Rites set for forest activist
Chain's relatives to travel from Texas to attend local memorials
Last week it was a Pacific Lumber road leading to a logging site near
Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park.
This week it's the "Gypsy Free State" -- an around the clock blockade
maintained by environmental activists.
Earth First activist David "Gypsy" Chain, 24, of Coldsprings, Texas,
died last Thursday after a tree fell on him. PL officials maintain the
death was accidental and that loggers didn't know anyone was in the area
when they cut the tree that fell on Chain. Earth Firsters say they were
in the area trying to engage the loggers in dialogue about their
activities and that the loggers were purposely falling trees in their
About 30 activists were at the blockade Wednesday morning. The entrance
to the road was blocked by logs, rocks, branches, bales of hay, and
couches. About five people were linked behind the barrier in sleeve
devices and one had a bicycle lock linking him to a barrier.
A little farther up the road at PL's metal gate, another blockade was
formed with an old car, logs, and rocks. Some activists spent the night
in sleeping bags between the car and the barrier.
Earth First spokeswoman Karen Pickett said Wednesday that as far as she
knew, there had been no arrests or logging activity Wednesday.
PL officials said Wednesday in a news release that here will be no
operations today at the logging site where Chain was killed. Chain's
funeral is today in Pasadena, Texas. Earth Firsters will hold a
demonstration beginning at noon today.
"This will be a sad day for everyone," PL President John Campbell said.
"It is my hope that after a day of careful reflection on Thursday, we
will all finally be ready to give up the past so that we can begin
working together for the future of the North Coast," Campbell said.
Members of Chain's family will come to Humboldt County next week for a
couple of memorial services. One will probably be on Monday at the site,
Earth Firsters said. Another is planned for Tuesday -- the evening
before Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish year.
An investigation by the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department continues,
and officials don't know if any charges will be filed. Redway attorney
Jay Moller said in a letter to District Attorney Terry Farmer, that at
the very least involuntary manslaughter charges should be filed against
the logger who cut the tree that killed Chain.
If a jury was to convict the logger of involuntary manslaughter, it
would have to believe beyond a reasonable doubt that a reasonable and
"ordinarily prudent, careful person" would not have fallen the tree
under the same circumstances, Moller said.
Moller also requested that the crime scene be preserved and an
independent investigator be assigned to the case. He hasn't spoken
directly to Chain's family, but thinks it's likely a civil suit will be
Farmer said he's not going to decide whether charges should be filed
until the investigation is complete.
"You want to look at all the facts before you draw any conclusions," he
said Wednesday. "Cases are not made on rumors on superstition."
Farmer said he's confident the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department can
conduct a thorough, impartial, and complete investigation. If other
agencies think they should come in and investigate, officials will
cooperate, he added.
Return to Home