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Letter to the Editor: Abbey's characters not terrorists



In response to Tom McCourt's "Wasatch Behind" editorial on Jan.30 in the Sun Advocate.

He is upset and outraged that somebody may make a movie from Ed Abbey's 1975 novel The Money Wrench Gang.

The story is far from an operating manual or recruiting tool for eco-terrorists. Ed Abby considered the novel a "comedy extravaganza." Many reviewers discuss the books' comic book quality. It would make an excellent movie. It has all the elements; our beautiful red rock scenery, wild characters, chase scenes, sexual tension and dead pan humor, that also made Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) a classic.

One element lacking from The Monkey Wrench Gang is death. It seems strange that so many of our fills spill human blood by the gallon and tally the bodies like so much cord wood; yet Tom is offended by the vandalism of property. Is our love of property ownership so great that an attack on property is more offensive than an attack on human life? Ed Abbey was always careful to differentiate between sabotage and terrorism. Abbey's master thesis was on this very subject. Sabotage is the damage of equipment; terrorism directs violence against people. Both are illegal and socially unacceptable. We condone neither but must recognize they are on different moral planes.

Our country would be well served by limiting the term "terrorist," to those who systematically attack/kill innocent victims with the intent of coercing change in public policy. Butch and Sundance were not terrorists at the Wilcox train robbery, they were just criminals. Hayduke and Bonnie Abzug would be criminals if they were not fictionalized characters.

So, if this film which has been in pre-production since 1975, is booked in a local theater, I will invite Tom to see it with me. Maybe we could catch it in a double feature with a western shoot'em up.

I'll buy the popcorn.

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