Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Redneck rampage update
The Duluth News Tribune reported this morning that two of the men involved in last summers harassment and terroristic threats of campers in the BWCAW have plead guilty to reduced charges and agreed to testify against the other 3 knuckleheads involved in the incident. You can read about the incident in its entirety in a post from last August. The interesting thing will be to see what kind of plea agreement and sentence the 'ringleader', one Barney Lakner, will get on 22 January during his court appearance. I think that will give us a pretty clear picture of how northern Minnesota views this incident. This guy basically led a bunch of teen agers on this terror spree involving beer, liquor, illegal fireworks, and a bunch of guns including an AK-47, a .45 auto, and a .22 rifle. He's charged with 13 felonies, a bunch of misdemeanors, and has been convicted of alcohol related offenses and operating a snowmobile illegally in the BWCAW in the past.
There has been and always will be a certain level of resentment when the Federal government decides to appropriate land, using eminent domain or whatever means, and then limits or alters the usage of said land for the local populace. I can personally tick off dozens of stupid and aggravating adminstrative rules that I've personally encountered in the Apostle Islands NLS, Voyageurs NP, the BWCAW, and the St.Croix Wild & Scenic Riverway. These rules normally are designed to protect the stupidest and most irresponsible users of the facility from themselves and others. The feds are normally unresponsive about making these rules common sense friendly and some poor ranger is stuck enforcing them, which tends to aggravate people even more. The locals who grew up in these areas are usually the most affected and look at the outsiders (also known as 'customers') that flock to these areas as a major component of the problem. We were all laughing this weekend as we skied past some of the VOR's dads deer stands along the ski trail. Someone suggested that they be labeled 'vertical warming huts' to avoid offending any of the anti hunting south Minneapolis yuppies (no offense to the BessemerConvivialist and Irish Pirate) who may ski past them. We all have different values and sensibilities which are developed as we grow up and experience life. Sometimes they clash, but when they do the issues need to be looked at and discussed with some level of common sense and spirit of compromise.
I think ol' Barney might be going away for a long time. Heck, the Feds (or the Canadians) haven't even charged him with anything yet and have probable cause to hang several more felony charges on him. What those morons did was unexcusable. But the attitudes that fermented to inspire this attack, that underlying "we been screwed" on the part of the local rednecks and the holier-than-thou attitude of the urban 'environmentalists', need to be addressed, discussed, and modified. Or you can be sure that stuff like this will continue to occur, perhaps with worse results than even this incident.