The Wasatch Behind: Illegal good intentions
"Gee, I feel so bad for little Timmy DeChristopher," my ecology-minded friend, Crystal Biotica, said. For those of you who don't know, Crystal is the twin sister of Crypto Biotica, a famous soil specialist for the environmental movement.
"The jury found him guilty of screwing up a BLM oil and gas auction, and all he wanted to do was save the planet from global warming," she said.
"Hmm," I replied. "Don't I remember something from last year about global warming being exposed as a fraud? You remember, all that stuff about those top climate scientists at East Anglia University doctoring the data and lying on the reports and all? Even Al Gore, the global warming Guru, has been chilled-out in one of his mansions somewhere, counting all of the money he made on the scam while dodging the press."
"But Timmy DeChristopher is so sincere," she said. "I mean; he's ready to go to jail to save the polar bears."
I wouldn't call that sincere," I argued. "I'd call that stupid."
"Sincerely stupid," she countered.
"Exactly," I concurred.
"Screwing up a BLM auction is illegal," I offered. "He did the deed knowingly and with malice. He should go to jail or face a hefty fine."
"It might be illegal," Crystal whined. "But he shouldn't be prosecuted if his heart is in the right place."
"That cuts both ways," I told her. "A few months ago a couple of guys from San Juan County were fined $35,000 for doing repair work on an ATV trail in Recapture Canyon. I could argue that their hearts were in the right place, too. The trail was eroding and they were trying to repair the damage."
"That trail was illegal," Crystal screeched.
"So was screwing up the oil and gas auction."
"But Timmy's motives were noble," she said.
"So were the ATV guys. It all depends on your point of view."
"But ATV trails damage the environment," she said.
"Wilderness damages the economy and national security," I countered. "For Pete's sake, we need the natural resources and the jobs. You'll likely be paying five dollars a gallon for gas by the Fourth of July and the Air Force and Navy will be running on empty. There is no reason for that. America has more oil than Saudi Arabia. We could easily be energy independent but we've locked it all up in wilderness study areas."
"Burning oil and gas causes global warming," Crystal croaked. "We need green energy."
"Good idea," I agreed. "But where is it? My car doesn't go very far with wind and sunshine in the tank. We still need oil until we get the sunbeam and windmill thing figured out."
"It's still a bad thing that little Timmy was prosecuted for being true to his beliefs," she said. "After all, he was on a mission to save the planet. To him, and people like me, environmentalism is as sacred as religion."
"Speaking of religion," I said. "Did you know that the prophet Brigham Young taught that it was a Mormon's duty to tame the wilderness and make it a place of peaceful habitation? I haven't checked, but I don't think that religious obligation has ever been rescinded. Being a Mormon, I wonder if the federal courts would buy that argument if I decided to fix the ATV trail in Recapture Canyon."
"Of course not," Crystal growled with fire in her eyes.
"Taming the wilderness is a sincerely held belief," I argued. "And there is lots of new wilderness out there needing to be tamed. I think we should colonize like they did in the 1800s. We could build little religious Kibbutz's all over the San Rafael Swell and Cedar Mesa. Our motives would be pure and we would be following a well-established religious principle with good historical precedent. It's a freedom of religion issue. I think we should get the Supreme Court to take a look at this."
"You do that and The Grand Old Broads for Wilderness will bury you with endless litigation," Crystal snarled, showing her fangs.
"Let's be fair," I said. "If we let one group of people off for having sincere motives, we've got to do it for everyone. The Constitution guarantees equality under the law, or at least it used to."