Rainbow family vs. environment

  Dear HCN,

I find the "essay" on the back of the July 30 issue full of hypocrisy. Writer Bill Cope would have the reader believe that the Rainbow Family of Living Light was a very environmentally conscious group. Come on, now. I saw firsthand what that group did to the lands of the national forest in southwest Montana in the summer of 2000.

This group goes to an area in a manner which constitutes the most high-impact use that one can imagine. I have seen less damage done to a public area by citizens that I have turned into the authorities, who were cited for their flagrant disregard for the public lands.

This same group, in 2000, about 5,000 more in number, camped in areas not designated for camping. They drove their vehicles over the grasslands and through wetlands and caused many thousands of dollars of damage, some of which will take years to heal. They left garbage for others to collect and recycle, including needles where people could possibly step on them. They abandoned many animals (pets) which had to be taken in to the Humane Society. The Rainbow people used the local health facilities to treat illness, injuries and drug overdoses and, in at least one case, required helicopter transportation to a regional medical facility. Most of those charges for medical service went unpaid and the State of Montana had to help pick up the bill.

To compare their actions as equivalent to the Shriners is the worst insult that I could imagine. The Shriners have given more to the cause of crippled children than the next 10 groups dedicated to that noble cause combined. To compare the actions of this counterculture group to the actions of the Bush daughter was completely uncalled for. Not that her conduct should find any defense, but come now, it is obvious that Bill Cope still has not gotten over the vote count and will never get over it, and that is OK, but your paper is not a forum for "sore losers." There is certainly a place for your publication; however, you need a higher standard than what appeared on the entire back page of this issue.

Anson Crutcher
Bozeman, Montana
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