

I'm an artist and citizen journalist living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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1 Response to Does Having A Bear-Smart Community Imply Smart Humans Are Developing Policy?

  1. Jay Putman says:

    There is a group here in Missoula who do not have permanent shelter. The seem to lie down anywhere they want, especially in green areas. They eat anywhere they want and sleep anywhere they want. They seem to like the river and other water areas. They wander around our streets, apparently caring little about getting hit by traffic. They defecate out in the open without regard to the health of the environment.

    Of course I am referring to the urban deer population.

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