KINGMAN - Don't send a lawyer to do a scientist's job.
That's the message state Sen. Kelli Ward, R-Lake Havasu City, heard loud and clear Wednesday night when a meeting she called to address concerns over so-called "chemtrails" took place at the Mohave County Board of Supervisors auditorium.
Roughly 100 people attended the meeting and they traveled from as far as Mesa and Las Vegas to participate.
They have questions about what they perceive as poison falling from the skies, poison emitted from unmarked government jets, but they received precious few answers - because Sherri L. Zendri, administrative counsel for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, had none to give them.
ADEQ, she said, has no jurisdiction over aircraft engine emissions, which are the domain of the federal Environmental Protection Agency.
Ward, who called the meeting to address the issue on behalf of constituents who have raised concerns over chemtrails, promised she would speak to Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Arizona, to see if he would host a similar meeting and bring representatives from the EPA who are qualified to answer questions that require scientific expertise.
Members of the public expressed frustration over what they consider a government conspiracy to rob them of their health.
Some made comments that seemed beyond the pale - that 55-gallon barrels of toxic material are being dumped into Lake Havasu every day, that the government wants to murder everybody who's 70 years old or older or on long-term disability, that what you spit out of your mouth after gargling with wine and hydrogen peroxide will prove you have heavy metals poisoning.
Others, however, are sick. They have elevated levels of heavy metals in their blood, specifically barium, aluminum oxide and strontium, and nobody can tell them why.
They are looking for answers, and chemtrails, to them, offer as good an explanation as anything else.
Most who spoke were articulate and knowledgeable and some had heartbreaking stories of poor health.
Unfortunately, Zendri was not qualified to answer those questions, and many in the audience expressed their frustration.
Speaking directly to Ward, one participant asked, "Do you think we're a bunch of nuts?"
"No," she replied. "I do not think you're nuts and I will talk to Congressman Gosar and try to get a meeting."
Chemtrails, a term that has been around since the 1990s, refers to the visible trail left in the sky by aircraft. People who believe say the trails prove the government is releasing deadly chemicals and biological agents as part of a covert operation.
The government - and the scientific community - have dismissed the theory. The vapor lines are condensation trails, which form when airplane engine exhaust meets extremely cold air in the atmosphere. When there's enough moisture, wispy clouds form in the airplane's wake.
What wasn't discussed is whether the elevated levels of heavy metals some people have is not the result of what falls from the skies today, but what fell from the skies about 70 years ago when the Kingman area was home to a gunnery range.
The bombs they dropped as they trained to fight World War II left alarming levels of barium and aluminum oxide in the ground, along with other hazardous materials.
Attempts to determine if Gosar would be amenable to a meeting that would include EPA scientists were unsuccessful.