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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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