Saturday, August 30, 2008

Bears, lions and Blankenship, oh my!


I am not sure we are as tough and rugged around here as previous residents of days gone by. But I think we might have improved on the intelligence front. Let me give you an example.
The Cripple Creek Times reported the peculiar case of J. B. Blankenship’s confrontation with a bear in its Jan. 3, 1915, edition.
“The cunning of man prevailed over the natural instinct of the beast yesterday when J.B. Blankenship, ‘the Texas Scout,’ of Florissant, engaged in a personal encounter with a bear in the hills near the outskirts of Teller County,” the report offered.
“While in the clutches of the animal, Blankenship reached to his pocket and procured a knife with which he dealt a well-directed blow in the region of the bear’s heart. The big beast relaxed its hold and fell to the ground with a thud.”
According to A.E. Colclessor, a road overseer from Florissant and witness to at least part of the scrap, the bear had been caught in a trap and the ‘Texas Scout’ thought it was too badly crippled to be dangerous. He sprung the trap. When he did, the hairy beast leaped to his feet and seized Blankenship in a massive ‘bear hug.’
“Blankenship struggled to free himself — but to no avail. The grasp of the bear only tightened about him when he attempted to break its hold. The scout managed to get an arm free and reached for his knife. He stabbed the bear near the heart and the fight for supremacy between man and beast was ended.”
Blankenship received two broken ribs as a result of this encounter, the Times reported, and he was taken to the office of a physician where his injuries were attended.
The ‘scout’ was apparently was big enough to go bear hunting with a switch (or at least a sharp knife) but here is the part that makes me question the big fellow’s mental capacity. The Times recalled the bear incident was not this character’s first run-in with a dangerous beast.
“A few years ago, Blankenship went into the haunt of a mountain lion and captured the animal alive.”
I don’t think it appropriate to let loose even a crippled bruin from a trap but you can hardly expect a personality willing to wrestle mountain lions on their own turf to come to such a realization.
So much for learning from your mistakes.
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