save the trees! - headwaters forest pic

Langrrr at Langrrr at
Wed Dec 9 11:18:36 EST 1998

In article <a5OV6XA4$Vb2EwI+ at>,
  Gnome 11 <thopkins at> wrote:
> In article <74jisr$vj$1 at>, Langrrr at writes
> >
> >> > >Did Chain choose to die? He chose to trespass as an act of civil
> >> > >disobedience. Are you so unaware of American history to know that civil
> >> > >disobedience is as American as apple pie?
> >
> >Please. I am more than aware that civil disobedience goes to the very heart
> >of this nation.  But, Joseph, that has normally been civil disobedience
> >against government, not the wanton trespass against private entities.

> If the govrnment supports private entities, then private entities are
> part of government policy. So reasonably subject to civil disobedience.

Reasonably, yes.  But, chaining oneself to furniture, destroying office
equiptment, and engaging in other, similarly extreme acts are not reasonable.
 Demanding that someone give up a full 3rd of one's property without
compensation is unreasonable.

> >
> >But, in any case, I have no beef with acts of civil disobedience in general -
> >I have no problem with people demonstrating outside of offices, marching,
> >etc.  I do have a problem when those demonstrators enter offices, chain
> >themselves to things, and destroy property.
> I have no problem with entering offices or chaining self to things.

Clearly.  So let's take it a step further, shall we, Gnome?  I note that your
ISP is in the UK, but for the sake of argument let's say that you live in the
US and receive Social Security from the Federal Government.  By your logic,
someone protesting the Social Security system could enter this person's
private property (their yard or even home) and chain themselves to their

Is this what you want?  After all, it's merely civil disobedience.

> Especially if it is done publicly, and the consequences, usually jail or
> fine, are accpted. There is a high risk on a logging opperation. The
> opperator should stop work as part of his humanity.

There IS a high risk on a logging operation.  These people knew that risk and
they decided to HIDE among the redwoods, AFTER they had been warned by the

HE didn't know that David Chain was there.

> Destroying things? Well, my English history of America told me about the
> destruction of a lot of tea...private the Boston Tea
> Party. (Maybe you did a different history course?)

And that was in protest to the abrogation of individual liberties fomented by
a Parliament intent on aggravating their fellow englishmen.  It was a
precursor to revolution.

In contrast, there has been no abrogation of the individual liberties of
Earth First members, and while they might be attempting to revolt, I find
their basis for revolution to be invalid.

> >
> >And, more to the point, I have a real problem when that civil disobedience
> >breaks the law, and the protestors are somehow upset when something goes
> >awry.  There are reasons why we have laws against trespass.  One of them is
> >to protect the property rights of the individual being trespassed against.
> >The second is to discourage individuals from trespassing into areas which are
> >"attractive nuisances", regions which present a threat to life and limb of
> >the individuals who are not supposed to be there.
> I don't know the details of the death, but different countries would
> deal with 'aggravated trespass' as called in UK, in different ways.

Then why bother getting involved?

> Norway you can only be moved by a policeman. Canada, ditto. UK, you can
> be moved by private security or baliffs, but if it is clearly a civil
> disobedience thing, the baliffs must first get permission from a senior
> policeman.

And the logger told them to leave and was a mile and a half from a phone.  He
made no attempt to remove them.

> However, in UK and Norway, at least, there is an absolute duty on the
> site opperator to ensure the safety of any trespasser. Which would mean
> the opperator will have to shut down opperations prior to removing
> trespasser. Life is more important than profit.

Are you telling me that if someone visits a zoo, scales a wall and a 20 foot
barbed wire fence, and enters a lion's den, and is eaten by that lion, the
zoo is automatically liable?

Or, more to the point, an environmental activist breaks into a Nuclear Power
plant and enters a sensitive zone without wearing radiation gear, and is
killed in that manner, then the Nuclear Power plant is automatically-liable?

Even if it is true, that's not the way it is here.  Attractive nuisance suits
only go so far.

> Enthusiastic kids trying to stop environmentally destructive logging is
> not a US phenomenen.

You make it seem like apple-cheeked frat-boys from the 50's are linking arms
with their poodle-skirted girlfriends, holding up leftover banners from the
homecoming game.

This is not the case - these aren't just "enthusiastic kids".

> It happens in UK, Norway, Sweden, Malaysia,
> Russia,(Greenpeace Russia did an incredible blockade last year north of
> Leningrad in minus 30c), Finland, Canada, and probably anywhere there
> are forests and woods and enthusiastic kids. I know of no case other
> than this one in the US where there has been a death.

Yes, and I'm sure the US has just an awful record when compared to Russia,
Malaysia, and others in terms of violence against activists.  We at least
have free speech, Gnome.  People disappear in other places.

> Over 3000 kids have been arrested stopping the UK's destructive road
> building program, often cherry picked by out of very tall trees or
> removed by profesional rock-climbers working for the contractors. No one
> has been killed, and there have few, very few, injuries. Road
> construction sites are very dangerous places...if working.

Well, perhaps the british "kids" are too smart to hide among the construction
equiptment, and make their presence known, thus negating the possibility of
being accidentally run-over by workers who don't know that they are there?

> >
> >> > >Since when is trespassing
> >> > >punishable by death? That was no suicide mission.
> See above. And below.

For what?  Your spurious arguments having nothing to do with the situation at

> >
> >I believe the case can be made that it was, actually.  The Headwaters
> >Appropriations were being signed by Governor Wilson within a matter of hours,
> >and EF's battle there was soon going to be relegated to a mere irrelevant
> >sideshow.  Thus, tensions were high, and something needed to be done to
> >derail the situation.
> >
> >So, Chain and others went into the woods to play "cat & mouse", a game of
> >hide and seek used to slow down logging operations.  They ignored warning
> >signs and trespassed into a hazardous work zone.  They were confronted by a
> >logger, who warned them once again that he was going to be cutting, and that
> >a tree might come down on them if they didn't leave the work zone (this was,
> >after all, an area in which trees were being cut).  Not a threat - a warning.
> >
> >But they ignored this warning, and hid.  And David Chain was crushed,
> >creating the perfect martyr for Earth First.  This got them the national
> >attention they do desperately crave.
> >
> >He chose to be there.  He knew that there was a risk of injury to his person,
> >possibly even fatal.  And yet he made that choice anyway.
> >

No comments, Gnome?

> >> > > The loggers knew the
> >> > >trespassers were there and proceeded to drop the tree any ways.
> >
> >That is untrue.  The logger had seen the protestors, and then they were gone.
> >
> >This was a domino tree, by the way - a tree felled by another tree which had
> >been felled by the logger.  What this means is that Chain and Company were
> >hiding a considerable distance from where the logger was working, and that
> >the logger could not have seen them as he was working.
> >
> >> > > No doubt
> >> > >the loggers will go free, and their defense will be "property rights";
> >> > >the most holy of holyies- which I think is full of holes.
> >
> >Oh, that's funny.  Did you write that one yourself, or do you have
> >Letterman's team working for you?
> >
> >No, their defense is simple - Chain and Company had no right to be there.
> >They were warned repeatedly.  They ignored those warnings and they hid.  The
> >result was a tragic accident.
> >
> >And property rights is the holy of holies, for without them, no other
> >liberties are secure.
> >
> > - Andrew Langer
> Problem with US is that private property is often put above an
> individual's safety. Or so it appears to me.

Well, it's because of the UK's treatment of private property in the colonies
that we have such strong protections of it.

> You should carefully consider if this is appropriate conduct in a nation
> that would like to see itself as civilised, *and on the whole is*.

I consider holding individuals accountable for their own idiotic actions to
be a rather civilized notion.  Especially in a nation in which these
individuals are given plenty of opportunity to express their dissatisfaction
with both government and business in so many other ways.

This is, of course, unlike places like Malaysia and Russia in which people
are often killed for expressing their opinions freely.

> Profit before life. Is this as 'American as Apple Pie'?

That's not at issue in this case in the slightest, and it is dishonest to say
that it is.

 - Andrew Langer

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