At the T-Shirt Deli in Chicago last year, I saw a design that suggested a more fitting slogan for New Jersey than the “garden state.” “New Jersey,” the text on the front of the garment read, “home of the New Jersey Turnpike.”
The absurdity of describing New Jersey, on license plates or anywhere else, as a state that cultivates anything more than strip malls and subhuman reality TV personalities has not been lost on everyone.
The state’s official website tells us: “In 1954, the state legislature passed a bill to have ‘The Garden State’ added to license plates. Before signing the bill into law, Governor Robert Meyner investigated the origins of the nickname and found ‘no official recognition of the slogan Garden State as an identification of the state of New Jersey.’ He added, ‘I do not believe that the average citizen of New Jersey regards his state as more peculiarly identifiable with gardening for farming than any of its other industries or occupations.’ Governor Meyner vetoed the bill, but the legislature overrode the veto. The slogan was added to license plates soon after.”
Which brings us to a much more infuriating and sinister example of New Jersey officials wishing something that could not be more false, could be true.
From a report published Tuesday on WNYC’s website: “Starting on January 2, New Jersey will have a special permit season to hunt for coyotes. … Lawrence Hajna, with the Department of Environmental Protection, said the special session in January will allow ‘hunters to go out at night, actually 24-hours a day to look for coyotes.'”
“Through March 15,” a report in Tuesday’s edition of The Star-Ledger indicates, “an estimated 2,000 permit holders will scout the woods with shotguns and crossbows, seeking out rogue canines after dark. If state counts are correct, there might be more coyotes in New Jersey than black bears. New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife biologist Andrew Burnett estimates that the population could be north of 5,000. In comparison, the bear tally before the December hunt was estimated at 3,400.”
According to the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife’s website, 469 black bears were “harvested” between December 5 and December 10.
By my count, that’s nearly 14 percent of the state’s black bear population.
Beginning on Monday, New Jersey’s knuckle-dragging rednecks will have six weeks to “harvest” as many of the state’s coyotes as they can. If the mouth-breathing subhumans manage to reduce New Jersey’s coyote population by 14 percent, they will have “harvested” 700 animals.
Officials in New Jersey would like us to believe that coyotes are a nuisance to the state’s human population, and that for this reason the species needs to be “managed.”
Again, from The Star-Ledger: “Fish and Wildlife received 184 coyote nuisance calls during 2011, a jump from 110 in 2010. During the past five years, there have been two documented attacks on humans. A dog walker was bitten in Kinnelon in 2010, and a toddler was dragged in a Middletown backyard in 2007. Both victims suffered minor injuries.”
I’ve known more than one New Jerseyan who’s been a greater nuisance than any coyote could ever hope to be, and I’m sure New Jersey’s coyotes would agree.
A report issued in March by New Jersey’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development indicates that the state’s human “population is nearing 9 million, rising to 8,791,894,” and that New Jersey “remains the most densely populated state with 1,195 persons per square mile.”
Would that I could convince the area’s coyotes to “harvest” 1,230,865 of the state’s mouth-breathing rednecks, which would reduce New Jersey’s human population by 14 percent.