I don’t care much for “our” boys and girls in Iraq or Afghanistan. As far as I’m concerned, they’re getting paid to kill people, more often than not innocent bystanders who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. While I applaud any veteran who speaks up against this insanity, and while I have compassion for anybody who gets hurt/ traumatized/ disabled/ killed by this war machine that they’re unable to understand correctly, I don’t consider them heroes. But Tim DeChristopher — he has my admiration and applause.
On December 19 2008, Tim entered an auction of public land near Utah’s national parks. He started to bid on the oil and gas rights to 10 parcels (22,000 acres) of BLM land around Arches and Canyonlands National Parks for 1.8 million dollars that he didn’t have, and he drove up the bidding on a number of other parcels that he didn’t purchase.
A 27-year-old University of Utah economics student, Tim eloquently explained the reasons for his act of civil resistance (Why I Disrupted A Fraudulent Auction). In February, new Interior Secretary Ken Salazar rescinded 77 of the leases, saying they were too close to national parks and never should have gone up for sale under the Bush administration. One would have expected that the case against Tim would be settled with a misdemeanor plea bargain.
Instead, DeChristopher was charged this Wednesday with two federal felonies, which could result in a combined sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a $750,000 fine. Why are people like Bush and Cheney not held responsible for their actions while a person who didn’t harm anybody is facing prison charges? This is not a rhetorical question.