To the editor:

Joe Bauman, March 18, writes about reports that some people in southern Utah may be watching strangers, taking down license plate numbers and carrying firearms in an effort to protect themselves and their property from extremists.Southern Utahns have experienced destruction of water sources, buildings and livestock. They have every reason to be suspicious. It is a shame that they are being driven to this, but what should a people do when they are being laid siege to by self-righteous, self-serving terrorists?

Bauman takes the opposite course. He talks about assault, not by the perpetrators of terrorism but rather by the peaceable, pastoral residents of southern Utah for having the audacity to consider defending themselves.

He writes, "Anyone who is intimidated by gun-toting vigilantes, or fears a conspiracy may have been hatched to thwart his legal rights, or simply is hesitant about exercising his freedom to visit the public land, should consult a lawyer. A suit charging violation of civil rights may be appropriate."

Bauman paints the victims as the villains. He provides aid and comfort to the terrorist. Where was his sense of moral outrage when Edward Abbey wrote, "No good American should ever go into the woods again without this book ("Ecodefense: Field Guild to Monkeywrenching") and, for example, a hammer and a few pounds of 60-penny nails to spike trees." The book Abbey referred to talks about thousands of terrorist acts that can be carried out in "defense of Mother Earth."

Bauman did not warn Abbey, nor does he warn Abbey's followers, about possible litigation for encouraging environmental terrorism. Even Wayne Owens has said he reveres Edward Abbey. Owens even said it would be "fitting to name a wilderness area after Abbey."

Once again, Bauman has taken to the path of perverse and distorted logic. It is beyond comprehension that the Deseret News continues to provide exposure to this kind of thinking as a regular feature article, when it and he, Bauman, are so out of touch with the people and values of Utahns.

Gary Dunow


Western Association of Land Users