Public Virtue is a lost philosophy
Mar 12, 2008 | 2286 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Dear Editor:

In the earlier days of our country’s founding, “Public Virtue” was a common phrase. It is a bit of a lost philosophy in these “me - me” days.

Let’s look at Eric Bayles, the cowboy who found Jason McVean’s bones almost 10 years after the murder crime of officer Claxton (see March 5 San Juan Record). He discovered the remains of a wanted outlaw while at work (not a risk taking bounty hunt, mind you).

Long ago the FBI posted a reward of $150,000 each for “information leading to the arrest” of this outlaw and one other. The FBI wrongly set a precedent by paying $150,000 to hunters who found the remains of Alan Monte Pilon. Continuing forward, using improper precedent injures our society.

Precedent aside: There was no arrest. The FBI gave Bayles $75,000 (and local Cortez pledges gave him an additional $13,000+). Eric Bayles is complaining, as is our Sheriff and many locals, because he, Bayles, didn’t get the whole $150,000 which was the original arrest reward.

Death arrested this person long before this cowboy stumbled upon his remains. $75,000 is more than generous. Zero would have been appropriate. After all it is your money folks. FBI funds are your tax dollars.

I’m surprised some of our public officials agree that he deserves more. This makes me want to look closer at how our tax dollars are being spent at home. I’m also surprised that local law officials wouldn’t simply be happy that the case is now closed and Bayles, happy that he was able to contribute to this closing.

Back to public virtue: Now that money was given (for an arrest, when there never was one), couldn’t a bigger picture be looked at here? Perhaps some of that could be given to the real victims: the Claxtons? Or could it be put into a scholarship fund for kids in the community?

It’s a bad day for America when someone wants to retire, on your tax money, for finding bones.

Scott Mitchell


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