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. 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

  2. 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

  3. Thanks for letting us know, Gene! May that be the first of many unpleasant consequences for these halfwits.

    1. 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.

  4. The state and national parks are a marvel. They need preservation, not mutilation.

  5. 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

  6. Pat, thanks for the information, I appreciate that you took the effort to inquire.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.”

  11. 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.

  12. gbk:

    regulations are about what might happen based on one or 2 occurrences.

    What is the difference?

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

  15. 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?

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