This is sad…. George Norris (see my post of March 30th for the background story) has pleaded guilty to smuggling orchids into the U.S., no doubt because he is old, in ill health, and couldn’t afford the legal fees to fight the charges. The article makes him out to be a bad guy, but, unless there’s some shocking new evidence, he’s just a crusty old guy who tried to take a short-cut to get around some (universally agreed) nonsensical CITES import rules. Now he faces up to 5 years in jail for each of the seven counts, as well as huge fines.
The forums are overpoweringly silent on the subject, so far. In a classic case of shutting the barn door after the horse has escaped, the Orchid Source Forum has moved all conversation regarding George’s case to a password-protected area, so that he can vent his spleen in semi-private. I’m sure his online piss and vinegar on the Orchid Source Forum didn’t win him any friends with the US Fish & Game people.
What’s sad is that I remember George as a loud right-wing supporter of the Bush Administration, the invasion of Iraq — patriotic to the point of arrogance, quick to take offence at any seeming slight of his beloved country and government. All this on an orchid forum!!! I take no pleasure in seeing how this proud man has been reduced, humiliated, and betrayed by a system and country he so loves. Bad news.