And so the Free Towners spent years pursuing an aggressive program of governmental takeover and delegitimation, their appetite for litigation matched only by their enthusiasm for cutting public services. [...]
Potholes multiplied, domestic disputes proliferated, violent crime spiked, and town workers started going without heat. "Despite several promising efforts," Hongoltz-Hetling dryly notes, "a robust Randian private sector failed to emerge to replace public services." Instead, Grafton, "a haven for miserable people," became a town gone "feral."
Enter the bears, stage right.
Black bears, it should be stressed, are generally a pretty chill bunch. The woods of North America are home to some three-quarters of a million of them; on average, there is at most one human fatality from a black bear attack per year, even as bears and humans increasingly come into contact in expanding suburbs and on hiking trails. [...]
The black bears in Grafton were not like other black bears. Singularly "bold," they started hanging out in yards and on patios in broad daylight. Most bears avoid loud noises; these casually ignored the efforts of Graftonites to run them off. Chickens and sheep began to disappear at alarming rates. Household pets went missing, too. One Graftonite was playing with her kittens on her lawn when a bear bounded out of the woods, grabbed two of them, and scarfed them down. Soon enough, the bears were hanging out on porches and trying to enter homes. [...]
Grappling with what to do about the bears, the Graftonites also wrestled with the arguments of certain libertarians who questioned whether they should do anything at all -- especially since several of the town residents had taken to feeding the bears, more or less just because they could. [...]
No one wants bears in their backyard, but apparently no one wants to invest sustainably in institutions doing the unglamorous work to keep them out either.
A Town Gone Feral: