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Why some people like Loren Culp

This article contains news and liberal commentary.

Loren Culp, who is the entire police force of Republic, Washington, a remote mining town, is running for governor. He won’t be elected. But folks in his neck of the woods love him to death, and even sell Loren Culp souvenirs including hats and shirts.

Culp came to prominence by vowing not to enforce a legislature-passed gun safety law. But his popularity with Washington’s rural voters comes from this: “There is a consensus here that Culp will bring rural voter concerns to Olympia and equity.”

“There is a common complaint, for instance, about the lack of available broadband or news sources and an acknowledgment that people are forced to use Facebook as a news source.” [I sympathize on Facebook; Biden’s infrastructure plan includes bringing broadband to rural areas, something Trump didn’t even mention during the 4 years he’s had to do it.]

And guns. “They change like the assault rifle stuff, you know, to 21 years old. We have people that are kids that go out to hunt to support their families, you know, that get the food for them. They’re not game hunting, you know, they’re actually hunting for food. And that’s an important one up here,” the local hardware store owner said. [With AR-15s? Who hunts with AR-15s? Don’t .30-30s and .30-06s work anymore?]

“Very, very important because one of our major draws to the county is hunting. There’s bow and arrow, there’s black powder, there’s the regular hunting, and it’s just very, very critical to the financing. In this town, it brings in lots of money,” the local Republican county organization chairwoman said.

Residents also cite wild animals in the area, including wolves, cougars, and bears, as reasons to go around armed. [Tramping in the woods, yes. In town, or at their homes, that’s silly.]

The mayor says, “We don’t have a big problem with any of the Black Lives Matter or Antifa, or any of that. We don’t have any of that here. It’s a small town.” [Then why do they need AR-15s to protect their businesses and property?]

Read story here.

I’ve spent plenty of time in rural Washington, including visiting Republic and camping at the state park there. In such places, everyone has guns, and a legitimate need for them, because police are far away. Animals, apart from an occasional marauding bear, aren’t much of a problem. I worry more about dogs. The biggest danger of all is hitting deer at highway speed. Anyway, you don’t have to convince me that cities and rural areas need different gun rules, and a one-size-fits-all gun law doesn’t work.

Racist policing and police brutality are urban problems. These people don’t understand either the reason for, or the nature of, the “Black Lives Matter” movement; they’re too far removed from it, and listen to propaganda that paints a very distorted picture. From his perch in Republic, Culp is ill-equipped to understand these issues and deal with them.

Notice the comment about “equity.” You can’t spend much time in rural eastern Washington, or the small towns there, without hearing the griping about paying taxes to support Seattle. It’s the other way around. When you look at how much taxes each county’s residents pay to the state, and how much comes back to each county in the form of state spending, 37 of 39 counties are being subsidized by Seattle. Tacoma breaks even.

For example, there’s no way that a paved state highway was paid for by the gas taxes of locals who drive on it. That came from the pockets of Puget Sound car commuters. Likewise, when homes are strung out at quarter-mile intervals along that highway, there’s no way their property taxes can pay for their schools and other public facilities and services. That comes from the property taxes paid by Seattle homeowners.

The eastern Washington economy wouldn’t exist without federal subsidies. The soil there, volcanic fallout, is rich farming soil but that part of the state is an arid plateau that isn’t farmable without irrigation. The water and electricity to run the pumps come from the federal dams on the Columbia River, subsidized by urban electricity consumers. Everything else they have there, too, like rural mail delivery, is subsidized — because nothing can be self-supporting in those sparsely populated, wide open spaces.

Rural eastern Washington has two-thirds of the state’s land area, but only one-fifth of the population. The three Puget Sound counties — King (Seattle), Pierce (Tacoma), and Snohomish (Everett) have over half the state’s population, so of course those counties dominate state politics. Why shouldn’t they? Why should 22% of the people dictate to the other 78%?

Seattle’s container terminals, industrial area, rail ramps, major freight routes, and transload facilites from 10,000 feet, 29 October 2013.

There’s nothing especially new about Loren Culp. He’s the usual package of rural grievances. Washington’s urban voters and taxpayers do a lot for the state’s rural areas, far more than they’re given credit for. What they don’t do is live off the people in those places. Culp comes from the most socialist part of the state, and what he and his supporters want is even more socialism.

Gov. Inslee may not understand their problems as well as they’d like. But Inslee has more than Republic to worry about; he also has to think about the needs of Seattle, Tacoma, Everett, Spokane, and lesser cities; the state’s ports and international trade; its aerospace and technology economy (agriculture is about 4% of the state’s economy); and over a million school kids. What does Culp know about all that?

Photos: See any bears or cougars walking down the street? Neither do I. Pig, yes (that must be Culp in the squad car, because they don’t have any other cops); deer, yes.

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