Logging spokesmen say the death of an Earth First! activist should serve to get protesters out of the woods; Earth First! says: Not a chance.
David Chain, 24, of
Austin, Texas, was killed when he was struck in the head by a
falling tree Sept. 17. He'd been trying to stop logging on land
owned by Pacific Lumber Co. ear Grizzly Creek in the Headwaters
Forest. The area is part of 7,500 acres that the state and federal
government are trying to buy to save the forest from
Within hours of Chain's death, Earth
First! and Pacific Lumber were each blaming the other. The company
emphasized an excerpt from the Earth First! Direct Action Manual
that outlines a strategy known as "cat and mouse," which several
protesters were engaged in when Chain was killed. It calls for
activists to occupy a timber cut while dodging loggers and law
Earth First! spokespeople
said the falling tree was intentionally cut so it would fall toward
protesters. The group is calling for a criminal
The company claims its loggers
didn't know protesters were in the area. But the San Francisco
Chronicle reported Sept. 19 that a video - which protesters say
they recorded shortly before the incident - shows loggers shouting
obscenities at protesters at the site.
company says Chain's death should be a lesson to protesters. "There
is one sure way that these accidents can be avoided in the future.
That's to stay out of the woods," says Mary Bullwinkel, Pacific
In an editorial, the
Sacramento Bee echoed the company, asking for tactics that keep
loggers and protesters out of harm's way. But an Earth First!
spokesman believes Chain's death has created a backlash against
"This has galvanized a lot of support,"
says a protester who calls himself Squid. "We're basically going to
stay there indefinitely." - Dustin