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Mandatory Helmet Laws Should Not Include Fishermen

(Gunnison) A recent flurry of control mechanisms churned out at the state level now require that fishermen operating in Colorado wear protective attire. Included on this dubious roster, along with safety shoes, plastic gloves, custodial eye-ware and eco-friendly bait, are helmets. While we might even accept that the others are functional additions to the fishing costume, the helmet fiasco borders on the ridiculous

Certainly if the angler is riding a motorcycle, doing heavy labor, listening to politicians or worried about objects falling from the sky the helmet may make sense but in most cases this is not the situation. The fisherman is simply standing on the bank or standing in the water or or sitting in his boat trying to relax and catch dinner. Why then should the gov’ment get involved? It doesn’t matter to the fish. They don’t wear anything.

Either way starting in 2013 when a fisherman buys his annual license it will include stipulations as to his ensemble while on the water. Fees have increased to include proscribed gear, tips, and little maps of streams and lakes. Out-of-state anglers will pay slightly more but will be presented with the official Colorado safety helmets at the time of purchase. Local anglers can purchase these too but will have options such as using football helmets, military issues, fruit bowls or bucolic cerebral precautionary devices created out in the garage.

Of course the situation changes when we look into fly fishing, commercial fishing, ice fishing and fishing for compliments. Then the helmet might be a necessary accessory considering piscatorial limits and the desire to keep one’s head in an emergency. But to require a poor angler to don a helmet stinks  of fascism and abuse of power.

It is reasonable to assume that the use of life vests in open water and the classification of artificial lures are subject to annual review by such institutions as the Division of Wildlife and the Denver Water Board but it’s time to stop forcing Front Range morality on simple people whose sole intention is landing a fish. If they suffer a head injury delivered from the pole or a fall on slippery rocks how much will a helmet detour? If a fisherman is the victim of an attack by a rapid fish or another angler will the wearing of a helmet protect what is important? If a tree falls in the forest what are the chances it will hit a fisherman? If an aggressive bear enters the picture a helmet won’t help.

Of corpse we concur with the authorities when it comes to stupidity on the water,. Who can forget the case of a Mancos woman who was consumed, while netting piñon sardines, by a carnivorous snail darter in heat on the waters of the Dolores just last September. Had she been wearing the suggested attire would she be with us today? And what of the soggy tennis shoe , warm beer and the swiss cheese sandwich that she left behind? A It’s a sad legacy to a life wasted through inattentive sportsmanship.

But this pathetic tale is not the norm and we should not be forced to live in the shadow of deceit, the facade of security.

– Margot Rotweiller

Nutritional Statement

San Juan Horseshoe

“Edible soy-based ink and hygienic paper from synthetic dogwood bark”

Per Serving: LOVE – 40

Serving size: 32 pages. No frills on domestic flights.

Servings per container: Enough to chew on and spit back out

Calories: Color pages only

Protein: Not particularly detectable in laboratory rats

Carbohydrates: More than a little but slightly less than a lot

Fat: Kinda but it’s late and I’m drunk.

Percent of calories from fat: Divide current body weight by IQ

Polyunsaturated: …*

Saturated…* See above

Cholesterol: Big dog

Sodium: *

Percent of recommended daily allowance (U.S. RDA)

Contains less than 2% of the nutrition of the average school lunch consisting of french fries, hot dogs and chocolate milk. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Calcium and Iron forcibly removed.

*not applicable without corresponding postal code or return address

This information on fat and cholesterol is provided for individuals who, on the advice of a physician, are modifying their monthly intake of meaningless information found on labels.


“The capitalists” says Awkins with the angry gulp, “the capitalists pays (stet) the priest to tell you all abaout (stet) the next world, so you won’t notice what he’s doing in this!”

-Awkins in The Guests of a Nation by Frank O’Connor