"Lessons must be learned after death"
David Chain was a person.
Some people have already lost sight of that fact. Chain had parents who
loved him and friends who enjoyed his company. He was a young idealist
who wanted to make the world, in his mind, a better place to live.
Certainly nobody can fault him for that.
But some have faulted him for dying. He was trespassing on Pacific
Lumber Co, land with about eight other Earth First activists when a tree
fell on him and killed him. Yes, he shouldn't have been there, but Chain
didn't deserve to die, as some callous people who have grown weary of
protesters have said. We realize those heartless souls are in the
minority and [we] prefer to believe that despite where people stand on
the timber issue, everybody thinks like Joe Rogers, a 32-year PL
employee, who said: "We need people to pursue causes. But you don't want
to hear of anyone losing their life, even if it is for the wrong war or
the right war."
Rogers brought up another salient point: "No matter where you stand, the
loss of someone's life is tragic. But I'm also surprised it already
hasn't happened. The guys who work out there lose their lives from time
Logging is one of the most dangerous professions in the United States.
The limbs from a fallen tree that get hung up in another standing tree
are called widow makers for a reason. A 300-pound limb dropping 180 feet
with no warning is a recipe for disaster.
There are other hazards that loggers face as well - sharp equipment,
heavy logs and giant machinery. People who work in the woods - like
commercial fishermen and coal miners - face enormous risks and should be
thankful every evening when they make it home from work.
There's a lesson there for environmental activists. Loggers are trained,
skilled and have the benefit of the best equipment - yet loggers are
still injured or killed. A logging operation is no place for
Activists know this, yet trespass anyway and take the risk. They think
their battle is important enough. The Humboldt County Sheriff's
Department says it doesn't have enough staff to go track down
trespassers in the forest. So what we're stuck with is a problem with no
solution - unless Earth First puts an end to the predicament.
The activists in the area near Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park the day
of the accident were trying to persuade the loggers to quit cutting
trees. The method is called "cat and mouse," which Earth First spokesman
Josh Brown described as "engaging [the loggers] in dialogue and asking
them not to cut trees."
We can't see many loggers laying down their saws and refusing to cut the
trees. They have jobs to do. they have families to feed. Judging from
the video that Earth First said was taken at the site about 90 minutes
before the accident, all the "dialogue" managed to do was upset a logger
and cause him to spew a bunch of four-letter words.
If earth First must protest, there have to be better methods. There have
to be methods that won't get anybody else killed.
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