Saturday, April 23, 2016

Indifferent Government

The Indifference of Government

            Photography is one of my hobbies and when I travel I look for scenes to capture.  I try to avoid the Interstate and look at what has been bypassed.  Across the plains are a variety of small towns, many empty or seriously declining.   Along these routes are a tremendous variety of images to capture.  The little town in the picture still operates a grain elevator there and usually there is a collection of grain cars spotted there.  This time it was coal hoppers that were mothballed there.  I stopped to take some pictures and on down the road I went. 

            It wasn’t until later that I looked at the pics that some anger showed up.  Here was an image of government indifference to the people they are supposed to govern.  The coal hopper is parked next to what had been a coal shed from years ago.  Up through the early 1900’s, coal was the choice for heating homes and in some cases cooking.  Then it was learned how to process oil and gas to use for heating and cooking and some things began to change.  Coal was still the primary fuel to generate power for factories and electrical plants.  With some work, coal was cleaned up and became a very clean efficient fuel source.            
            Yet for a few people, coal became a hated black dirty rock.  This small minority began a campaign to blame coal for lots of society’s ills and what disappointing is how many people believed the convoluted stories that were being put out.  This group of people known as “Greenies” pressured government bureaucrats to believe their story and some of them got jobs in various government agencies to further their hate for coal.  Today government policy has almost become totally anti-coal.  Alternative methods had to be built to generate power for a modern society to operate.  In the process the people that would be adversely impacted by changes in government policy were ignored. 
            Today thousands of people are out of work because of government policy.  The sting of coal hoppers mothballed here in this little town represent, 1000’s of jobs that have been lost.  The employees of large coal companies have been laid off, the transportation companies are laying off more as are many related industries laying off workers.  So many people are out of work because of the attitude of the government. 
            The government could step back on their policies and many of these people could go back to work.  No, the government does not ease their policy.  Instead, thousands of workers are now relying of the government dole because there are not jobs out there for these displaced workers.  So rather than having productive citizens, that are earning a wage and paying taxes.  These people are now drawing down the treasury department of tax money. 
            Then there are all of the associated businesses that are impacted.  Fewer goods are consumed because of the lack of surplus income.  Sales at stores decline and like dominoes, more jobs are lost.  When one looks at the ripple effects, there are probably millions of people that are affected by this adverse government policy.  Yet when one looks at the haltered of coal, nothing is gained by this hate.  Instead lives are destroyed. 
            Looking at the country, USA, when it goes into a recession, it is usually because of an adverse government regulation.  Best example is the Stock Market crash of 1929 and the ensuing depression it caused.  There were other factors that amplified the depression, but the key element was how the government dealt with the banking industry.  Tracking back over the years, the economic downturns have mostly come from government policy.  When the government changes its attitude towards the people, it is amazing how the economy recovers. 
            People of the country for the most part are pretty competent citizens and very capable of taking care of themselves.  When somebody gets in a position of government authority and has the attitude that they know what’s best for the peasants is when the country has troubles. 

            So my question is: Why doesn’t the government regulators and politicians want to put these people back to work and help keep the economy going? 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

eastern colorado

Chimung, Colorado

Almost to the eastern end of Colorado, next to Kansas, is an empty spot.  This is where the railroad town of Chimung used to be.  Nearby is a cattle feed lot and the railroad has a siding there.  Oft times the railroad will use the name of the town but in this case, the siding was named Jim.  So question, was Chimung named after Jim Chimung?  Someday I may find out.

Chimung was a busy little town in the 1870’s.  There were numerous shops and stores, blacksmith, livery and bank.  When the railhead moved on west, the workers moved on and Chimung began to fade into the prairie. 

Today one can stand by the tracks, listen to the silence, hear the occasional bird chirp and watch the breezes wiggle the grasses.  Outside of the railroad siding, the area is void of life.  Even the rails get rusty between trains.  It is a place of empty solitude, that most people drive on past.  

Friday, April 8, 2016

Aroya, CO

Aroya Cemetery

            Aroya is a small town that faded out of existence few decades ago.  A few years ago it had a population boom.  A family hauled a trailer out to a vacant lot and set up.  Somebody else hauled another trailer out and joined and just in a short time the population doubled.  The boom did not last long, today the trailers sit abandoned on the north end of town.  The ghosts of the other building still there no longer have company except for the occasional tourist that visits. 
            The cemetery I never really got clear directions on where it was and it was not visible from any of the roads.  I finally found some people in Kit Carson, CO that told me how to get to it.  Park on the roadside they said and walk up the hill across the rancher’s pasture.  On the top of the hill you’ll see it.  Well I parked my car along the road and began hoofing across the pasture.  It was with care as I placed my steps for I did not want to make friends with the cacti that dotted the grassland. 

            Sure enough, up on the hilltop was the small cemetery.  The rancher had put a fence around it because the cattle were knocking over the headstones.  There is no caretaker so the little patch of land was overgrown with weeds and the north fence was buried in tumble weeds.  This time of year, snakes are not a major concern, otherwise make steps very carefully. 
            The ranch that owns the cemetery placed a monument at the cemeteries edge, listing all the people that are buried in the plot.  Well the ones that they knew of.  The JOD ranch, that owns the surrounding land, is one of the oldest continuing ranches in the state and still calls Aroya their home although I believe their mail comes from Wild Horse. 

Most of the graves there are unmarked and only the smaller stones are still standing.  But it opened more questions.  For the date on the graveyard is 1907.  Aroya was established as a railroad stop in 1870.  That leaves a number of years vacant.  My guess is, the hill had been used as a burial grounds but not much record was kept.  The other thing is, Aroya has been part of three different counties, causing record keeping problems.  Back then, there was also the tendency to just go dig a hole in the prairie, say a few words and place a small cross of sorts and life went on. 

Being along a stage route, The Smoky Hill Trail, there were numerous Indian attacks in the area.  Also being a railroad town, there would have been the occasional wild times on the frontier.  So scattered here and there are probably a variety of grave sites.