Saturday, July 12, 2008

Snake Handling: Not What It Used To Be

Things have changed, and not for the better for those of us who are not snakes -- the cops are cracking down on snake-handling for god:

The pastor of a Kentucky church that handles snakes in religious rites was among 10 people arrested by wildlife officers in a crackdown on the venomous snake trade. ... Most were taken from the Middlesboro home of Gregory James Coots, including 42 copperheads, 11 timber rattlesnakes, three cottonmouth water moccasins, a western diamondback rattlesnake, two cobras and a puff adder.
It's no surprise that authorities have turned against this faith-based tradition since the listing of snakes has a two-of-these-things-is-not-like-the-others ring to it that really jars the purists: it reads like a North American Scary Snakes Hall of Fame until it gets to cobra and puff adder.

Cobra and puff adder? If the snake-handling rubes are trafficking snakes from the old world, they're running an operation that smacks of levels of sophistication ill-befitting dogpatch's proudest and most hidebound barbarities. And it only barely helps that the name "Gregory James Coots" converts so readily to "Cooter."

No comments: