What did Oklahoma do to deserve the curse of State Senator Frank Shurden? The Senator from Henryetta that distinguished himself with his efforts to defend cockfighting and to enact laws to castrate sex offenders has come up with another bizarre idea that is already earning Oklahoma a new round of national ridicule. Now he wants to legalize cockfighting sans blades. He wants to put boxing gloves and pressure-sensitive electronic vests on the fighting birds.
Shurden has been the feature of several national interview programs such as this appearance on NPR's All Things Considered program. Shurden's uberhick accent and cognitive difficulties feed the stereotypes of the hayseed Okie. As an Oklahoman I just want to cry when I hear this fool being interviewed. We can spend years and millions of dollars on tourism and economic development advertising to improve our state's image and Shurden's can undo it in one minute on NPR.
Shurden's buffoonery aside, of course the reason he wants to make "virtual cockfights" legal in Oklahoma is because he knows the real deal can function under the pretense of non-lethal cockfighting. The cockfight pits can continue to function and rural sheriff's will fail to "monitor" the fights - just like they failed to monitor the rampant illegal gambling that accompanied cockfights during the decades when the fights themselves were legal. It's just another dishonest way to ignore the law.
Here in Oklahoma we know what's behind the cockfighters' deceptions but on the national level all our fellow Americans who hear Senator Shurden must think that we Oklahomans must be from a different planet.
To all my fellow Americans I just want to say that Shurden is an Oklahoma anomaly, really, he is. In fact, I think he was born in Idaho or something.