Comments about ‘Rainbow Family gathering prompts concerns, action from police, LDS Church’

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Published: Monday, June 16 2014 10:55 p.m. MDT

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Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

Hey DN, if I were to say something as negative as the poster above did about hippies, you wouldn't allow the post.

I live in a very rural area where we have Amish, old hippies, young ones and all manner of red necks, retired suburbanites, entrepreneurs, etc. It's called diversity and I get more support/acceptance as a Mormon from my hippie brothers and sisters than I do from the far right church goers.

"Hippies" are like everyone else and are subject to all the frailties of human nature that others are...including the members of my faith.

While I understand the need for caution related to the visiting "tribe," that speaks more to the division of personal beliefs regarding same-gender marriage than it does about the politics of the people. I firmly support the leaders of my faith, but I'd much rather be among a gathering of "hippies" than a group like the ones who camped out at Clive Bundy's.

Kay Hunt
Celebration, FL

I went out to the internet to find out more about this group. It seems that they are a non-violent group that is left over from the time of Woodstock and etc. The group claims to discourage alcohol. Since 20K people doubles the amount of people that could be the reason for being cautious. Sending Girl's Camp home seems a bit extreme if nothing has happened. But maybe it was done in order something not to happen. The crime rate seems rather small for such a large group. They come together to pray for world peace. It also appears that they leave the camp grounds in good order more times than not and in their trip to Utah in 2003 it was stated that they left no trash behind. Of course as with all groups there are a few bad apples. I felt the news article was trying to stir up trouble. Lock up your wives and kids our of fear of things different.

Murray, UT

The Rainbow Family returns to our part of the world. Hold on to your hats people. This is a regular gathering of a very large number of people. In the past, places like the US Forest Service has had to spend a large amount of money and a few years to return the land to what it was before the Rainbow Family showed up. (Yes, they did have a permit and some stayed behind to clean up the grounds, but with the size of the group and the actions of some of the group, they always leave a mess behind.) Some OD on drugs, some vandalize and steal, some trespass on others land and damage it, some violent, some are lewd, but a lot are there to enjoy the outdoors. They have rights to gather, especially on federal lands, but they abuse the rights of others with their activities.

This is not new, this happens on a regular basis. Sometimes it goes off well, but most of the gatherings leave the locals with a bad taste of today's hippies.

Auckland NZ, 00

@RBB Locales that host US military bases around the world exhibit higher crime rates in the near vicinity than in towns further away, including assaults, public drunkenness, domestic violence and prostitution. I suspect those are also environments you wouldn't want your "daughter's" around. Are you sure you're not just responding to some prejudicial stereotypes that were planted in you at an earlier age, and have now been reinforced by this article?

Hurricane, UT

I am amazed at all the comments from people who did not witness the last gathering of the Rainbow Family in 2003.

While it is true that most of the 20,000 who landed in Wasatch County in 2003 were peaceful, does no one understand that Heber City is not built to accommodate 20,000 extra bodies? Imagine 20,000 campers all looking for somewhere to put up a tent in the surrounding BLM and private lands. This is primarily an unorganized gathering of people from Europe and North America. They simply overwhelm the area. While there were many issues in 2003, I recall the trashed areas that remained.

In most cases, organized groups get permits and plan accordingly--they are the ones who order the portable toilets, arrange activities, and make sure they leave the area as well as they found it. Unorganized groups like this one in 2003 did not.

Salt Lake City, UT

"18 arrests and hundreds of tickets and citations" out of 20,000 people gathered.

Some are saying that is not a big deal. O.K. At general conference one session has 20,000 people gather. How many arrests and tickets are issued at an average session?

JD Jones
Salt Lake City, UT

@Uncle Rico: 18 arrests and hundreds of tickets and citations among 20,000 people still a drop in the bucket. I bet there are more arrests, tickets and citations for sporting events involving 20,000 sport fans. Correct me if I'm wrong, but there is far more violence in sporting related events than hippy gatherings, yet this newspaper makes it sound like they are such a threat.

truth in all its forms
henderson, NV

I would have liked to see things from the rainbow family perspective. This article felt very one sided and didn't do a good job of explaining things from their perspective.

Sandy, UT


I have been to numerous events with thousands of people with no arrests and no tickets. I would bet most cities of 20,000 do not have 18 people arrested per week. Likewise, I bet they are not issuing hundreds of tickets.

Lindon, UT

Seems to me they closed the camp after learning about what happened at the Rainbow Family gathering last year. How much will the peace loving Rainbow Family cost Utah tax payers this time? Look up Montana's experience 2013. Five Reasons To Be Concerned ...

Glendale, AZ

Here's some math: For all of 2010, there were 117 incidents of crime in Heber City per 100,000. You take this group's last year's 18 arrests alone and that is 90 incidents per 100,000. In one week alone! That's a dramatic jump, not even including the citations and warnings this group received. The city officials and everyone nearby SHOULD be concerned.

There are those of you that the church can do no good. If the church did not take precautions, then you would be criticizing them for that. Besides, this is not the General Authorities but the local church leaders taking the precautions. Undoubtedly, they have been consulting with the local police.

Defending hippies are we? This is culture that brought us degraded morals concerning sex, the drug culture, and acceptance of Marxist/socialist/communist ideals cannot be defended. In any of the mentioned areas, it has only brought us something far, far from peace and in many cases, heightened violence and misery.

nottingham, 00

do these Rainbow people travel all over America, or do they just gather in Utah? Ive never heard of them before but wonder why they have targeted the area.

Henry Drummond
San Jose, CA

This is a counter-culture group that has been around for forty years. Its a peaceful gathering but its also very loosely structured. With 20,000 people flooding in, and little attempt at self-policing, incidents like those described in the article sometimes happen. I think the precautions being taken are prudent. There is also an ongoing discussion concerning whether these type of groups pour more money into the local economy than they cost in additional public services.

Clearfield, UT

I thought the hippie movement died out in the sixties.

Davis, UT

Ms Divine: Some things are common sense or do we need to have our hands held?

Therein rests a growing problem today, what we do and how we affect the lives of others is just not "my problem". So if the LDS Church did not move the girls and one incident occured then I suppose they would be raked over the coals by same, saying they should have reacted to the perceived threat.
ExDix: Maybe consider; to Wasatch County this doubling of their population and impact on their services is a problem and that 18 arrests and HUNDREDS of citations,(none of which are paid or addressed) is problem for the infrastructure? What part of the costs are YOU going to bear?

Salt Lake City, UT

the peace and harmony include but are not limited to nudity, drug use, assaults along their way. they are modern day hippies where they feel that normal relationships and the government are unhealthy.

Because of their behavoirs of the past this is why the church was quick to move the young women to either another campsite or send them hom

Santa Clara Pueblo, NM

having witnessed a rainbow gathering here in NM a few years ago, and attending a public meeting ,we were told that the group didnt secure the proper permits to gather on national forest land. I believe its the rainbow philosophy ,as I was told by a member,that their right to gather is protected by US law.This brings the question of are they gathering illegally? As a US taxpayer I know I would have to secure proper permits necessary to "gather". They have no set group of leaders, so there is no responsibilty if something happens.eg. drug arrests,littering,aggressive panhandling,public nudity,,the list goes on and on. From what I saw there were numerous laws being broken on public land. Im all for free speech, but we ALL must abide by the rules set forth by our USA goverment, and local and state laws.

Redmond, WA

For all of those who think it's silly to be worried about exposing your daughters to 20,000 people, where mind altering drugs are encouraged, there is alcolohol misuse, history of rapes and other violent acts. Everybody is invited, nobody is kept out. It is a very unsafe environment.

I read an article by one of their group that talks about what goes on there. Unfortunately, I tried to post the URL but my comment was rejected with it. However, if you do a search for the article using this string, the-rainbow-family-and-how-it-grew you'll find it.

It's common sense to stay out of dangerous situations. Don't tempt the devil.

Shaking my head
Layton, UT

These folks have caused PROBLEMS in Montana over the years. They are loiterers who do nothing productive but vandalize the local area.

Salt Lake City, UT

Hippie and innocent young girls at camp? You people see no potential problem except the LDS Church is protecting their youth while at the same time you jump on the Church when a youth is abused or hurt for NOT protecting their youth?

You critics of the LDS Church love to have it both ways, don't you.

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