Shattered Like A Stone Goblin

Goblins or Hoodoos
Goblins or Hoodoos
at Goblin Valley State Park

by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

Public parks and protected lands belong to us all as our collective natural heritage. By preserving and acting as stewards of these natural treasures, we aim to preserve them for the enjoyment their majesty and beauty brings for us and for our children’s children. One of these parks is Goblin Valley State Park in Utah. Since 1974, the unusual rock formations there known as goblins or hoodoos have enriched the lives of many thousands of visitors. These formations of sandstone, siltstone and shale are caused by differential rates of erosion and are a great example of the stark beauty of the high desert. Some of these formations are 200 million years old.

So naturally, it would be fun to push one down.

Even a young one that’s only about 20 million years old.

Seems like fun, doesn’t it?  The men are laughing, cheering and exchanging high fives after toppling the formation and in the finest “dumb fun” tradition for the men identified as Dave Hall, Dylan Taylor, and Glenn Taylor, local troop leaders of the Boy Scouts of America and youth leaders for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was such a great time, they posted the video to Facebook where several of their friends thought it was great fun too.

As it turns out, the Utah State Park Service is considerably less amused than the Taylor entourage was at the time. Noting that a criminal investigation is underway, Utah State Park Service spokesman Eugene Swalberg said, “It is not only wrong, but there will be consequences. This is highly, highly inappropriate. This is not what you do at state parks. It’s disturbing and upsetting.”

But wait!  There’s more.

The Boy Scouts of America didn’t think it was fun or appropriate either. Friday they released the following statement:

We are shocked and disappointed by this reprehensible behavior. For more than a century, the Boy Scouts of America has been a leader in conservation—from stewardship to sustainability. We teach our 2.6 million youth members and 1.1 million adult members, who collectively spend more than 5.5 million nights outdoors, the principles of “Leave No Trace.”

These principles stress a commitment to maintaining the integrity and character of the outdoors and all living things. The isolated actions of these individuals are absolutely counter to our beliefs and what we teach. We are reviewing this matter and will take appropriate action.

There has been no statement from the LDS organization.  Jesus could not be reached for comment. The smart money is on neither the Mormons nor the Nazarene being too pleased with this group either. At least Jesus is likely to forgive them. When this author contacted Sir Issac Newton via Ouija board, he said, “Gravity is not your friend and it doesn’t need your assistance, but it is the law.”

Some of the Facebook feedback wasn’t so positive either. When someone posted to Facebook that they should take the video down before their actions landed them in the pokey, Dave Hall had all the answers. He wrote. “Nobody’s going to jail. You have a 2,000 lb boulder that is teetering on a 2″[sic] dirt ledge and about ready to fall off on it’s [sic] own. 5 minutes before this video we watched a family with many small children walk right below the rock to take a family photo. We didn’t do anything until they were gone because we didn’t want anyone to get hurt. One gust of wind and that rock was falling whether someone was there or not. … I’ll take my chances with the cops rather then my conscience after hearing a family was crushed to death by a rock I was prompted to move.” Glenn Taylor had posted that they were “just doing [their] civic duty!”

Dave Hall also told The Salt Lake Tribune that “[w]ith the information we had we made the best decision we could. We weren’t there for vandalism or anything like that. The intent was to enjoy the natural resources with a bunch of friends. We’re extremely sorry for our actions. There was no in way shape or form any intent to go out there and cause any harm to our natural resources.”

Was this the best decision they could have made? Was this an example of civic duty in eliminating an imminent threat? Does this merit felony vandalism charges? Will the imminent threat defense and a professed lack of intent mitigate any felony vandalism charges? What do you think?

Source(s): The Salt Lake Tribune

Note: All apologies to the great author Harlan Ellison, whose short story “Shattered Like A Glass Goblin” inspired the title.

~submitted by Gene Howington, Guest Blogger

58 thoughts on “Shattered Like A Stone Goblin

  1. they’ll keep repeating “civic duty” until they start believing it themselves. people like that can always find an excuse for their actions.

  2. Gene,: “There has been no statement from the LDS organization. Jesus could not be reached for comment. The smart money is on neither the Mormons nor the Nazarene being too pleased with this group either. At least Jesus is likely to forgive them. When this author contacted Sir Issac Newton via Ouija board, he said, “Gravity is not your friend and it doesn’t need your assistance, but it is the law.” ”

    Well played sir. My first laugh of the day, or the last depending on just how screwed up my sleep cycle is.

    I think they are lying as a CYA move. The soulless [insert forbidden word] that toppled it had to try 3 times and the last time he had to brace himself on another rock.

    Are the Mormons like some of the fundamentalist Christian sects that think that mankind is free to do anything at all to the earth and it’s creatures because, God? I’m asking a question because I don’t know too much about the details of their beliefs regarding things like environmental issues.

    These guys constructed their ‘get out of jail free’ card some time after the negative comments started coming in. Hall shut down his Facebook page but from the screen grabs I saw early yesterday morning it was all fun and games, manly men doing manly stuff until the prospect of legal action was brought up. I only saw some screen grabs though so the timeline is incomplete.

    Why does the LDS need time to deliberate on what to do? I wonder if they are worried about liability (if fines are involved) falling in part on the church organization since these twits were acting in their capacity as youth leaders for the LDS according to Dylan Taylor. It did’t take him long to play the Church card:

    “According to Taylor, he and Hall are leaders for a local troop of the Boy Scouts of America. Hall added that the men also were acting as Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints youth leaders.”

    Insert joke in poor taste about ‘never getting that second-wife card punched if they cost the church money’ here.

  3. Was this the best decision they could have made? Was this an example of civic duty in eliminating an imminent threat? Does this merit felony vandalism charges? Will the imminent threat defense and a professed lack of intent mitigate any felony vandalism charges? What do you think?

    Great contrast Gene H.

    The reality will become clear when the law, and especially the facts, come to the fore.

    Their story is plausible under the proper set of facts, but that set of facts has not been developed yet IMO.

    It would seem to me that a potential “imminent threat defense” has some hurdles to deal with.

    Why couldn’t they have placed themselves where they thought the rock would tumble should it break loose naturally, and send one of their own to get the Park Rangers or other relevant authority.

    They could ward off anyone who came into the danger zone down from the rock.

    Or call those Park Rangers or other relevant authorities on the cell phone, sending photos and/or video of the circumstances?

    It seems that their is the possibility of their being haughty by not going through a more acceptable procedure, especially as leaders of future citizens.
    After watching the video, I am not convinced of the “imminent threat defense” because of the force required to dislodge the rock, and it not going anywhere once dislodged.

    A small perimeter fence would have sufficed, or some stabilizing rod put in place by competent craftsmen.

    Guilty of being haughty or unwise.

    Probation on the planet Kolob with Mitt for a proper amount of time.

  4. The Boy Scouts of America closed their statement with “We voluntarily agree on the appropriateness of setting aside ‘Leave No Trace’ in the case of an emergency, including an approaching homosexual.”

  5. Being both Boy Scout Leaders and Mormon Youth Leaders, yet exercising such poor judgment, reinforces my view that ennobling organizations because of their precepts is a fools game. One will often hear of it said of an individual as a testimonial: They are a Boy Scout Leader; A Choir Leader; A cheerleader; A youth Counselor; or a Sports Coach. The association with an organization with pretensions of rectitude will be taken as a sign of a superior individual. The truth is that no matter what the profession, no matter what the association, human bad behavior is unfettered by institutional precepts. These three young men were jerks and their associations obviously did nothing to providem them with wisdom. As OS often says: “You can’t teach stupid”.

  6. The Utah canyons are in my mind, the most beautiful and interesting part of this country. Ironically, I would guess @ least 95% of Americans have never seen them. The hoodoos are not just indigenous to this park, Bryce is the most breathtaking w/ hoodoos. I was outraged when I saw this on the news. It is vandalism, charge them w/ felonious and plea down to misdemeanor w/ a heavy community service sentence to work in this park. Maybe picking up coyote shit.

  7. The photo of the cretin on the screen above (prior to running the film) says it all.
    Went in dumb, come out dumb too,
    hustling round Atlanta in our alligator shoes,
    we are Saints of the Ladder Day.

    We’re Rednecks, Rednecks!
    We don’t know our arse from a hole in the ground,
    We’re Rednecks. Rednecks!
    Keepin artifacts down.

  8. next time you break out the ouija board see if you can get in touch with nostradamus. i could use some good stock tips and few future kentucky derby winners couldn’t hurt.

  9. I wish there was a god to send these guys to the special hell along with the Taliban asshats who blew up the stone Buddhas and the idiot tourist who chipped a piece off of Michelangelo’s David.

  10. As was previously posted, manly men doing manly stuff. Idiot manly stuff, and they should pay a hefty fine and long hours of community service.

    I’ve hiked much of the Utah Red rock, stunning scenery. I’ve been in a slot canyon on a clear sunny morning with not a cloud in site nor a breath of wind when rocks fell a few hundred feet from me. That was also a stunningly beautiful site to witness. The rock in this video might have fallen that day, it might have remained in place for a thousand more years. Their action to dislodge it was moronic.

  11. I saw this story last night. It needed more exposure so thanks Gene for putting it up. More ought to be written about the vandalism going on around us every day, often under the color of law. Historic buildings torn down to be replaced by parking lots is one of my pet peeves. A couple of years ago, a developer wanted to cut down a stand of ancient old growth trees so he could build an apartment building. After a prolonged fight with the city, the trees were cut. The recession hit, and the developer abandoned the property. That entire property became just another big vacant lot overgrown with weeds.

    A man in Johnson County, Tennessee came home from work to find an entire stand of 15 black walnut trees in his front yard had been cut down by utility workers. They not only cut them down, they sawed them into firewood lengths so he could not even sell the logs to a lumber company. Their excuse was they were too close to the utility lines. First of all, those trees were there long before before the electric company even existed. Second, instead of consulting with him first so he could find a buyer, they cut them down and chopped up the pieces so they were unusable. Last I heard, he was going to sue. A fully grown black walnut tree is worth well in excess of $25,000 each. Do the math. There were 15 trees.

    Raping the environment in the name of progress is not progress. It is quite something else.

  12. These guys get the Idiots of the week award hands down. They should be at least fined and required to actually go to the Wizard to get a brain!
    Secondly, this idiot is the same guy who filed a lawsuit claiming he was disabled in a car accident according to a Daily Kos story. I guess he done healed fast!

  13. OS:

    how old were the walnuts? Doesnt it take them a long time to become mature and viable for use as furniture?

    That is the government for you, they dont give a sh*t about economics.

  14. Re. the defense that they were only acting to ensure the safety of others: It isn’t their park, so it isn’t their decision to manage it. If they really thought there was a safety concern, they should have brought it to the attention of the Park Service. That’s whose job it is make those determinations.

  15. I saw this on the news yesterday and their ex post facto excuse-making is so obvious it’s ridiculous. They were clearly just being obnoxious vandals in the video (by the way, congrats on filming and posting that, morons), and any un-biased person can see that they weren’t earnestly saving the public from a danger. Puh-lease!

    They need to pay a high price for their vandalism.

  16. I’m having some trouble with the ‘imminent threat’ thing. If this rock formation had withstood the elements and, presumably, other idiot humans for 20 million years, where is the imminent threat? I’m sure that’s what they are going to try to claim, but is the Dunning-Kruger phenomenon (being too dumb to fully understand how dumb you are) truly justification for an ‘imminent threat’ defense? Is the standard simply that they needed to perceive they were threatened (ala Florida), not that an actual threat existed?

    Also, too, why didn’t they just pray for God to resolve the threat? I can never understand these folks who wax ad nauseum about their faith in the Lord as the solution to every problem, but who then display an astounding lack of faith by deciding to take things into their own hands time and time again.

  17. This is when my sides split open: “When this author contacted Sir Issac Newton via Ouija board, he said, “Gravity is not your friend and it doesn’t need your assistance, but it is the law.”

  18. One Salt Lake paper is reporting that Dave Hall has a pending “pain and suffering” lawsuit stemming from a multiple car accident in which fenders were damaged and NO one went to the hospital. The lawsuit was filed in September. His lawyer just issued a statement that Mr Hall is just beginning to get over his injuries. Mr. Hall is the father seen actually kicking over the rock.

  19. Having visited the enormous cave in Bamyan where the Taleban blew up the enormous Buddha, I cringe at the actions of these overweight, uneducated and so-called religious men. Argh.
    I was going to include the Randy Newman song: We’re rednecks, but somebody beat me to the punch. One of my favorite songs of all times.

  20. A few years ago we took the grandkids out West to see as many of the National Parks as time allowed. We did Arizona, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota. We were on the road for several weeks.

    While I was reading the blog I received an email from one of the grandkids who is a faithful reader but seldom poster. He had read Gene’s article and was incensed as he well remembered the beauty of this park and still has the sketches he drew of some of the formations. He bemoaned the fact that these men ruined something for his children.

    I’m not going to repeat what he thought should be done with these men but it had something to do with “forced relocation” and a geyser named Old Faithful.

  21. maxcat, No surveillance needed for that lyin’ sack o’ shit plaintiff. YouTube and Facebook can be gold for PI’s and defense attorneys. People can be greedy and stupid.

  22. maxcat, If folks knew just how many no damage personal injury lawsuits there are it would be open season on ambulance chasers and their clients. There was a time judges would just toss those horseshit cases out. That rarely happens anymore. Those cases are @ the top of the list for surveillance.

  23. These ladder climbing saint congregations exist in much of America. Get even. Go by and knock over some statues in their church front or at least leave some poop in their sidewalks the night before Christmas.

  24. Nick Spinelli: “It is vandalism, charge them w/ felonious and plea down to misdemeanor w/ a heavy community service sentence to work in this park.”

    Great idea, Nick, but I think you could stop at charging with felonies and leave it at that. This is certainly more than a misdemeanor.

  25. Kraaken, Totally agree. But, that’s the way it works now days. More than anything, I want the guy doing work in that park for long hours. He won’t do any time, and I don’t think he should. This should hurt or destroy his fraudulent personal injury case, which is a bonus and certainly karma.

  26. They need to be charged and convicted of a felony to preclude them having any legal access to firearms. Such people as this should not have the vote or guns.

  27. raff has obviously never used a bidet. Bear fans think they’re water fountains, or “bubblers” as Cheeseheads call them.

  28. I am unclear as to why this is a problem?

    We have a rock, a big rock, which may fall and hurt people. Push it over because it may fall in the future is the same as regulating business because they may do something wrong in the future.

    I would think progressives would be in favor of actions which are designed to prevent something which may or may not happen in the future.

    On the one hand progressives are mad about an individual who took action to “regulate” the rock so it wouldnt hurt anyone in the future. Yet when regulations are made to protect people from an action which may not ever occur it is a good thing.

    Can someone please explain this?

  29. PDM:

    Dr. Carson called Obamacare slavery. Maybe the states have a right to oppose it.

    The federal government has gone way to far, maybe this is the mechanism to restrict its growth.

    You do understand that the states could overturn Obamacare?

  30. Bron,

    “Can someone please explain this?”

    If you can explain yourself first, given your post at 12:20 pm, then maybe. But the chances are slim given your post.

  31. Bron,

    I’ll restate:

    If you can explain yourself first, given your post at 12:20 pm, then maybe. But the chances are slim given your post.

    Now add to this, “regulations are about what might happen based on one or 2 occurrences. What is the difference?”

    and I admit I’m flummoxed, and must admit that I can’t explain as the breech is too wide.

  32. I don’t think that had bad intent, they are idiots that don’t know better. Perhaps the media attention and a fair punishment will teach others not to be idiots that harm our Parks. BTW, the whole point of “balanced rocks” is that they are balanced, Many could be unbalanced with a little help, and then there wouldn’t be so many. We could call it “Used to be Balanced Rock Park.”

  33. lottakatz, I put your question about Mormon beliefs directly to a niece that is Mormon. Here is her reply:

    No, Mormons certainly do NOT believe that. When God created the earth, Adam was given a stewardship over the earth and creatures of the earth. As stewards, we are supposed to take care of the earth, not destroy it.

    From a Church perspective, at the very least these guys will be immediately released from their callings in Scouts. If I were their bishop, I would put them on probation and yank their temple recommends, too.

    These guys are an embarrassment and a disgrace to both the LDS Church and the BSA. What a sad display of ignorance.

    It is sickening that grown men could act in that fashion. I am truly ill.

  34. Pat,

    “No, Mormons certainly do NOT believe that. When God created the earth, Adam was given a stewardship over the earth and creatures of the earth.”

    This has worked out so well too; hasn’t it? Hard to get a word in between those golden tablets. Where are they now? Oh, right.

  35. oh goodness. it took me a hr and a half to reply to this post because i kept reading the sir isaac newton comment. Gene H you are at the top of the worse list for that one… rofllllllllllll

    with that said im just wondering if maybe that particular formation was in the way of the electronic micro waves. that the corporation has been using for double digit years now… this did happen in utah and isnt that exactly where the nsa building is?

    and yes my comment makes about as much sense as their excuses for why they destroyed that rock formation

  36. Glenn 1, October 19, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    Give these guys a break, they just got done watching “FOX NEWS” and their brains didn’t reboot……

    comment worth a repeat

  37. lottakatz, My niece just sent me the article that Gene just posted. My question to her now is what will the Mormon Church do as far as discipline and will the Church’s actions be made public if any action is taken.

    It was no problem to inquire. I thought that was how it was but wasn’t sure. I was forced to join the Mormon church at age eight and left at age 18. I thought maybe things had changed between age 18 and 65. Better for someone active and knowledgeable to answer your question than me spouting BS.

  38. lottakatz, here is the reply from my niece on church disciplinary actions:

    Church disciplinary actions are normally kept confidential. The Church will not release any open statement to a newspaper, etc. regarding it.

    Also, there is a range of discipline that can happen. These are the disciplinary actions that I can see happening:

    1. If one of those leaders was actually a Bishop, it will be really bad news for that person. His discipline would be handled by the Stake President. Since he essentially broke the law and caused extreme embarrassment to, not only the BSA, but the Church as well, it is very likely that he would be released from his calling as Bishop, and would go through a High Council Disciplinary Council where he could be either put on probation, disfellowshipped, or excommunicated. If he was put on probation or disfellowshipped, his temple recommend would be yanked, he would not be allowed to hold any callings, and he would have to meet with either the Stake President or his current Bishop on a regular basis. Together, they would put together an action plan involving repentance.

    2. If the leaders are not in the bishopric, but simply Young Men leaders, then they will most likely be removed from their callings, and I would guess placed on probation. They might be disfellowshipped or excommunicated if they are actually convicted of a crime.

    Hope this helps……………..Pat

  39. So, my question is.. was the rock 20 million years old, 4 million, 3 million, or 50 million? I have heard many different answers from various news stories. I dont agree with what they did but they have received death threats for pushing a rock… thats taking it way to far… I mean im sure that a lot of us have lit off fireworks when law prohibits it, made a dry ice bomb, gone off trail in a national forrest etc. All crimes. Again I dont agree but its rediculous how the media makes things escalate so fast

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