The ‘H’ Word

ATV protest in Blanding Utah

ATV protest in Blanding Utah

Nobody likes a hypocrite; but not just any hypocrite, as we have all been one at one time or another and tend to recognize and forgive it as a common human fault. It’s the preachy hypocrites we don’t like. The ones who condemn others with righteous indignation, and then turn around and do the very things they have held others in judgment over, are the ones who garner a lot of attention and earn the ire and wrath of others. It is these people who set themselves apart from the rest.

Al Gore and Cliven Bundy are two of the more famous ones. Al Gore for promoting an environmentally sound agenda while living an energy consumptive and lavish lifestyle; Cliven Bundy for condemning federal management of public lands and for federal handouts while illegally feeding his cattle for free on federal lands – and now there is Phil Lyman.

Phil Lyman, if you do not know, is the County Commissioner in Blanding, Utah, who rode on the coattails of Cliven Bundy to get attention for his illegal ATV ride through Recapture Canyon in protest against the federal government for closing the canyon to OHV use. The federal government closed the trail to protect American Indian archeological sites. He held a press conference condemning Federal over-reach and control of public lands, stating that the Federal Government is trying to control everything and then rode his ATV, along with a train of others behind him, through the closed off canyon as an act of protest, and broke the law.

Now he and a few others are facing charges. When Lyman gave his speech in Blanding he said that he was willing to break the law and accept the consequences for doing so because he believed in what he was doing. Not everyone there was willing to ride illegally through the canyon, however, but did want to peacefully protest the canyon closure and stated as much. So while recognizing that some in attendance were not willing to go as far as he, Lyman let everyone know that he was willing because he believed his cause to be just and spear-headed the ride.

Phil Lyman

Phil Lyman

Now that charges have been brought against him, is he “accepting” the natural consequences of his actions? Well, not without trying to get his legal fees and federal defense paid for by the American taxpayers. You’ve got that right; this anti-federal government county commissioner wants a free federal defender to make his legal defense. The hypocrisy of this is off the charts and only mitigated a little bit by the fact that the judge isn’t allowing him to get away with it. You see, along with being a county commissioner, Lyman is also an accountant who makes more than enough money to cover his own legal defense.

But what really bothers me about this whole thing is not Phil Lyman’s weasely attempt to make everyone pay for his legal defense; it is that he has been charged within a reasonable time for his crimes while Cliven Bundy has not been charged or arrested after 20 years for his. How is anyone supposed to respect the rule of law when it is not applied equally?

Both men should be charged, given their day in court, and penalized for their crimes. Furthermore, anyone else who broke the law by riding illegally through Recapture Canyon or aiming riffles at law enforcement officers in Bunkerville should also be brought up on charges. Like say, Ryan Bundy who happened to be at both incidents.

It was Ryan Bundy who was a major instigator in the Bunkerville standoff and who was also the wild card at the Blanding protest who stated emphatically that he had come to open a road and threatened to go home if they didn’t go through with it. Has Ryan Bundy been charged along with Phil Lyman, for defiantly taking his entire family through Recapture Canyon on ATVs? Or is he perhaps a figure that is too politically hot to touch – kind of like his dad?

That looks a lot like a double standard, another thing no one likes. Whether it is the BLM, the Justice Department, the State of Utah, the police, or any other law enforcement entity, justice must be served equally and across the board. And in this case, it appears that it has not been.

I’m no fan of Phil Lyman or his ilk, but it irks me that he is has been charged when the likes of the Bundy’s have not – and for much worse offenses. Both Lyman and Bundy deserve to wear a big ‘H’ on their chest for condemning the federal government while taking from it and they both deserve to pay the consequences for breaking the law.

But even more, the American public deserves to see justice served, if for nothing else, than to have a little faith restored in the rule of law, the administration of justice, and in those who mete it out. Without that, there will be continued angst and unrest for the majority who do get charged and who do pay for their crimes.

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Posted on December 25, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Libel is still illegal in this country. It is one thing to misreport the facts, it is another to knowingly manufacture false information. You wrote, “So while recognizing that some in attendance were not willing to go as far as he, Lyman let everyone know that he was willing because he believed his cause to be just and spear-headed the ride.” This is the opposite of the what occurred and what the record shows. You also wrote, “this anti-federal government county commissioner wants a free federal defender to make his legal defense.”
    I have been a proponent of a strong centralized Federal Government. The BLM’s disregard for the law does not strengthen them. Their heavy handed military-style law enforcement does not strengthen them. Their documented sue-and-settle tactics to circumventing their own laws does not strengthen them. On the larger front, in closing Lake Powell in 2013 including the termination of concessionaire contracts hurts our local economy. Their growing disregard for local government may set well with you, in fact you may see it as a logical and needed evolution in government but, until current law removes the requirement for Federal Agencies to coordinate with local government, such disregard is illegal. I am a defender of the Federal Government. The principles of balance of power, limited and defined scope of power, and political accountability do not exist to weaken the federal government but to keep it strong. If you want to do an actual story about the threats to public land, you may want to look at the balance sheet of the federal government. This link to an AICPA video may be a good place to start. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciFAZw9rZbU

    Here is an official statement I sent to the media. Please examine the court record and revise your story.

    Official Statement: 12/24/14

    I have expressed my respect for the decisions of the Federal court. In October, when the court assigned me an attorney from the Federal Defenders Office, I questioned the Judge on my appointment and my qualification for a public defender. The judge explained that I would be required to pay for these services based on my financial ability. I have never attempted to get “free” legal counsel, or to game the system. For two months I have worked closely with my attorneys to come to an understanding of the issues surrounding my case, i.e. the county road, the right-of-way, the boundaries of the BLM closure, the history of the Trail in Recapture Canyon, and the event on May 10, 2014 which was a community effort designed to bring attention to the breakdown in process. Now the court, at the urging of the prosecuting attorney, has ordered a termination of that relationship. I was disappointed by the decision, not from a financial perspective but because it is a setback to my case and the cases of those who are co defendants.
    San Juan County Commissioner, Phil Lyman

    • Mr. Lyman,
      Thank you for writing and possibly clearing some things up. I don’t think this qualifies as libel. I was at the protest and not only listened to what you said, but recorded it. Are you saying that you did not spearhead this event? I think the record shows that you very much did, though possibly with others as well. As for not being anti-federal government, that is open to interpretation. I will take you at your word that you are not (not that it matters, many are), but it sure seemed that way at the protest and I don’t think I am alone in coming to that conclusion. It did seem to me that you were backing down a bit from an aggressive demonstration to a more mellow protest, but then Ryan Bundy ratcheted up the rhetoric and off everyone went. As I stated in this post, I am more bothered by the lack of justice being served across the board than anything else. I will gladly look at your link and if there needs to be a retraction, I will do so. Thanks again for posting your side of it, I appreciate it.

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