Gandhi, King and Phil Lyman

 

Has HCN stepped into the role of moderator of civil disobedience, declaring what qualifies and what does not? Despite the HCN spin, the Recapture Protest was exactly as it purported to be — a legal, peaceful protest against the collusion between the Bureau of Land Management and special interest groups (“The Sagebrush Sheriffs,HCN, 2/2/16).


I said at my sentencing that Recapture Canyon is not closed; portions of it are closed to off-road recreational use. Driving on an open road is not trespass, and disquietude with the BLM is not conspiracy.


When asked if I would do it again, I always have to wonder what “it” is.  Would I call the BLM the day after the town hall meeting to see if we could work out a path forward? Would I send dozens of emails and social media notices explaining the lay of the land in Recapture and where one could travel without fear of violating a law? Would I stay in constant communication with my sheriff to ensure that the event was safe and constructive? Would I invite the State BLM director and local BLM to attend the event and help to instruct and educate people? Yes, absolutely.


Did I expect a staged backlash from the BLM? Did I expect Monte Wells, a local reporter, to be charged out of pure spite? Did I expect a biased judge to preside over my trial and then recuse, after the fact? Of course, I hoped otherwise, but having watched the same thing happen repeatedly in my own community and throughout the West, I knew it was a possibility. I don’t pretend to be ignorant to the corruption that I see or to the obligation I have to respond.


I will do my 10 days in jail. I will deal with the rancorous ire of The Wilderness Society, the Great Old Broads, SUWA and company; I will watch the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition continue to spread their hatred and lies in an effort to persuade President Barack Obama to designate a national monument. But, I guess, like Tim DeChristopher, and Thoreau; Cliven, Ryan, Ammon, LaVoy, Rosa Parks, Chief Joseph, MLK, Gandhi, Tank Man, and all the others that I have been justly or unjustly associated with through this ordeal, I still expect dealings to be done honestly, in the light of day, and not in bureaucratic back offices.


Phil Lyman
Blanding, Utah

A previous version of this letter stated Lyman's location as Monticello, Utah.

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