Informers are held in low repute in some quarters, but the Izaak Walton League of Oregon would like to see the breed prosper and multiply. Alarmed by violations of fish-and-game laws as well as widespread vandalism in public parks, the conservation organization is circulating wallet cards on which citizens are urged to jot down information about any offenses they might witness and then forward the cards to the authorities. Prepared in consultation with the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission and the state police, the cards contain space for description of such things as eye color, complexion, scars, mustaches, trousers (but not skirts) and that old reliable, "peculiarities."
The cards are being distributed mainly to hunters and fishermen, who are asked to appear in court and testify if needed, but are also told, "Even if you don't sign the card, mail it in. It may be helpful." The campaign has been under way for only a month, too early for gauging the impact, but Captain Walter Hershey, head of the Oregon State Police Fish and Game Division, reports that similar wallet cards issued by the National Rifle Association have led to "several convictions in deer and elk cases." Defending the practice, Hershey says, "The citizen has a certain duty to uphold the law."
Acknowledging that there is a stigma attached to informers—or to snitchers, stool pigeons and tattletales, if you prefer—Joseph W. Bennett, an Izaak Walton League spokesman, allows that the true target of the wallet card is the bearer himself. "Just carrying it will make a person more aware of conservation," he says. "It amounts to a pledge to protect the wilderness."
The World Swimming Championships get under way this weekend in Cali, Colombia, and one can only hope that the American team manages to avoid being tripped up in the laboratory. Apprehension is prompted by the U.S. trials in Long Beach, Calif., where an attempt to conduct the sort of doping tests to be held in Cali ended in acrimony and disarray.
The snafu at the Long Beach meet could be blamed partly on the F�d�ration Internationale de Natation (FINA), which prohibits some two dozen generic drugs plus what it ambiguously refers to as "related substances." Left to puzzle over just what these substances might be, doctors and coaches at the U.S. trials also found that urine specimens were taking as much as 72 hours to analyze. The testing procedure was flawed in other ways, all of which made it awkward when the specimens of two swimmers qualifying for the team turned out to contain "ephedrine-like" substances of the kind that resulted in Rick DeMont's being stripped of a gold medal in the 1972 Olympics. Officials finally decided to scrap the tests, sparing the two swimmers in question from disqualification while greatly vexing the athletes who would have replaced them.
Dr. Robert E. Cassidy, the U.S. team physician, questions whether dope testing is worth all the grief. "To catch the occasional culprit, we're risking disqualification of athletes who may need medication to function normally," he says. Cassidy promises to press for rulings in Cali on the acceptability of a number of drugs, among them Lomotil. The doctor's concern over whether the swimmers competing in Colombia can be given Lomotil is understandable. It is used to combat Turista.
THE GOING RATE
After joining the International Track Association pro circuit a couple of years ago, Lee Evans confessed to having run for pay all along and told, specifically, of pocketing a total of $3,000 for competing in four meets during the 1970 European summer season. Evans, a 1968 Olympic gold medalist and still world-record holder in the 400-meter dash, recalled, "That was a great summer. I was making good money."
Today's amateurs appear, at first glance, to be doing even better. According to a former Olympian who remains a close observer of the track scene, performers of any reputation at all are routinely picking up $800 per meet in Europe this summer. Olympic or European champions, the category that Evans belonged to in 1970, are getting $1,200, while as much as $2,000 awaits "special cases," such as a double Olympic gold medalist or an athlete performing right after setting a world record.