The two ringleaders of the 'redneck rampage' in the BWCAW wilderness last August were sentenced to three years in state prison by a district judge in Two Harbors yesterday. Only one of the six, the juvenile, has not been sentenced. The defendants, their attorneys, wives, mothers, and possibly even their barber all pleaded for leniency and probation. Judge Sandvik was not buying it for a minute.
Briefly, the six knuckleheads loaded up a couple of boats with beer, an assault rifle, a .45 cal Glock handgun, fireworks, disguises, and themselves. They then headed out to "defend the territory" from peaceful canoeists with the guns, fireworks, and threats of rape, sodomy, and murder.
I did a post on the 'pool player' mentality a while back and talked about the need to look ahead, plan your next move, and weigh the consequences and risks of your actions. These characters never even had the synapses in their brains come close to firing with any common sense or thoughts of consequences. Lets see.......gunfire in an area with no guns that time of year; motors roaring where they are banned, every 6 year old has a cell phone, shooting fireworks to help pinpoint your position, vehicles parked at the boat landing....."do ya think we have a chance of gettin' caught??". Its a good thing that stupidity isn't a crime with a mandatory sentence or these A-holes might never see the light of day again. And then they want leniency? With that type of premeditation they are lucky they only got the mandatory minimum sentence. The Duluth News Tribune had an excellent article on the sentencing and the mug shots of our two heroes came from there, via the sheriffs office.
The sad thing is the thought that this will forever taint the victims perception of the Boundary Waters. At lease 48 people were directly threatened and over 80 campers were on the lake at the time of the incident. Also, according to the Superintendent of the national forest which includes the park, people still ask if its safe to enter the wilderness at Basswood Lake and more and more campers are armed. He stated that, "the popular wilderness has been changed forever".
We can only hope that the the publicity generated by this incident and the fact that the perps didn't get off with a slap on the wrist will prevent it from happening again. We can only hope that the attitudes that fostered this insane rampage will change also. Finally, I hope that the boys give what they did some serious thought; they will have three years to do it in beautiful Oak Park Heights.