First, they came for the pit bulls ...
You wonder what the dogs think about all this.
You likely know someone, or know someone who knows someone who has a pit bull for a pet. (It's the Law of Six Degrees of Beggin' Strips.) And that pooch, despite its taut and tough exterior, is the sweetest, most loyal, protective companion possible.
In the right hands, with the proper care and training, pit bulls aren't the problem. It's the recklessness of those who own the dogs and either don't know how to care for them or, worse, purposely bring out their more dangerous qualities.
Sound like a familiar argument? The thin line, perhaps between Happiness is a Warm Puppy and Happiness is a Warm Gun?
And so, after a series of admittedly serious incidents involving pit bulls, the concept of "breed specific" regulations has found its way into the Medford political ring "¦ igniting a round of yapping so passionate that it makes the teacher's contract debate look like the finals of Westminster.
Any minute, you expect to see Almira Gulch whisk past on her bicycle, rattle a fist and shout —¦ and your little dog, too."
The pit bulls, of course, have remained relatively quiet throughout the debate — being, as they are, dogs, and incapable of speaking in coherent sentences. (Yes, I know, there's a Kardashian joke in there somewhere — but we're above that sort of thing.)
If this pit bull showdown lasts much longer, however, the researchers at the Scandinavian high-tech company ST might allow us to hear from those most directly affected.
The ST folks are hard at work developing "No More Woof," a headset that contains something called "electroencephalogram recorders" which apparently analyze the thought patterns of dogs and translates them into English.
And if you're taking a moment here to try to remember the name of the movie where Mel Gibson walked through Central Park and could hear the thoughts of a digestively frustrated Freedom poodle "¦ it was "What Women Want."
Anyway, according to a report from the Mother Nature Network, a prototype No More Woof allegedly can separate "ionic current flows" into thought patterns that translate into three main concerns — "I'm tired," "I'm hungry" and "Who are you?"
Apparently, therefore, dogs have the same ionic current flows of your average American teenager.
The potential benefits (beyond putting the entire pet psychic industry out of business) are endless, albeit limited to dogs. It's hard to imagine a cat allowing you to attach an electroencephalogram recorder to its head.
Since local pit bulls have yet to be fitted for their No More Woofs (Wooves?), you can only imagine that they aren't happy hearing about the concept of breed-specific regulations.
Can background checks, licenses, muzzles and drone patrols be that far behind? And that's just for those whose thoughts don't have to be translated.
Ashland — a community that cherishes independence as long as you don't use plastic grocery bags, immunize your children, install cell towers, drive outside the straight lines of the road diet, genetically modify your corn, rent spare rooms to tourists or let chemtrails drift over its skies — would rather install smart meters than put electroencephalograms on its canine citizenry.
It does, however, keep dogs from having free reign in some of its parks.
Better to limit potential dangers, especially those that won't pick up after themselves. In a similar vein, a group called Citizens for a Safe Ashland will bring before the City Council next month a proposal for tighter gun restrictions.
A petition calls for a ban on persons openly carrying loaded weapons in town, but would not apply to police officers or those with a concealed handgun license. Well, better a concealed Glock than a concealed pit bull, I suppose, but it seems as though a loaded gun is a loaded gun ... Just because you can't see its teeth, doesn't mean it's won't bite.
The Oregon Firearms Association, right on cue, has called for gun owners to stop spending vacation dollars in Ashland — which, if you stop to think about it for a moment "¦
Perhaps the next citizen petition to improve safety conditions in Ashland could be an expansion of the road diet into the aisles of the co-op "¦ where grocery shoppers tend to create direction navigability patterns that show little of the basic instincts of the dogs they leave latched outside to poles.
Dogs are equipped with the ability to use "¦ oh, no, here come the quote marks "¦ a sense of "magnetoreception," which means they align themselves along the axis of the North and South poles for a specific purpose.
Scientists (who else?) in Germany have determined through a two-year study of 70 dogs (37 different breeds) that canines assume a position along a stable magnetic axis between the poles when they seek to "¦ um, "¦ well "¦ relieve themselves.
The report in the journal "Frontiers in Zoology" cites the study of 7,475 instances of having scientists watch dogs do their business. It would have been more, but for performance anxiety.
Along with the north-south alignment when a stable magnetic field existed, the scientists also discovered that, yup, male dogs took a different stance than female dogs when urinating.
You've got to be "¦
We probably don't need to wonder what the dogs are thinking about the impositions of human beings on their lives. We probably already know.
Mail Tribune news editor Robert Galvin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org