Tom Jackson King's feature this week on rural resistance to restoring the Mexican gray wolf to its rightful domain comes by way of Safford's Eastern Arizona Courier, one small-town paper that's interested in covering more than bake sales.

Here in Tucson, Tim Vanderpool has provided most of the Weekly's previous coverage of the rancher-controlled Arizona Game and Fish department's dance with wolves. When I showed him this article, he reacted with customary exasperation over what he believes is a phony conflict.

"The wolf controversy is not about biology, but pure ideology," he complained. "Of course the program could succeed, in biological terms. Already has in other parts of country.

"The problem is that the ranchers hate the federal government in damn near every way, shape and form (except when they're sucking off the subsidized-ranching titty), and it's obvious at these meetings that, to them, the wolf program simply represents the federal government writ large.

"I've followed up on many of their claims about cattle loss, etc., and they're exaggerating wildly most of the time."

I should also add, for the benefit of moms wringing their hands over the safety of their tots, that there has never been a documented wolf attack on a human being in North America. It's the wolves who have never been safe from us.