Photography And Half-Thoughts By Mitchell Hegman

...because some of it is pretty and some of it is not.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


“They’ve got problems,” the small black boy tells the television interviewer.
“What kind of problems?” the interviewer asks.
“Killing-each-other problems,” answers the small black boy.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, March 21, 2010


People are fairly skilled at hiding away their emotions, stowing sadness behind a smiling face, veiling mistrust with a firm handshake. But I am convinced it is a safe bet to assume someone is angry with you if they draw a gun and begin shooting in your direction.

--Mitchell Hegman

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Our Public Holdings

I find myself, with rapidly increasing frequency, battling with some of my dearest friends over the issue of access to public lands on their motorized vehicles—four-wheelers, in other words. I see a need for regulation. They denounce me as a “tree-hugger,” which, in Montana, is tantamount to being treasonous. I am told that we have a right to access forest holdings. I am told that we are rife for revolution as we now stand due to the government intervening in our lives at every turn.
The last argument, while not without merit, swings so wide as to miss most of my points. First of all, nobody came close to anticipating the pressure burgeoning human population might exert on our public lands. Secondly, the laws have always played catch-me-if-you-can with all manner of advancing technology and access. Do you think our founding fathers—let alone our grandfathers—envisioned credit cards? The Internet? Does the fact that they were not expected mean the government should in no way regulate them?
Whether I like it or not, I recognize that each new technology, each new vehicle (intellectual or physical) requires some kind of buffering agent. Frankly, people are incredibly stupid and abusive and we must protect ourselves and our resources by fashioning parameters that might protect us from the basest members of our house. We need direction because the natural inclination for a given number of us it toward chaos.
The problem I have with four-wheelers is not that they allow easy access to back country for just about anyone. Given a proper trail to take you there—I love the idea. My issue is that they tear hell out of our fragile semi-arid landscape in doing so, especially when people blaze new trails willy-nilly. When I said this very thing to a friend today, he replied, indignantly: “It’s our right to go in the mountains. If we tear up the what! We are the top of the food chain on this planet. Screw all the animals out there. We don’t need them.”
Well said, friend.
I shrug off all the later foaming-at-the-mouth junk as anger at me for being a traitorous environmentalist type. But this whole “we have the right” argument that so permeates our polity alarms me to the core. If I understand this philosophy entirely, the gist is that because national forest lands and state holdings are government holdings they belong, collectively, to all of us. The second rung of this logic states that since the land belongs to us, we should be able to do what we want when we want.
Just for the sake of argument, let’s try and apply this thinking elsewhere. Let’s start by applying this logic to the Interstate highway nearest where you live. You helped buy that baby. Collectively, we all own it. You own it. Shouldn’t you be able to drive on any lane you want? Why did the government decide that you have to go a certain direction on a certain side? Don’t you have a right to go your own direction? Does the Constitution empower the federal or state powers to enforce such laws?
You own a chunk of the White House. Shouldn’t you be able to take up residence there? If you see a painting you like in the Oval Office , shouldn’t you be able to take it home with you? You own all kinds of things: military bases, battleships, jets, parks, museums, graveyards. Imagine where you might go and what you could do if this pesky government wasn’t beating you down.

--Mitchell Hegman

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I am not a great fan of densely wrought philosophical reasoning. I am much more excited by anything whittled down to the simplest form. If a five-year-old and a forty-five-year-old can see the same thing and be impressed, enlightened, or delighted, that is perfect. Just the same, I have spent many hour debating and pondering human existence. We all do that. Throw in God, gods, religion, and your preferred political stance. Or, if you prefer, throw all of that aside. I suspect that all of us could fill books with our own brand of overthinking.

The other morning, as I drove to work, thinking about Ecclesiastes and then about atheism this simple idea struck me:

Birth = True
Death = True or False

Ain't much more than that.

--Mitchell Hegman