Friday, September 17, 1999 marked the one-year anniversary of the death of environmental activist David Gypsy Chain, who was killed by a redwood logger in California, while attempting to stop illegal logging. Neither the logger, nor the logging company (Maxxam/Pacific Lumber), were brought to justice.

A revisit to the circumstance surrounding the tragedy proves yet again that corporations, often in collusion with law enforcement agencies, not only lie, cheat, and steal (with minimal, if any, sanctions), but literally get away with murder in their pursuit of profits.

Although Maxxam/Pacific Lumber initially claimed that their loggers were unaware of the activists' presence, a video recording produced at the time revealed that to be a lie. Death threats and raging obscenities were directed by logger A.E. Ammons against the activists present (who were attempting to talk him out of logging), including David Chain. Ammons then felled a redwood which crushed David Chain to death.

The CA Dept. of Forestry, which had promised an investigation that day, belatedly arrived on the scene the day after, and finally issued two citations to Maxxam/Pacific Lumber for operating within a marbled murrelet (endangered seabird) buffer zone and before the official end of its nesting season. It has been pointed out that David Chain died doing the CA Dept. of Forestry's job.

Incredibly, the Humboldt County Sheriff's Dept. and D.A. proposed charging the other activists at the scene of the crime, David's friends and colleagues.

Other, usually uninvestigated, instances of violence perpetrated against non-violent Earth First! activists - often by loggers hired by the logging company - include: cutting tree-sit safety lines cut by Maxxam/Pacific Lumber climbers; cutting trees both with activists in them, as well as in the direction of tree-sitters; bringing out actual snipers and threatening to shoot people; driving a logging truck into a crowd; and assaulting people (results including broken nose and fingers). The tolerance of such violent tactics has contributed to the escalation which culminated in David Chain's death. It also shows the double standard upheld by authorities who often describe non-violent Earth First! activists as "eco-terrorists," while ignoring actual acts of violence committed by others, often corporate-hired loggers.

More info on the fight to defend Humbolt County Redwood forests:



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