It's becoming apparent that Americans are wasting too much time worrying about illegal immigrants when the far bigger danger turns out to be illegal bears.

Stories and photos about bears are showing up with alarming frequency in the nation's news media, such as these just this month. LA Times: "Authorities on alert for increased bear sightings." Baltimore Sun: "Area black bear sightings increase." Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "Nuisance bear trapped near Kingston."

Cartoon by Daryl Cagle - (click to reprint)

Cartoon by Daryl Cagle - (click to reprint)

Delaware News Journal: "Maryland man killed in bear crash." Whoops. It seems the accident occurred in the town of Bear, Md., and did not involve any actual bears.

Associated Press: "Calif. freeway closed after bear wanders in lanes." Elma, Wash. (UPI) - "Rest area closed due to bear." Seattle Times: "Elma rest area reopens after bear wakes up, leaves."

Daily Markets: "Bear of the Day: CONMED Corp." Sorry. This story apparently concerns stock trading for a company that "competes in the orthopedic surgery markets," and is not known to be involved with bears.

Asbury Park (N.J.) Press: "Wayward bear causes traffic snarl during Monday rush hour." WPVI-TV: "Bear caught on tape in Lehigh Co. (Pa.) neighborhood."

Verde (Ariz.) Independent: "Black bear cruises Clarkdale before capture." I checked, and this cruising creature was confirmed to be a genuine bear. However, a report in an Alabama paper headlined, "Big changes for Boyertown American Legion Bears," may involve a baseball team since, according to the story, "The Bears have combined a strong offense with inconsistent pitching."

New Baltimore Voice Newspapers: "Bonds formed between women and prisoners making teddy bears." The report discloses this is taking place as part of the Macomb Correctional Facility "Teddy Bear Program."

The (Penn.) News Leader: "I looked out and all I saw was a paw, claws and fur," Emily Miller said in reference to a black bear that has been stubbornly hanging around the Millers' Craigsville home.

San Jose Mercury News: "Charges dropped vs. man in Tahoe bear death." An El Dorado County sheriff's investigation has determined that John Wilkinson of Tahoma, Calif., acted in self defense when he shot a bear that entered his home through a window. Ann Bryant, president of the Lake Tahoe-based BEAR League, said she was disappointed in the way the investigation was handled. "To just allow people to get by with something this tragic and this horrific is absolutely terrible," she said.

Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel: Letter to the editor, "Why do we continue to penalize the poor black bear for the stupidity of people?"

Chicago Sun-Times: "Weekly Bears Q and A." It turns out the questions pertain only to football.

Duluth (Minn.) News Tribune: "Hope the Internet-famous black bear cub has been spotted alive and apparently well by Ely bear researcher Sue Mansfield."

From these accounts it's clear that Americans are even more sharply divided about illegal bears than they are about illegal immigrants. Congress should hold hearings to resolve the bear issue, and President Obama must take a firm stand and not forget his campaign pledge to keep Hope, the Internet-famous bear, alive.

And speaking of Congressional hearings, I'd suggest a full investigation of the following piece of news, which I promise I didn't invent, as reported by High Times:

"Bear Attack Victim Eligible for Workers' Comp Despite Marijuana Use."


Peter Funt writes about newspapers at: and may be reached at: .

©2010 Peter Funt. This column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons, Inc. newspaper syndicate. For info call Cari Dawson Bartley at 800 696 7561 or e-mail [email protected]

Peter Funt is a writer and public speaker. He's also the long-time host of "Candid Camera." A collection of his DVDs is available at