Dave Simpson — Splitsville: States Head for the Exits

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By Dave Simpson, Cowboy State Daily columnist

BAILING OUT: I see on the news that some folks in Virginia, upset over gun control, want to secede from their state and join up with West Virginia.

In Oregon, saner residents want to pull up stakes in that nutty liberal state and saddle up with Idaho, giving Idaho some swell new Pacific coastline.

There’s always talk in Illinois of the rural areas of my home state splitting the sheets with Chicago, and forming their own state. Forming a new state, some feel, would be preferable to moving to get away from Illinois’ precarious state finances, high taxes, and corrupt politicians.

In Colorado, several years ago Moffat County, on the Western Slope, and Weld County, in eastern Colorado, expressed interest in bailing out and joining Wyoming. Lately, folks in Weld County want to try it again.

It’s not easy getting out of one state and joining another, or forming a new state. Nobody has done it since West Virginia became it’s own state. Everybody and their brother, including Congress, has to agree, making it virtually impossible.

Back in the 1980s, I was a reporter at the Wyoming Legislature when a group from western Nebraska showed up, saying they wanted to secede from Nebraska, and attach themselves to Wyoming, like a big Cornhusker carbuncle on the eastern border. Their complaint: It was 400 miles to their state capital in Lincoln. (Apparently, they had just figured that out.)

I find it reassuring that parts of two of our neighboring states wanted to attach themselves to Wyoming. And no part of Wyoming, to my knowledge, wants to leave our state and join some other state. (We’ve got it good out here, with fresh air, awesome vistas and low taxes. But, don’t tell anybody.)

I’ll always remember the advice one Wyoming lawmaker gave to the delegation from western Nebraska:

“Sober up.”

HALF FULL: Who says there’s no good news in the paper these days?

According to recent news reports, an unspecified number of personnel at Warren Air Force Base, who provide security for 150 Minuteman missiles buried in silos north and east of Cheyenne, have been smoking marijuana on the job.

(Marijuana, as you know, is legal a mere nine miles away in Colorado.)

Living cheek by jowl with one leg of our nuclear triad is no big deal out here. We’ve done it since the 1960s. On Interstate-80 and I-25, you see armored cars with gun turrets, dark blue government Suburbans and crew-cab pickups transporting missile crews to and from the underground launch control facilities that each control 10 missiles. Periodically, you see convoys of well-armed vehicles, with two helicopters circling above, going to swap out nuclear warheads or missiles at the silos that dot our landscape.

Way back in the 1980s, in a Cheyenne bar, I talked to an airman who worked in an underground launch control facility. Does it get boring? He replied, “Have you ever read every word in a Playboy magazine? That’s how boring it gets.”

I asked if he could turn the key to launch missiles. He said by the time he would get the order to launch, he figured his girlfriend and his stereo would already be incinerated by the enemy, so yes, he could turn that key.

But Dave, you’re wondering, how could the fact that airmen are suspected of smoking marijuana on the job possibly be good news?

Well, as we all know, we need to see the glass as half full instead of half empty, and always look for the pony hidden in the pile of manure.

The good news is that four years ago, they caught a small number of missile security personnel taking LSD.

We’re making progress here, people.

Give it another four years and they’ll be drinking Near Beer.

NO WINNEBAGO:  I was disappointed to see that Andrew Yang gave up his run for the presidency.

You’ll recall that the Democrat businessman, who is rich, proposed giving every American $1,000 a month, even though we’re already $23 trillion in debt.

I was holding out for Andrew to throw in a free Winnebago RV for senior citizens like me. I think seniors have a RIGHT to a free Winnebago.

Don’t you?

Dave Simpson can be contacted at davesimpson145@hotmail.com

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