It also likes people. A researcher at North Carolina State, JoAnn Burkholder, who helped discover this little fellow in 1990, is convinced that she and her coworkers have suffered some rather severe symptoms from handling the organism in a lab. Fishermen, divers, and some others have found open sores on their bodies and suffered severe neurological disorders, including memory loss, from coming into contact with water near the dead fish.
A recently published book, And the Waters Turned to Blood by Rodney Barker, should prove to be a best seller, especially in central Illinois, specifically near Williamsfield. You see, it answers some questions about the effects of this micro-vampire on people.
And just what, you may ask, does that have to do with central Illinois? And Billtown? Well, if the researchers are right, then this deadly organism grows and becomes lethal when exposed to high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous the kind of byproducts produced by mega-poop mega hog farms.
It is only one more byproduct of gluttony, the badge of civilized America. Everything is out of balance. It took billions of years for Grandmother Earth to get things right, with checks and balances so arranged that life could flourish in all of its forms. In less than 500 years, civilized European transplants have put holes in the ozone, poisoned their own drinking water, polluted the air and contaminated the soil with radioactive waste.
It only remains for the mega hog farms to finish the job.
I talked with Shelley Adams of Williamsfield this week, since she is one of the leaders in the struggle to stop the Murphy Family Farms corporate mega hog facility scheduled to be built there. "I feel invaded!" she said.
With that simple statement, my heart went out to her and to all who feel as she does. You see, the feeling of being invaded is nothing new to Native Americans. Black Hawk felt invaded when he returned to his home village and found his lodgings occupied by settlers. What followed is what the white historians have called the Blackhawk War.
After his fruitless attempt to save his homeland from the invaders, he wrote: "Here, for the first time, I touched the goose quill to the treaty not knowing, however, that by that act I consented to give away my village! Had that been explained to me, I should have opposed it, and never would have signed their treaty, as my recent conduct has clearly proven.
"What do we know of the manner of the laws and customs of the white people? They might buy our bodies for dissection, and we would touch the goose quill to confirm it, without knowing what we were doing. This was the case with myself and my people in touching the goose quill for the first time."
To Native Americans, the invasion of big business, land-stealing conglomerates, monied interests, and pawn-moving politicians is just more of the same. My people used to shout, "The bluecoats are coming!"
Now it's the mega hog farms just another version of the U.S. Cavalry.