Death of young Earth First! activist should be investigated, not
Backing down and cooling off isn't Earth First!'s style. But that's what
the environmental group needs to do as an inquiry continues into the
tragic death of 24-year-old David "Gypsy" Chain, the Texan who was
killed by a falling tree at a Pacific Lumber logging site in Humboldt
The activists should follow the lead of Chain's mother, who declined to
comment about the controversy over Humboldt County officials
investigating her son's death. "I only want to know the truth," said
Cindy Allsbrooks. "We will have to wait and see what happens."
Earth First! did no such thing, of course; although backing off initial
allegations that he logger had intentionally killed Chain., the group's
members have not even waited to see the results of the local
investigation before denouncing it.
And the group refuses to acknowledge the obvious: Earth First! itself
bear some responsibility for dispatching idealistic, wholly committed
young people into forests to play "cat and mouse" - Earth First! jargon
- with crews engaged in a dangerous profession.
Because the activists are convinced that Pacific Lumber is using illegal
logging practices - and because their belief in their cause is absolute
- it is probably naive to think that Earth First! will respond to calls
for a truce.
But Chain's death must be investigated, not used as a propaganda tool.
An independent probe ultimately amy be justified. But the next step is
for the local authorities to gather information, turn it over to
Humboldt County District Attorney Terry Farmer, who then will make his
Not until then can anyone know what, if any, additional steps should be
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