Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instagram

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hippiepunkpirate
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Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instagram

Post by hippiepunkpirate » Oct 22 2014 6:56 pm

A young woman traveling the West has left paintings on rocks and rock art panels in numerous National Parks, and documented it all via Instagram. She is not yet in custody. Here's the article:

http://www.modernhiker.com/2014/10/21/i ... nal-parks/
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by chumley » Oct 24 2014 7:01 am

neilends wrote:A year in the clink
You think this girl will spend a year in jail for this?

I'd be impressed if she has to pay a fine that reaches four digits.
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by kingsnake » Oct 24 2014 7:29 am

Lawyer: "She's a good girl. Comes from a good family. Never been in trouble before. Parents have money. Not a minority." :A1:
Judge: :kf:
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by friendofThundergod » Oct 24 2014 7:34 am

@chumley
I tend to agree with you, America is just simply not the lock them up and throw away key society so many wish it was. Ultimately, as pissed as everyone is, its similar to the scout masters in Utah, a victimless crime, the punishment will be restitution (that everyone will feel is too small), probation, maybe even a parks ban...

However, mark my words she will emerge wealthier then most of us from this...selling story, interviews, maybe a movie, cashing in on those "15 minutes of fame" ect...In a month a media outlet will paint her as a troubled artist, from a troubled past, who merely wanted to express her love for nature, and was naive to the damage she was doing..and there will be a petition circulating the web to exonerate her...This of course will be aided by the fact that she has some redeeming qualities in the looks and appearance department ;)

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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Oct 24 2014 7:37 am

I am still waiting for the Wanted Poster with her picture so we can help locate her or at least prevent her from doing any more damage to our natural wonders.

As for punishment I believe she needs to spend a year in the Sups pulling out cat claw by hand! :scared:
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by chumley » Oct 24 2014 8:00 am

@SuperstitionGuy
As fotg allueded to, that won't work in this case. Even I would steal the poster to bring it home and pin it up. :)
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by hippiepunkpirate » Oct 24 2014 9:45 am

friendofThundergod wrote:I tend to agree with you, America is just simply not the lock them up and throw away key society so many wish it was.
I would argue that America is a "lock them up and throw away the key society". I know I'm cherry-picking a bit here, but our country has an exceedingly high incarceration rate per capita, and the main culprit is non-violent drug related offenses. Our country is slowly going the way of decriminalizing marijuana (and rightfully so), but in most places it is still much, much more likely to do hard time for simply possessing a bit of pot for personal use than it is for vandalizing our natural resources. In other debates on the subject of vandalism of public lands, I've heard extreme opinions favoring long-term sentences for vandals, which I do not necessarily support in most circumstances, but I do think that the typical punishment for such crimes is far less than it should be compared to others. I do wonder what kind of punishment would would result from someone making a series of paintings in D.C. on say the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial?
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by chumley » Oct 24 2014 10:01 am

hippiepunkpirate wrote: I do wonder what kind of punishment would would result from someone making a series of paintings in D.C. on say the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, and the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial?
That would be defended as political speech and is constitutionally protected. :roll:
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by autumnstars » Oct 24 2014 12:31 pm

It would really serve this type of situation better, in my opinion, to make the punishment fit the crime, such that this person has to do all paint removal herself and also pay the salary of an employee to watch her do it. Well, that will probably never happen, but it seems like more of an appropriate punishment...

There have been cases where NPS has successfully sued to force the person causing the damage to pay fully for the clean-up / remediation. Doesn't happen in most cases, but it can happen, and would likely amount to more than the flat fine in this situation.
neilends wrote:Sentences for environmental crimes on federal land are set by Congress for the most part, not by agencies.
Agreed. However, it is often up to the agency to press for charges.
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by SpiderLegs » Oct 24 2014 3:58 pm

chumley wrote:@SuperstitionGuy
As fotg allueded to, that won't work in this case. Even I would steal the poster to bring it home and pin it up. :)
Chumley has a thing for bad girls. Maybe she will need a pen pal if she ever makes it to the crossbar hotel.
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by neilends » Oct 24 2014 4:08 pm

Are there specific cases we're all talking about that I don't know about, where agencies chose not to press charges against park vandals? I'd be interested to know.

Due process can be tough to comply with sometimes, so there are often hurdles to prosecution that we can't do anything about, unless we want to replace the Constitution with tyranny.

Some quick googling brought up on Arizona case in which a homeless man started the Hardy forest fire in 2011, in northern Arizona. He served a year in prison. Seems pretty fair to me, but again, maybe I'm not aware of specific cases that are on everyone's mind.
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by kingsnake » Oct 24 2014 4:57 pm

@neilends I dunno. You steal $50 from a Circle K, you can get life. You steal millions in the form of a forest fire, you get the wet noodle wrist slap ...
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by chumley » Oct 24 2014 5:21 pm

Besides what many would consider to be under-prosecuting many offenders (Steven Shiflet, who admitted to starting the near-18,000-acre Sunflower Fire in the Tonto National Forest with an "incendiary shotgun shell," was sentenced to probation) ... here's a sort of high-profile non-prosecution:

Remember Rodeo-Chediski? Valinda Jo Elliott, who started the Chediski portion of the fire was not charged with arson by the US Attorney's office, much to the anger of residents and the WMAT.

I think in many cases they simply don't find the actual perp (Horseshoe 2 and Monument, for recent examples) and therefore can't prosecute.

In this case, at least they know who they're dealing with. But as with Valinda Jo Elliott, abject stupidity may save her from any real consequences.
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Oct 24 2014 6:22 pm

neilends wrote:homeless man started the Hardy forest fire in 2011, in northern Arizona. He served a year in prison.
End result of that crime was that he was homeless no more. :o
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by kingsnake » Oct 24 2014 6:32 pm

@SuperstitionGuy When I was a guard at the Yuma County jail, I actually booked homeless guys who committed crimes specifically so they could get a place sleep and a decent meal ... :|
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by SuperstitionGuy » Oct 24 2014 6:41 pm

kingsnake wrote:When I was a guard at the Yuma County jail, I actually booked homeless guys who committed crimes specifically so they could get a place sleep and a decent meal
Of course and the rest of the criminals had a tendency to run for office and become politicians so they could have two homes. One in their district and one near Washington DC. :scared:
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by neilends » Oct 24 2014 7:27 pm

chumley wrote:Besides what many would consider to be under-prosecuting many offenders (Steven Shiflet, who admitted to starting the near-18,000-acre Sunflower Fire in the Tonto National Forest with an "incendiary shotgun shell," was sentenced to probation) ... here's a sort of high-profile non-prosecution:

Remember Rodeo-Chediski? Valinda Jo Elliott, who started the Chediski portion of the fire was not charged with arson by the US Attorney's office, much to the anger of residents and the WMAT.

I think in many cases they simply don't find the actual perp (Horseshoe 2 and Monument, for recent examples) and therefore can't prosecute.

In this case, at least they know who they're dealing with. But as with Valinda Jo Elliott, abject stupidity may save her from any real consequences.
A federal prosecutor with plenty of homicide trials under his belt felt she was unconvictable. She set the fire to try and get a helicopter's attention after being lost in the woods for 2 days, and also tried to get the helicopter crew to attend to the fire as soon as they rescued her. There has to be some level of criminal intent proven in these cases. We may not like it but that's the law. How much time would you demand even if she was convicted?

Gregg, who also contributed to that fire, was sentenced to 10 years.
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by chumley » Oct 24 2014 10:12 pm

neilends wrote:Gregg, who also contributed to that fire
That's the understatement of the year.

Somebody who purposely sets two fires, pre-meditated, with the intent of causing a large part of the forest to burn just so he can get paid to help put it out? One could easily argue that would be so egregiously flagrant that it justifies more than 10 years.

As for Elliott, I don't doubt that a conviction might have been difficult. But stupidity is rarely a good legal excuse. If mine was one of the 200+ houses she destroyed because she was "lost" a mile from the highway and decided to build a fire during the worst drought in recent history, I might have been pissed that the prosecutor didn't at least try the case too.

But I'm not an attorney or any kind of legal expert at all, so I appreciate hearing other viewpoints.
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by rwstorm » Oct 24 2014 10:17 pm

@chumley
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by hippiepunkpirate » Oct 25 2014 10:47 am

One specific case I had in mind was the vandalism of a petroglyph panel along the Colorado in Glen Canyon by Trenton Ganey. This was an example where I thought that the punishment pretty well fit the situation. Ganey showed remorse for his actions and made a plea deal that brought a fine of $10,000 and no jail time. Being that the maximum sentence was a $275,000 fine and 12.5 years and prison, I think the punishment could've been slightly more harsh (a few months of jail time maybe?), but was pretty reasonable I in my opinion. I remember when the ruling came down reading a lot of outrage on social media about how light the punishment was. As is the case with most public controversies, the backlash was pretty extreme, with people voicing opinions that Ganey deserved punishment as harsh as life imprisonment, or that "he doesn't deserve to live". Upon reading done of those thoughts, I thought they were completely asinine. While Ganey certainly committed an ignorant crime, it was well documented that he was absolutely remorseful of his actions. He obviously came from a background where he was never taught the value and importance of not defacing culturally significant sites, and that his mistake was his first introduction to such concepts. Ganey represents a rather large portion of our society that lacks an understanding of why we preserve natural and cultural resources. We still have a long way to go in terms of increasing the reach of this understanding, and it is partially the fault of greater society that nobody bothered to instill values in Ganey that would have prevented his actions. Ganey should have been, and absolutely was, held accountable for his actions, and I think striking a much harsher punishment on him would've been making an unfair example out of Ganey. Part of the problem of these vandalism cases is overall public ignorance, and there are much better ways of public education than overly harsh punishments for remorseful individuals that committed a one time crime. The current case of Casey Nocket is however remarkably different from the Ganey case. Nocket is on a vandalism spree that is far away from being an innocent mistake. On one of her Instagram posts, Nocket is confronted by a commenter about the type of paint used, and Nocket responds by saying "I'm a bad person". She absolutely admits guilt and the understanding that her actions are wrong. When she is caught, we will see if she puts on a front of remorse, but I think the trail of social media suggests that she knew well and good what she was doing. Nocket far and away deserves a much harsher punishment than Ganey. I strongly disagree with autumnstars in the opinion that Nocket should be made to clean up the paint as a reasonable punishment. That's like a lifetime thief stealing a car and then simply being made to give back the car with no other considerations. Nocket is a blatant repeat offender that has committed the most extensive vandalism on our National Parks that I am aware of. It will be a travesty to our National legacy if she does not receive a prison sentence in excess of 10 years and fines in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, and that could even be a light punishment for her actions.

For reference, and article on Trenton Ganey: http://azdailysun.com/news/local/crime- ... 13d37.html
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Re: Traveler vandalizes National Parks, documents via Instag

Post by azbackpackr » Oct 25 2014 10:57 am

hippiepunkpirate wrote:For reference, and article on Trenton Ganey: http://azdailysun.com/news/local/crime- ... 13d37.html
Thanks, Jake, for very insightful comments. Unfortunately, the linked article was blacked out when I tried to read it.
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