Inciting to violence is not acceptable

  INCITING TO VIOLENCE IS NOT ACCEPTABLE


Dear HCN,


At a recent news conference, a reporter asked House Speaker Newt Gingrich if he felt that the anti-government rhetoric of the new Congress might be partly responsible for encouraging actions like the bombing of the Oklahoma City Federal Building. Gingrich replied that it was a "grotesque and offensive" question. Is it so far-fetched?


Since the new Congress took power in January, there has been a drumbeat of diatribes against federal employees and the regulations they enforce - particularly federal environmental rules. Federal agencies and their employees are castigated as unneeded, unwanted and a drain on our society. Several bills passed by the House, if enacted, will suspend environmental laws regulating grazing and timber cutting on federal lands. Sonny Bono, R-Calif., says we should "put all the endangered species in one locale and blow them up."


The rhetoric of the anti-regulation extremists in Congress is being matched by anti-government wackos in the "wise-use" and county-supremacy movements. In this emerging climate of fear and senseless violence, federal employees in federal and state resource-management agencies throughout the West have been shot at, sent death threats, harassed and intimidated.


One top Forest Service official recently told me he thought there was a 50 percent chance of a Forest Service employee being murdered this summer in either Idaho or Nevada.


This spring, two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service law enforcement agents investigating the death of one of the gray wolves recently released into central Idaho attempted to serve a warrant on a local rancher as part of their investigation. Rather than assisting fellow law officers, the sheriff came to the aid of the rancher on whom the warrant was being served, telling the agents to go back to Washington, D.C.


Encouraging and justifying this intimidation, Rep. Helen Chenoweth, R-Idaho, who has sponsored an "endangered salmon bake" fund-raiser, responded by saying she will seek federal legislation requiring U.S. law enforcement agents to seek written permission from county sheriffs before taking action within local jurisdictions.


Now is the time, as President Clinton recently said, to stand up to this kind of "reckless speech" that spreads hate and leaves the impression that violence is acceptable.


Jeff DeBonis


Washington, D.C.





Jeff DeBonis is executive director of Public Employees For Environmental Responsibility.





High Country News Classifieds
  • LAND CONSERVATION MANAGER
    SUMMARY Leads, administers and manages the land conservation, conservation easement stewardship, and property management activities of the City of Fort Collins Natural Areas Department within...
  • CLEAN ENERGY PROGRAM ATTORNEY, NEVADA
    Position Summary: Western Resource Advocates (WRA) is seeking a Staff Attorney who is passionate about Western communities and the protection of the natural environment to...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Deschutes River Conservancy in Bend, Oregon
  • WATER POLICY ANALYST WITH WRA (BOULDER)
    Position Summary: Western Resource Advocates seeks a passionate Water Policy Analyst with knowledge of western water issues to join our Healthy Rivers Team to strengthen...
  • GILA NATIONAL FOREST
    9+ acre inholding. Passive solar strawbale off the grid and next to the Continental Divide Trail in ponderosa pine/doug fir forest at 7400.
  • HIRING BEARS EARS EDUCATION CENTER DIRECTOR
    Conservation nonprofit Friends of Cedar Mesa in Bluff, Utah is hiring an Education Center Director to oversee the operation of the Bears Ears Education Center....
  • PROGRAM MANAGER, SUSTAINING FLOWS
    Friends of the Verde River, Cottonwood, AZ. Apply at https://verderiver.org/employment-opportunities/
  • PROGRAM ASSOCIATE - VERDE RIVER EXCHANGE
    Verde River Exchange - Friends of the Verde River, Cottonwood, AZ. Apply at https://verderiver.org/employment-opportunities/
  • CODE COMPLIANCE OFFICER
    Teton County Planning & Building is hiring! Our ideal candidate is a team-player, a problem-solver, pays attention to detail, and can clearly communicate technical material...
  • ARCHITECTURE DRAFTSPERSON/PROJECT MANAGER
    Studio Architects is seeking a full time Architectural drafts-person/project manager with1-3 years of experience to join our firm. At Studio Architects our mission is to...
  • ASSISTANT MANAGER/TRAINEE, COLORADO RANCH
    needed for 16,000+ acre conservation property in south central Colorado. Qualified candidate would have experience working on a ranch or wilderness property, general forestry/fire management...
  • FARM HAND &/OR NANNY IN ESCALANTE
    Nanny for 18-mnth-old. Yearly salary, vacation, health insurance. Spanish/other foreign-language native spkr prefrrd.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Washington Association of Land Trusts seeks an ED to build on WALTs significant success & to lead the association to new levels of achievement. See...
  • BEAUTIFUL CUSTOM STRAWBALE HOME IN WESTERN COLORADO!
    Secluded, energy efficient Southwestern home on 40 wooded acres. Broker - Rand Porter - United Country Real Colorado Properties. 970-261-1248, $425K
  • FORMER RETREAT CENTER/CONSERVATION PROPERTY FOR SALE
    57 acres in Skull Valley, AZ, 17 miles from Prescott, year-round creek, swimming holes, secluded canyon, hiking/meditation trails, oaks, pines, garden, greenhouse. House, office building,...
  • ARIZONA PUBLIC LANDS ORGANIZER
    Title: Public Lands Organizer About the Arizona Wildlife Federation (AWF) The AWF is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating, inspiring, and assisting individuals and organizations...
  • HISTORIC RANCH HOME W/ 20 ACRES
    Historic 1893 Ranch Headquarters. 4 Bdrm, 3.5 Ba, 4000 ft2. Remodeled 2002. Includes 2 studio apts, stables, arena, workshop, 5 RV hookups. Chirachua & Peloncillo...
  • VICE PRESIDENT OF RETAIL OPERATIONS
    The Vice President of Retail Operations will provide overall leadership and accountability for purchasing, product development, merchandising planning, visual merchandising, retail operational excellence, oversight and...
  • ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners seeks an experienced fundraiser with excellent communication and organizational skills.
  • PROGRAM MANAGER
    position in Phoenix with the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy.