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[pct-l] Re: Zip stoves and civil disobedience

On the civil disobedience issue:  for those who favor this method of
confrontation, please understand the following:  all of the leaders who used
civil disobedience, from Thoreau to Gandhi to M.L. King understood that, to
be effective, you have to be willing to accept the punishment that the
government will mete out to you for breaking a duly passed law.  In the
movie "Gandhi", remember, Gandhi tells the judge that in order to be true to
the law, the judge must give him the maximum sentence in prison for his
willful and knowing violation of the law.  And that's what he got.  Judges
know about civil disobedience.  They hear that one all the time.  That's the
down side for civil disobedience.  Don't look to the stuff that went on in
this country 30 years ago as a guide.  That wasn't civil disobedience, that
was a bunch of post-adolescents trying to avoid going into the army (ask
yourself what happened to the so-called "anti-war movement" once they
started drawing the small-arms fire they said they wanted- I know, I was
there).  Another thing that MUST be considered before engaging in civil
disobedience is that the law you're going to violate was passed after much
deliberation and that a lot of people considered the best possible way to
deal with a situation before passing a law regulating it.  The passing of
agency regulations is the same, there are public hearings on issues before a
reg gets passed.   Those people were elected by the likes of you and me to
do just that, and the agency workers are their (and therefore your and mine)
authorized agents.  Your civil disobedience action is based upon your
personal moral views.  Consider the possibility that you haven't thought of
everything, or that your moral view may be off-base.  I also feel compelled
to ask, how does the question of whether or not a zip stove is an open fire
or not rise to the level of an issue callling for civil disobedience?  And
what if someone starts a forest fire using one of these stoves and engaging
in "civil disobedience"?   How much risk are we willing to run for the sake
of shaving a few ounces off our pack weight?  Is that the risk we have to
run for the sake of some "principle"?  It's fine to insist on your personal
freedom to use a zip stove, but I insist on my personal freedom to see that
the forest is kept as free as possible from the risk of man-made fire.
Fighting this matter out in the courts is the option if one can afford the
hundreds of thousands of dollars and a decade of time to carry the fight on
in the Federal courts (the govt. isn't just going to say "Oh sure, we hadn't
considered your feelings - we'll change our policy "- you're going to have
to fight for change), but the forest will be burned by some careless hiker
sooner or later.  By the way, Federal agency regulations ARE indeed the law.
And the courts enforce them as such.
Bill Speers

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