Moral Failing


Boyscout leaders face possible felony charges after destroying a 200 million year old rock formation in Goblin Valley State Park, Utah.

Possible felony charges?

My dad is an eagle scout. He taught me how to camp, and always expressed a great joy and respect in nature. He will be furious. This act displays an abiding moral failure, and exemplifies the destructive consequences of dominionist ideologies.

This ABC broadcast recounts the scout leaders ludicrous justification — protecting public safety — in their own words.

See also this Inhabitats article for more.

So, does this mean these folks are bad people? No. They acted badly with little regard for the example they set for their scouts, and even less for the natural world. Who of us, however, has not done something shameful that we later regret? I hope these men eventually drop the canard that they were protecting public safety, admit their bone-headed error, and ask forgiveness.

Should they serve time? No. This is not the sort of moral or legal failing that is best handled by incarceration. Better advised would be a lengthy sentence of community service at the park (perhaps as a naturalist interpreter for the public), as well as several years of required environmental history and ethics courses. Both might do more to help these men appreciate our natural heritage, as well as understand the reasons for and importance of respecting the natural world.

Indeed, this is an opportunity for restorative justice towards nature and personal redemption for the individuals involved.

Image. Don Paulson, Goblin Valley State Park, Utah.

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