California's San Joaquin Valley and Central Valley. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Out here in the San Joaquin Valley, civilization has zoomed into reverse, a process that I witness regularly on my farm in Selma, near Fresno. Last summer, for example, intruders ripped the copper conduits out of two of my agriculture pumps. Later, thieves looted the shed. I know no farmer in a five-mile radius who has escaped such thefts; for many residents of central California, confronting gang members casing their farms for scrap metal is a weekly occurrence. I chased out two last August. One neighbor painted his pump with the Oakland Raiders’ gray and black, hoping to win exemption from thieving gangs. No luck. My mailbox looks armored because it is: after starting to lose my mail once or twice each month, I picked a model advertised to resist an AK-47 barrage.
I bicycle twice a week on a 20-mile route through the countryside, where I see trash—everything from refrigerators to dead kittens—dumped along the sides of less traveled roads. The culprits are careless; their names, on utility-bill stubs and junk mail, are easy to spot. This summer, I also saw a portable canteen unplug its drainage outlet and speed off down the road, with a stream of cooking waste leaking out onto the pavement. After all, it is far cheaper to park a canteen along a country road, put up an awning over a few plastic chairs and tables, and set up an unregulated, tax-free roadside eatery than to battle the array of state regulations required to establish an in-town restaurant.
read via www.city-journal.org