As magazines like Radar and Men's Vogue perish amid a more conservative economic climate, we pray nightly that some of our favorite publications don't go under. We would hate to lose print gems like Harper's "Readings" section, a compendium of found text and photography that always manages to congeal into a torturous, depressing whole. This month's edition brings you the story of Operation High Roller, a California investigation into hawk murderers. Wallow in the sad glory of print after the jump.Some magazines struggle to keep up with the shifting expectations for print journal's but Harper's has done a decent job keeping their magazine interesting. Whereas other publications fear dipping their toes into darker waters, the Readings section's dark investigations into torture and greed always did remind us of the best possible blog. Here the magazine reprints conversations between undercover officer Ed Newcomer of the Fish and Wildlife Service and people who keep "roller" pigeons. Such folks aim to protect their pigeon collection by eliminating natural predators like hawks and peregrine falcons, sometimes in sadistic fashion. In the following excerpt, Newcomer incriminates pigeon keeper Rayvon Hall by asking him how he kills the hawks.
Ed Newcomer: What do you use, pellet guns? Rayvon Hall: Yeah. Newcomer: You know what? The last one I caught with my pellet gun, I heard neighbors trying to look over the fence, so I just chucked the gun as quick as I could and walked away. But you were telling me there's another way to kill them. Hall: The ones I killed, I just put some bleach and ammonia in a spray bottle, shook it up, sprayed 'me in the eyes and mouth. They went into convulsions. Newcomer: How long did it take? Did they make a lot of noise? Flap around or anything? They didn't do that screaming they do when you shoot 'em? Because that's the other thing. I think my neighbor heard that too. Hall: Yeah, somebody else told me that if you mix the bleach with the ammonia, it makes a gas. The fumes damn near knocked me out. I was spraying it, and I had it on that wide spray. That's some strong shit. You be hearing that bottle fizzing. I just started spraying his ass through the wire cage. He started blinking his eyes, and his mouth kept opening, and he was flapping — he was suffocating, you know. I did two or three like that.Would this be the same if you read it on a blog? I guess we're finding that out now. Don't leave us, print!