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