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Old 06 September 2009, 01:03 AM
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Icon106 Johnny Cash, condor killer

Comment: There is an email going around that says Johnny Cash killed 49
endangered California condors when his truck caught fire and burned one
square mile of forest in Califorina. False:

1. Condors fly away from fire
2. One breeding pair of condors defends a breeding territory of at least
20 square miles, so what are 49 of them doing in a square mile of forest
waiting to die?
3. Condors don't even inhabit forests; they use wide open habitat to hunt
for carcasses
4. One square mile of forest cannot sustain 49 condors that weigh on an
average 20 lbs

The misinformation probably arises from Cash's first wife Vivian's book "I
Walked the Line," but is disputed by US Fish and Wildife and Forest
Services, who said the dozens of condors probably just flew away
(notwithstanding the fact that 49 condors would never crowd into one
square mile of forest.) Here's a link to the book review:
http://www.venturacountystar.com/new...lked-the-line/

And here's the email that's going around, sans photos:

Johnny Cash dabbled in a lot of things in his life. He was a symbol of
anti-authority and did boatloads of drugs, giving Joaquin Phoenix an
excuse to act like a total nut. Most people have forgotten the time that
Cash dabbled in making a species of bird go extinct.

The Incident:

Cash was driving his truck through Los Padres National Forest in central
California , when a wheel bearing in his truck overheated and set the
whole thing ablaze. Cash did what any responsible motorist would do and
abandoned his burning vehicle... to go fishing.

The fire spread, and almost an entire square mile of forest burned. More
importantly, the fire killed 49 California Condors, which at the time was
roughly half of the entire species.

The federal government sued Cash and eventually settled for $82,000
dollars, which is miniscule in comparison to the nearly $30 million that
the federal government has spent trying to conserve Condors.

Cash's defense was that it was all an accident, he didn't want his truck
to burst into flame, after all. The courts felt differently, both because
he didn't seem to think the whole "burning vehicle in the middle of the
woods" thing deserved his attention at the time and the fact he remained
unapologetic, going so far as to say, "I don't give a damn about your
yellow buzzards."
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  #2  
Old 06 September 2009, 01:14 AM
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Wicked Tinkerbell Wicked Tinkerbell is offline
 
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Icon202

Quote:
He was a symbol of anti-authority and did boatloads of drugs, giving Joaquin Phoenix an excuse to act like a total nut.
I get the impression that Mr. Phoenix doesn't need an excuse to act like a nut.
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  #3  
Old 06 September 2009, 01:30 AM
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wanderwoman wanderwoman is online now
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wicked Tinkerbell View Post
I get the impression that Mr. Phoenix doesn't need an excuse to act like a nut.
That is an excellent point.
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  #4  
Old 06 September 2009, 07:39 AM
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Chris J Chris J is offline
 
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"The email that's going around" was lifted from a recent article on cracked.com: http://www.cracked.com/article/96_7-...rgot-they-did/

It's #4 on the list. The article links to a google books excerpt of "Johnny Cash: The Life of an American Icon" by Stephen Miller.
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Old 06 September 2009, 03:34 PM
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Ponder

The passage from Miller's book doesn't say that Cash (or, more specifically, the fire started by Cash's truck) "killed 49 condors." It says that after the fire, "only nine out of 53 previously recorded condors remained in their refuge," which I interpret as meaning wildlife officials had no idea what became of them -- some of the birds might have died in the fire, and some of them might have dispersed to escape the fire. (I have no idea how susceptible condors might be to the effects of large fires, nor how likely it was that they could have dispersed to some other suitable area in the vicinity.)
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Old 07 September 2009, 05:02 AM
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Chris J Chris J is offline
 
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Cash's wiki page includes a blurb on the condor incident in section 2.2, citing Cash: The Autobiography as its source. Cracked usually links to the most authoritative free internet source it can find for each item whenever it posts these kinds of lists, but presumably couldn't find a free link to the relevant passage from the autobiography.
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