They say that when dog bites man it is normal, but when man bites dog it’s news. After 16 years, I still haven’t figured out what that makes 'assistant fire chief tries to have sex with neighbor’s sheep'

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The news is … not great. Let’s talk about the olds. Specifically, a story about a story that I covered in my days as a young freelance writer in Arizona. 

Is this the Arizona that conservatives want?

As we approach the 2022 election, Arizona is decidedly a bellwether state. Will it (finally) flip blue? Or will the deep red menace that currently controls our state legislature (including several officials who signed a document attempting to falsify electoral votes) maintain their grip on the Sunshine State as America plunges into Fascist Oligarchy? 

The “Conservative Arizonan”, in my humble estimation, is generally pissed-off about rich Californians moving in to take advantage of our luxurious tax rates. Well not all rich Californians piss them off. It’s “acceptable” if they’re from Orange County. But the well-to-do Nor Cal leftist, with talk of gay marriage, accessible abortions, and the right for trans kids to use bathrooms is getting a hostile reception.  All that talk about what real equality looks like rubs conservatives out here the wrong way. 

Are they wrong? Definitely. But this fact does not dissuade them. 

Instead, “Conservative Arizonans” feel like they’re under threat of losing their freedoms and want to go back to an imagined simpler time before all the carpetbagging, city-slicking millennials started moving in.

It is therefore important to remind everyone what those “simpler times” were like.  

Luckily, I was working for a content-desperate magazine start-up in Phoenix when I was still new to Arizona, and happen to know the best story to exemplify The Arizona Republicans Want because I reported on it. 

This also happens to be about a police report that remains to this day (sixteen years later) the most unnerving, darkly-funny, and just utterly ridiculous reminder of what the Phoenix Valley was like as recently as 2006. Few were concerned about the Californication of Arizona back then.

Which brings us back to the story of how an Assistant Fire Chief became the catalyst for Arizona finally banning bestiality in 2006.

Correct. That activity has only been illegal in Arizona since 2006.

In fact, there is still no law against it in West Virginia, (FFS Manchin, glass houses, buddy) or New Mexico, or Wyoming, or Hawaii.

The owner of the magazine I was Peter Parkering for asked me to read a police report and write something funny about it for a one-page article. The police report itself was five pages long, and brilliantly written. 

My article was never going to be as good as the police report

The story demanded more than a page in a posh magazine for the Biltmore set. The deadpan noir detective style of Investigator T. McGehee is a rhetorical roller coaster. It reads a bit like something out of a Steve Martin essay.

They say that when dog bites man, it is normal, but when man bites dog, it is news. For 16 years now I still haven’t figured out what that makes ‘assistant fire chief tries to have sex with neighbor’s sheep.’

The report was so compelling that it only took the state about two months to put the ban into law after a brief 92 years of forgetting to do that since joining the Union.

Arizona Republicans need to own up to what their small government wet dreams look like

I bring all this up now because an ominous group of sycophants to a megalomaniac in Florida keep saying they want America to be ‘like it was before’. And someone needs to point out that it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows in Arizona before three million more people moved in.  

At the very least, they want to go back to a pre-Obama America, because racism is rampant in their base. But Texas didn’t have any anti-bestiality laws until 2017, and it is famous for ranching. It took eight years of Obama for Democrats to gain enough ground for them to pass something that … I mean morally that one seems kind of like a no-brainer. I don’t think it matters what race, creed, gender, orientation, or nationality you are. We’re pretty much unilaterally in agreement on this one, right up there with murder.

Even the staunchest Christian has to admit that “covet thy neighbor’s ass” is a pretty good double entendre in this situation.

Whatever period of American history those who bankroll conservative candidates think is great, it pretty much includes weirdos (including middle-class suburban white cis het fire chiefs in bright red Mesa, Arizona) doing horrible things to barnyard animals. That’s just a thing that goes on sometimes in their “real America” libertarian fever dream that they don’t want to talk about. 

But we kept the receipt! I will put a link to the full police report in the comments, courtesy of the good people at The Smoking Gun. I warn you, it is pretty graphic. But if you’re into true crime, it is also laugh-out-loud funny. 

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FOR INFERNAL USE ONLY Jack Matirko was raised in the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, but it didn't take. His projects include The Left Hemispheres Podcast, The Naked Diner Podcast, and An Ongoing and...