US Department of Fish and Wildlife Needs a Reality Show

You know what we need to see? How about a reality show about the tough guys in the US Department of Fish and Wildlife conducting their raids in defense of helpless orchids?

    “You don’t need to know. You can’t know.” That’s what Kathy Norris, a 60-year-old grandmother of eight, was told when she tried to ask court officials why, the day before, federal agents had subjected her home to a furious search.

    The agents who spent half a day ransacking Mrs. Norris’ longtime home in Spring, Texas, answered no questions while they emptied file cabinets, pulled books off shelves, rifled through drawers and closets, and threw the contents on the floor.

    The six agents, wearing SWAT gear and carrying weapons, were with – get this- the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

    Kathy and George Norris lived under the specter of a covert government investigation for almost six months before the government unsealed a secret indictment and revealed why the Fish and Wildlife Service had treated their family home as if it were a training base for suspected terrorists. Orchids.

    That’s right. Orchids.

    By March 2004, federal prosecutors were well on their way to turning 66-year-old retiree George Norris into an inmate in a federal penitentiary – based on his home-based business of cultivating, importing and selling orchids.

He failed to fill out the proper forms. He’s lucky not to get shot inadvertently resisting regulatory violations or not to get placed on an orchid offender registry.

After that reality show debuts on Animal Planet, maybe we can get one where people get thrown to the ground and beaten with batons for signing the wrong date on a form where they’ve said they’ve not knowingly entered fraudulent information. Because they know today is Tuesday, October 6, not Tuesday, October 5, dammit!