Murder on the Rio Chato

A Commentary

  The earliest mountain men knew it by its Native American name (long since lost to history) or perhaps by its earliest Spanish Name Rio Chato (Humano and Bonillo Expedition, 1539).   Later it was named Rio Jesus Maria (River of Jesus, Mary) by Captain Jose Lopez Naranjo (1702).

  Today we know its crystal clear, cold, trout filled waters as the Lower North Fork of the South Platte River where the name Shawnee lives on as a small community whose people have been traumatized and terrorized and are in mourning for their dead.   They know it’s too late to say you’re sorry.  How would Linda or Sam Lucas know? And why would the unidentified charred remains of the other female victim care?  If there is not a special place in heaven for those innocent souls who have suffered the torments of hell fire, there out to be.  For an absolute certainty there will be no justice in this world for those whose negligence and utter disregard caused their agony, which could only be stopped by the merciful hand of God.  

  But who will be held responsible for the prescribed fire that caused their deaths and what will be their punishment?  Who will they apologize to; the ashes?  It’s no use in trying to find those lost souls; they’re not there.  Who will be the designated scapegoat for the bureaucrats?  Will it be the firemen who dedicate and sometimes give their lives in sacrifice to the negligence of others?  Will it be the Forest Service who implements the misguided and ill conceived policies of the bureaucrats?  Where does the buck stop?

  If justice is to be served, responsibility for this atrocity should lie squarely on the bureaucratic desk of John Salazar, Commissioner of the Colorado Dept of Agriculture.  But justice will only happen if our elected officials get off their bureaucratic asses and demand (in the names of the hundreds victims) that the responsible party be held to account for lives lost, lives disrupted by pure, unadulterated, unmistakable negligence.  The names may change but the history will record and repeat the inadequate arrogance of bureaucrats shrugging their shoulders and saying ‘there was a glitch’.  

  In courts all over the world there are statues of Lady Justice.  In her left hand a double edged sword.  In her right hand the scales of truth and fairness.  In that bureaucratic world, she is blindfolded, but out here in the real world; fair warning, that b…. has eyes and WE WILL BE WATCHING!!!