'The hate in our country is reminiscent of Nazi Germany'

  • District Ranger Guy Pence after bomb exploded outside his office

    Jon Christensen

Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story, Nevada's ugly tug-of war.

"The hate in our country is reminiscent of Nazi Germany." - Guy Pence

Last March, a pipe bomb blew a hole in the wall of Forest Service District Ranger Guy Pence's office in Carson City. In August, dynamite blew up a van in the driveway of his home. Afterward, Pence never lost his cool:

"I'm mad, angry, disgusted, but no, I'm not surprised. Because numerous people have said that Forest Service employees and buildings could be damaged. Ordinances have been passed threatening that we'll be arrested. Counties in Nevada assert we don't have authority to manage the lands.

"The FBI asked me: 'Is there more disagreement than normal?' Normal has changed in my career. Like every Forest Service employee, I am keenly aware that there are groups who have attached themselves to certain ideals, military factions, and more militant groups, that have expressed ... for me it's kind of a hate thing. I don't like it.

"The hate in our country is reminiscent of Nazi Germany. I hate to say that. But there are people saying you are wrong and you're not entitled to your opinion. I have friends in the Forest Service who have called from Montana, Idaho, New Mexico, saying similar things are going on there. My brother works for the Forest Service in New Mexico. His office was painted with red swastikas.

"A lot of this is because people don't wish to change. And change is inevitable. Demographics are changing the users of natural resources. When people say, 'Take back the West,' I say, 'From whom?' It belongs to me as much as anyone. The West is mine, too. My grandfather came West in the 1880s. I was born and raised in Idaho. This is my 12th year in Nevada. I was District Ranger in Tonopah for four years. I've been in Carson since 1987. My wife is a teacher. I'm part of this community."

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