Happy Thanksgiving

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For the last couple of years, for reasons I am unaware of, I have been on the e-mail list of the National Wild Turkey Federation, located in Edgefield, S.C. (the home town of Strom Thurmond). The NWTF evidently does a lot of work protecting wild turkey habitat, and it strikes me as an example of the bounteous proliferation of voluntary associations that has been a central feature of American life, as noted long ago by Alexis de Tocqueville in Democracy in America. But some might argue that the protection of wild turkey habitat has gone too far. A front-page article in today's Wall Street Journal (subscribers only) points out that wild turkeys have been attacking people in Norman, Okla.; Cranford, N.J.; Montgomery County, Pa.; and Montauk, N.Y. Jennifer Graham in National Review Online reports on similar developments in Canton, Mass. The spread of major metropolitan areas—urban sprawl, as critics like to call it—has often produced not the destruction of wildlife habitat but the insertion of people into wildlife habitat, with results that are sometimes negative for people and their pets. Many of us like to live in what amount to forests. But the price is that we have to watch out for wild turkeys, deer, and cougars.