Rainbow Family Gathering putting big strain on jail, courts in Wasatch County


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  • Objectified Richfield, UT
    July 7, 2014 2:06 p.m.

    Its amusing, in a sad sort of way, to read the rationalizations of the supporters of this Rainbow group and the excuses made for their breaking local laws. Such support is usually done by those who have identified themselves as liberals in comments to previous articles. As such, support for this Rainbow group was to be expected from them... regardless of whatever they did. Some people just like to take contrary, anti-establishment stances.

    It's somewhat ironic to read the supportive comments toward the Rainbow group from people outside the state who have little, if any, knowledge of or interest in the area being used (and often abused) by this group. Your attitude would probably be a lot different in your own backyard.

    @ Bill McGee:

    Not a single comment to this article claims this group doesn't have a Constitutional right to assemble. So why take such a high-horse stance and make such unsubstantiated accusations?

    People also have the right to comment and voice their opinions regarding the actions of others... especially when laws are being broken. So why are you and a few others taking a subversive attitude towards those who do?

  • Sinew South Centennial, CO
    July 3, 2014 3:05 p.m.

    Where do you people learn math? And why the labeling or correlation about political leaning. Somebody please inform me what swallow, shurtlef, or lee said about this issue. The article did not address what rights RF have or don't have. The focus is the drain on the jail and the sheriff's department. 40 out of 5900 is actually 0.7% which although it is similar to the national incarceration average, the average for Utah as a whole (and noted in a previous post) is less than 0.25% so the point is that this group has an incarceration rate more than double, probably more like triple, the average for the state.

    For a group that promotes peace and love, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot of either being perpetuated. I don't hate them, nor care if they want to congregate. It doesn't sound like a group with whom I would want to affiliate. I only request that the be respectful and make their mothers proud.

  • Henry Drummond San Jose, CA
    July 3, 2014 10:11 a.m.

    I hate to say it, but it seems like this happens every year. I understand that the vast majority are peaceful law-abiding citizens, but you don't drop 20,000 people into a small community and not have some very dangerous characters tag along for the ride. That's the problem with counter-cultures types, they see any kind of structure as the enemy.

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    July 3, 2014 9:48 a.m.

    Dan Taylor: "I just found this on Wilkipedia [sic]."

    Dan that big warning with orange exclamation point at the top of the Wikipedia page: "This article appears to be written like an advertisement," could mean you need to look at some other sources for reliable information.

    Perhaps you could start with the residents of Heber City. For example, how would the attitude of the Forest Service or law enforcement explain why these people have gone into stores and urinated on the merchandise in hopes that they can dumpster dive after has been thrown away? Are you kidding me??? This cannot have really happened!!! If the source for this was not the merchant, I would not have believed it.

    Yes, "some attitudes need to change somewhere."

    Footnote: Destruction of merchandise might not bring "a big economic boom to the area." I could be wrong, but I just don't see how it helps the local economy.

    Just sayin'.

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    July 3, 2014 9:36 a.m.

    I wonder if the police investigated the residents of Wasatch County with the same vigilance they're watching the Rainbow Family if the jails would be much fuller on a regular basis.

  • brotherJonathan SLC, UT
    July 3, 2014 9:20 a.m.

    If a mess is being left..That is when law enforcement should start writing tickets.
    Otherwise if it is a no fee area..That is what it is...
    Freedom of choice is demanded/protected by law, by its citizens in a true democracy.
    We are not a true democracy at this time.
    Citizen equality under all laws is broken and we don't try to fix it either.
    Corporate bribery and Slavery-based drug laws violate every citizen's rights.
    And you bunch of instinct driven sheep:
    Don't have any complaints over our worst problem.
    Violated Equality is our country's current unfixed disgrace to human rights and we are blinded to prevent actions that would correct our pitiful state of affairs...
    We will destroy ourselves if we don't protect citizen rights as being equal to one another.
    Satan blocks corrections to our status quo operations.
    Truth from a servant of our Lord.

  • dmcvey Los Angeles, CA
    July 3, 2014 9:14 a.m.

    What I get from all these stories is that the Deseret News really doesn't like the Rainbow Family.

  • Lolly Lehi, UT
    July 3, 2014 8:21 a.m.

    I have been with the scouts and other youth groups and have not experienced murder or any type of violation of the law. The land has been respected. If a mistake were made, the organization paid.

    This is like back to the '60's and the immature youth movement. All the criticism of these comments and others will make no difference since they will not be read by those who are in the camp and who either don't care or can't read.

  • Bill McGee Alpine, UT
    July 3, 2014 8:00 a.m.

    Last I checked, these folks are Americans, with the right to assemble, the right to use public lands, and the right to freely associate. Taxing local resources is IRRELEVANT to those rights. That's the way it works - even if you don't like their politics or their lifestyles, and regardless of what percentage of them break the law. Because the rest of them are innocent until proven otherwise. Period.

    Many here will crow about their rights in other forums - like when someone suggests we regulate guns - but they are sure willing to curtail others' constitutional rights when they don't like the way someone looks or behaves. There is a word for that.

  • Dan Taylor Keyser, WV
    July 3, 2014 7:49 a.m.

    I just found this on Wilkipedia. It is interesting to consider why there are so many problems with this group in Utah.

    At the California National Gathering in 2004, in Modoc County, after public health officials reported speaking with their counterparts in Utah, opted to take preventive measures apart from law enforcement, which the Utah individuals found to be the source of many of the problems encountered at their event. The Public Health Department reported that the Forest Service officers were observed being confrontational and antagonistic towards the Rainbows at the Gathering site, which "did not facilitate a cooperative response from the Rainbows," the report states. "The explanation that was given is that this was an illegal gathering because no permit had been signed. However, even after the permit had been signed, this attitude was unchanged."[8]

    Everything else the article said was favorable towards the group and their cleanup efforts being graded an "A".

    Maybe some attitudes need to change somewhere.

  • mjkkjk Nowhere, 00
    July 3, 2014 7:47 a.m.

    These comments are a perfect example of why I hate politics. Party labels have become strongest of all stereotypes. Each side uses the labels with disgust for the other side.

    In these few comments, we've seen "far right wing", "conservative", and "tea party" referred to those who oppose this group. Just out of curiosity, did the people who opposed this group in the comments of the last article self-identify as these labels?

    Well, I'm none of those. And I think there's no reason this group needs to gather in this kind of size on a town that obviously can't handle it. I think they like the idea of holding this in a place where it will be particularly difficult for their people to be regulated. How about working with a town that can handle them instead of holding in spite of some small town? That would completely change everyone's perceptions of this group.

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    July 3, 2014 7:45 a.m.

    Either we sustain the laws and obey them or we don't. If we DO, we'll have a stable society. If we DO NOT our society will become unstable. When a group, that is known to break the laws, gathers, we have a responsibility to require the police to do their job to arrest any law breaker. There should be adequate policemen to patrol those campsites, day and night. Those who break the law should be arrested and removed from the area.

    If we had people in our own neighborhoods who broke the law, you can bet that people would call the police.

    If citizens will not support the enforcement of law, those citizens have abdicated their responsibility. It is the people who are in charge of government. Government serves the people. Laws reflect the desires of the people. Government is duty-bound to enforce laws.

  • JoeCapitalist2 Orem, UT
    July 3, 2014 7:44 a.m.

    Just imagine if the Rainbow Family were supporters of the Tea Party and carried around conservative signs. The mass media would flood the area and cover every incident of misbehavior (the media might outnumber the RF crowd). Arrests would be pasted on the front page of the NYT. Obama would find ways to sic the IRS on them.

  • Dan Taylor Keyser, WV
    July 3, 2014 7:35 a.m.

    I feel this article is poorly written because it doesn't explain at all what this group is or stands for or why they are even organizing together. Please tell the whole story and don't assume people from outside Utah know about groups that go on in your state. Give us a little background please. Maybe the people in Heber need to take a lesson from West Virginians. Back in the early 70's when the Hell's Angels came into town making trouble, they got run out of town and have never returned!

  • Uncle_Fester Niskayuna, NY
    July 3, 2014 6:14 a.m.

    Well FT people tend not to like people who commit crimes at rates 300% higher than the norm and cost taxpayers money for no valid reason. Church groups and boy scouts tend to leave the premises better than they found them and don't require inordinate police presence or the swelling of inmate populations. When being "different" amounts to lawlessness and being uncivilized people have a right to object.

  • TimBehrend Auckland NZ, 00
    July 3, 2014 6:13 a.m.

    I've said before, freedom of movement in this country is something that citizens should have to pay for, especially if they belong to a different class or subgroup than me. There are no values but economic ones that really matter. Don't even mention diversity, because we're number one.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    July 3, 2014 5:41 a.m.

    A judge places offenders on probation, a fine, and orders them not to use drugs or associate with drug users. Really. What are the chances of that happening. These offenders are all out of state. Does anyone in their right mind believe they have any intentions of complying with these conditions. I would be shocked if they collect one dollar in fines. There is no way these conditions will ever be enforced. Is there anyway we can prevent this travesty from happening again. Who authorized a permit for a group this large to use public lands. What a travesty.

  • Harrison Bergeron Holladay , UT
    July 3, 2014 2:15 a.m.

    "They hold themselves out that this event is going to bring a big economic boom to the area," he said. "We haven't seen that, at least not yet."

    The crickets said the same thing to the pioneers.

    If only we had some giant seagulls...

    Economic boom??? Honestly. Did anyone really believe that?

    And why do these people choose Heber City, Utah? They can go get baked legally in Colorado!

  • Interloper Portland, OR
    July 3, 2014 12:26 a.m.

    Obviously, Rainbow Family visitors are getting more scrutiny from law enforcement than 'normal' Utahans. That in itself may explain a higher, but still low arrest rate for them. Assuming the Rainbow community eats, bathes and uses the bathroom, they will spend several times the $10 per person county authorities say they are costing law enforcement. The spending will be on necessities, not souvenirs.

  • gittalopctbi Glendale, AZ
    July 3, 2014 12:24 a.m.

    @intervention Conservatives, liberals, libertarians, communists, et al have nothing to do with obeying or breaking the law nor this group of people, so I fail to understand why you are injecting politics, or more accurately, labels into this at all. It is totally irrelevant and illogical.

    @FT Of course they have "as much right" to these lands, as long as they are obeying the law. Yes, and I will admit that I do not like at all (I do not "hate" them as you say) criminals, because as you say, they are not like me nor most of the people I know. As far as the law abiding members of this group, I have no problem with. However, this group is leader-less, which makes that a big problem as far as behavior. I cannot believe that you or anyone would also honestly love to have a problematic group such as them--one with a proven track record--move into your neighborhood.

  • SAS Sandy, UT
    July 3, 2014 12:06 a.m.

    Seems like just last week, we were hearing from the tea party crowd that federal officials had no power to enforce the laws, and that all authority lay with county sheriffs.

    Now, it's forest service rangers working overtime to assist the county deputies, and the tea party folks seem awfully quiet....

  • Thriller Saint George, UT
    July 3, 2014 12:02 a.m.

    There is a difference between something you CAN do and something you SHOULD do.

    Rainbow Family CAN gather at these gatherings, I don't want to take that ability away from them, but that doesn't mean they SHOULD.

    I CAN stand on my porch and make fun of handicapped kids that go by. But that doesn't mean I SHOULD.

    Not everything needs to be legislated. At some point we need to take responsibility of our lives and look at ourselves to see what kind of impact we are having on those around us. Am I building up the community? Or am I tearing it down?

    So, my criticism of the Rainbow Family is not to say they CANNOT gather, but that they SHOULD NOT gather because wherever they go, there is chaos. They need to stop being so selfish.

  • slcftball Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2014 11:48 p.m.

    The only difference FT is that the only groups don't waste tax payer money, get locked up, vandalize cabins, get numerous traffic citations, make the state employee/ move more police to the area, clean up after themselves, don't run around naked etc.

    C'mon FT. This is a drain.

  • Kronk Blackfoot, ID
    July 2, 2014 11:27 p.m.

    Yes, as FT says, they have as much right to our public lands as all those Boy Scouts, church groups, and weekend warriors do. They also have the responsibility to obey the laws, pay the fees, and get the proper permits, just like all those Boy Scouts, church groups, and weekend warriors do.

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    July 2, 2014 10:47 p.m.

    I do believe these are Americans and have as much right to our public lands as all those boy scout, church groups and weekend warriors do. Seems so many posters here just love to hate on anybody who's not like them.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    July 2, 2014 10:22 p.m.

    Those should be Swallow and court, sorry

  • intervention slc, UT
    July 2, 2014 9:45 p.m.

    given conservatives recent record in Utah with shertliff and sallow looking at serious federal charges, Ken Ivory just paying a massive out of curt settlement with the EPA and Mike Lee now facing investigation for illegal campaign contributions you would think conservatives would be a little more shy about throwing stones at other glass houses.

  • slcftball Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2014 9:22 p.m.

    hey lets say we all went to a BYU football game. 66,000 the stadium holds.

    Its OK. The police have to haul off to jail 447 people on a Saturday afternoon, not counting ten times the count in warnings. So not 5 rowdy guys but 447.

    Time to pack up Rainbows

  • Bored to the point of THIS! Ogden, UT
    July 2, 2014 8:04 p.m.

    I hope people will continue to rationalize how great of a deal this gathering is...

    I need a good laugh!

    My best thoughts and wishes go out to the 'regular people' in that area! I can honestly say... I'm not jealous of you!

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    July 2, 2014 6:54 p.m.

    "40 represent point six percent, less then one percent of the 5900 people the article sates are currently on attendannce, significant?"

    It is when we consider it's been what... a week? That's a 2000 arrest per year pace (obviously it wouldn't be 2000 out of 5900 since there'd be repeats).

  • gittalopctbi Glendale, AZ
    July 2, 2014 6:34 p.m.

    I just love those who like to quote math out of context. Here's some more math: compared to the population of Wasatch County (approx. 26,437 in 2013 est.), the other 60 occupying jail represents .2% of the population. So this group has an incarceration rate THREE TIMES the general populace. And this group is about "love" and "peace?" They have a different definition. And it sounds like more would be in jail if they had room.

    And that's just those they've jailed. The sheriff's department is obviously maxed out responding to other complaints and incidents that are taxing his department.

    I really do not understand those who want to defend this group.

  • intervention slc, UT
    July 2, 2014 6:11 p.m.

    that may well have been the pint of the article but clearly was not the point Nan was making and tolstoy responded too. A do not think a user fee is unreasonable, however the question is would anyone else using that same space be charged a fee? the point being these people should not be unfairly targeted or demonized.

  • Thriller Saint George, UT
    July 2, 2014 6:02 p.m.

    40 have been caught. Just because they aren't in jail doesn't mean they are "conducting themselves well."

  • panamadesnews Lindon, UT
    July 2, 2014 5:57 p.m.

    To Tolstoy:

    Yeah, but that is 40 more than would have been in jail had the RF not come to the area. Knowing the history, the county should have set up some stringent rules, advising the group they would be aggressive in making sure they were followed, and if not, the group would be escorted out of the county, with the assistance of the UHP or even the UNG, if necessary. Perhaps they would have found a different place to go. I think jurisdictions need to be wary of these types of groups. It appears they may be moving from place to place throughout the year. Maybe they are the modern Gypsies of the US/Canada! Just sayin'.

  • VariedHue Logan, UT
    July 2, 2014 5:42 p.m.

    you say .6 percent and others say 40% as in the Rainbows are taking 40% of the jail space. The point of the article was that resources are being strained beyond normal which is true. Without the rainbows the jail would have plenty of space. Also, when I go camping with family I have to pay a fee for the camping spot. It each of the attendees would pay say $15 or $20 each then the problem might be minimized.

  • Tolstoy salt lake, UT
    July 2, 2014 5:11 p.m.

    @nan nw
    40 represent point six percent, less then one percent of the 5900 people the article sates are currently on attendannce, significant?

  • FT salt lake city, UT
    July 2, 2014 4:59 p.m.

    So 40 out of the current 5900 visitors are currently in jail. That means over 99.8% of the visitors are apparently conducting themselves well. Not hardly the threat portrayed by the press and right wing extremists.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    July 2, 2014 4:29 p.m.

    And weren't people posting comments about residents being paranoid and judgmental after a previous article expressing concern about the impact that these Rainbow gatherings have on the area. Forty in jail seems significant to me.

  • CBPapa Cedar Hills, UT
    July 2, 2014 3:26 p.m.

    It's okay..because I'm sure the Rainbow Family will bolster the local economy with all of the retail and restaurant purchases they'll be making... (ahem..cough...cough)