Federal park rangers, known for their Smokey Bear hats and nature talks, are spending more time on crime and violence, reports the Christian Science Monitor. A watchdog group last week warned that law enforcement work in national parks is the most dangerous in federal service. They were victims of 111 assaults last year and are 12 times more likely to be killed or injured as a result of an assault than FBI agents, according to figures from Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
Why all this violence and crime in places that are supposed to be tranquil and relaxing? Alcohol or drugs are part of most violent incidents. Hideaway methamphetamine labs and marijuana fields in rural park areas (some of them run by drug cartels) and illegal aliens crossing through parks near the US-Mexico border are part of a growing crime scene. But like increasing incidents of road rage, the stress of modern urban life, especially in the post-9/11 world of terrorism, may have something to do with it as well.