Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Indiana Bat vs. Tuxedo Anti-Gamblers.

A bat is standing between the town that gave the world the tuxedo and casino gambling. And that's how the town likes it.

It's complicated.

In a nutshell: Voters in New York last year approved a casino bill, allowing for casinos to be built in the state. Voters may have been thinking it would be great to revitalize the many crappy areas, like the old Borscht Belt---but these voters have apparently never seen a real casino and its environs. Even if the casinos, which invariably can maintain peace only with the most thuggish means, is not itself a cesspool, the area around it is. Or it will be. Add to that the fact that we're so overloaded with gambling in the northeast that four of 12 Atlantic City casinos have gone bust this year, with more on the way. No American community I have ever seen was made happier with casino gambling.

Tuxedo seems to feel the same way.

Tuxedo is a town, and it contains Tuxedo Park, which itself is not a town so much as an enclave, and an enclave of people with lots of dough at that. It has been that way since even before the railroads started running north of the city. The Lorillard family built a castle there on tobacco wealth. Griswold, one of the later Lorillards, started the fad in 1886 for the new men's dinner jacket named for the town that later swept the world.

Tuxedo Park is still loaded with people who are loaded, and they do not want to host a scummy casino full of people in sweatpants playing nickel slots. A Malaysian resort company named Genting wants exactly that. Maybe they intend to do something more high class, but it's like running a liquor store in a city---you want a twee little place with wine or artisinal vodka tastings, but to make ends meet you sell Night Train Express and Wild Irish Rose. It's all booze in the end, right?

Well, this little dude wants to put a stop to it.

Indiana Bat; photo thanks to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
He doesn't actually care, but he is an endangered species and he is in the area, and foes of the casino have latched on to the plight of the Indiana Bat as a means of stopping the casino from being built. They may really care about the bat, or some of them may, but I think it's a case of: when you got to beat a dog, any stick will do. Even a bat.

And that's what environmentalism has become in this country now---nothing but a means of stopping some people from doing what other people don't want them to do.

As you can gather, I'm not a fan of casinos. Of course I live nowhere near Tuxedo---I'm no tobacco millionaire---but I don't want a casino there or any closer than that to me. But it makes me uncomfortable to see the way care for the environment has become nothing more than a means of forcing some people to conform to the will of others in the land of the free. One could easily begin to wonder if environmentalism ever meant anything other than forcing other people to do what you want.

Well, go get 'em, Indiana Bat, I guess. I don't like the bugs you eat and I don't much care for the casinos you prevent. Just stay away from my attic and we'll be fine.

UPDATE (12/18/14): No casinos in Orange County; see follow-up entry here.

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