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Latarski: Using animals to clean house
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Just in case you missed this, a cobra has created a stir by escaping from its lodgings at the Bronx Zoo.

The cobra may be the most famous snake in the world. With its distinctive hood and stand-up posture it is easily recognizable and is often shown in film as a simple way to demonstrate how dangerous a situation is, just ask Indiana Jones.

The result is zoo officials have shut down the reptile house. On the positive side, the local rat population will likely take a hit.

Certainly closing the reptile house was the most responsible and safest thing to do until the creature is found. Just think about that: all it takes is one snake and we can shut down a whole building.

This should give us pause for consideration. Perhaps it is time for someone to go to Zoo Atlanta, borrow a cobra and turn the rascal loose in General Assembly. That might very well clear the building and then our august leaders will be able to do us no harm.

Of course a snake, even one as venerable as the cobra, may not work because the reptile might demonstrate professional courtesy to members of the General Assembly and not bite anyone.

It may be we need to consider alternative creatures.
We can't use a big reptile, like an alligator, because it might be considered an attack by the state of Florida.
We can eliminate birds because unless they attack in mass they will do us no good. Even birds of prey, such as the hawk or owl would not have the ability to carry off some of our fat cat legislators.

Come to think of it, a wise old owl would probably never go near the General Assembly, but there are times it would not be a surprise to see vultures circling above the Gold Dome.

We can't use any animal that eats from a trough. In the first place it might not even get in the building because it would be swarmed under by a herd of lobbyists before it reached the second step. Secondly, it would probably not even be noticed on the floor of the General Assembly unless it tried to vote to change HOPE.

A large cat set free under the Gold Dome, such as a lion or tiger, might clear the floor, but I suspect a lot of legislators are familiar with the cheetah, especially the Cheetah III, so they may have no fear of big felines.

A beast of burden would have no sway in the General Assembly because as soon as it was seen by a legislator it would be viewed as just another tax payer.

One of the great and powerful animals of the world, such as the elephant, rhinoceros or hippopotamus, could clear out the building in a hurry.

The difficulty here is the elephant is a noble creature that never forgets and would probably not wish to associate with politicians.

The mighty Rhino could certainly prod people with its horn, and there are some who need prodding, but since the animal does not see well it could end up in the Georgia Power building instead of the Capitol, which might not necessarily be a bad thing.

The hippo, which can be surly at times, would probably refuse to enter the building.

Another problem is if people see one of these creatures, they might mistakenly believe that Mark Taylor is trying to make a comeback.

I have not mentioned any of the great apes or monkeys because their appearance in the General Assembly would likely only fill out the card game.

I suppose it is too late to clear the building and we have to take solace in the fact the session is half over.
And we are ahead of the Bronx Zoo. We haven't had a legislator crawl away and disappear, well, not yet.

Ric Latarski is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of topics and can be reached at