Tuesday, October 7, 2008
I have spoken to one person who saw it at Kid Village right after the incident was over, but he does not know whose video it was or what became of it.
I have heard second hand that someone else saw it and it showed the woman being pepper sprayed.
If we don't turn up this video and/or witnesses of this portion of the event, a single mom could be sent to jail. PLEASE pass this info on to everyone you can think of. If you have info, you can send it directly to the usual Rainbow legal suspects or you can send what you have to me and I will forward it on.
Let's not allow our family to go to jail. United we stand ....
Monday, October 6, 2008
As a result of a number of press articles regarding conflicts at the 2008 Rainbow Family Gathering in Wyoming the Wyoming Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union requested complaints, narratives or reports regarding individuals experiences at The Gathering. We were particularly interested in a conflict that occurred in “kiddy village”. Kiddy village is an area set-aside for those participants that have children and is particularly directed to children’s experience.
There are no official Rainbow Family representatives, documents or incorporations. It is my understanding they have been gathering since the 1970’s and generally believe in non-violence and alternative lifestyles. They gather once a year in national forests to pray for the planet and for peace.
One of the United States Forest Service’s (USFS) press releases regarding the 2008 Rainbow Family Gathering stated that “about 400” Rainbow Family members surrounded a squad of officers trying to leave the “kiddy village” area after an arrest. The press release also stated that Rainbow Family members threw sticks and rocks at federal officers. Both the USFS and the Rainbow family agree the incident started when officers arrested a family member for an alleged drug offense.
The accounts of the experiences of individuals at this years gathering came from a number of sources: many of the reporters were long time Rainbow Family members and participants, some were casual or first time attendees and others Wyoming residents that just wanted to see “what was going on.” Among our reporters were doctors, lawyers, National Guard members, a nurse, and a retired carpenter from Lander. One of the telling items in all of the reporting was how similar the experiences were. The similarities maintained=0 Adespite the date, time, number of people reporting, age, or place of occurrence. These similarities in experiences and allegations provided an added element of validity to the reporting.
The USFS has stated that they are simply at the gatherings to “handle the perimeter” and to deal with “specific problems”. The reality of their presence seems very different however.
*****Report continues - to read the rest and see the email headers, click here***************
Sunday, October 5, 2008
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A report by the Wyoming chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union contends that the federal Forest Service has engaged in systematic harassment of people who attend Rainbow Family gatherings on public lands.
The A.C.L.U. opened an investigation this summer after a clash on July 3 between members of the Rainbow Family, an informal group of professed hippies and peace activists, and Forest Service law enforcement officers.
About 7,000 members of the group attended its annual gathering this summer, held in the Bridger-Teton National Forest near Big Sandy in western Wyoming.
Forest Service law enforcement officers fired pepper balls — like paint balls but containing a pepper substance — at Rainbow Family members during the incident.
Scores of witnesses told the A.C.L.U. that the officers had lacked justification. The A.C.L.U. did not talk to Forest Service officials for its report. The report also said that officers had taken the smallest violation as an excuse to search participants’ cars and campsites for drugs.
“This type of harassment and general overzealous enforcement appear to have been the pattern in the U.S.F.S. relationship with the Rainbow Family,” the report said. It reported that the Forest Service had set up roadblocks and safety checkpoints and had “searched and ticketed people on the narrowest of pretexts.”
Linda Burt, executive director of the A.C.L.U. in Wyoming, said her office had interviewed about 60 Rainbow Family members who attended this year’s gathering and reviewed court records of charges against members.
In response to the report, the Forest Service said officers had fired only after a crowd threw sticks and rocks at officers and otherwise interfered in the arrest of a man on drug charges.
John Twiss, the national head of law enforcement for the Forest Service, said Friday that he strongly disagreed with the report.
Mr. Twiss was among the officers who responded to the disturbance at this year’s gathering. He described as “nonsense” the notion that Forest Service officers searched people or vehicles for drugs without probable cause.
The agency wrote only 18 citations for traffic and vehicle violations, but wrote 139 citations and arrested eight people for drug offenses, he said.
The Forest Service is discussing whether to allow future Rainbow Family gatherings on Forest Service lands, he said.
“Their behavior is unacceptable, and it’s a tremendous financial burden on the taxpayers to keep the gathering safe,” Mr. Twiss said.
He estimated that it cost the Forest Service $1 million to patrol the gathering in Wyoming this year. He said the group had not paid any of the costs.
During the pepper ball incident, only one of the people the A.C.L.U. spoke with reported that they had possibly seen one person throw a stick at law enforcement. The rest said they had seen nothing thrown, Ms. Burt said.
In an interview on Thursday, Ms. Burt said the A.C.L.U. was not planning to pursue legal action, but she said she hoped Congress would look hard at the issue. The organization sent its report to members of Wyoming’s Congressional delegation.
“Certainly people do have that right to peaceable assembly under the Constitution,” Ms. Burt said. “It doesn’t state anything in the Constitution that only the ‘right kind’ of people can have peaceable assembly, or only the people who dress like we like to dress can have peaceable assembly.”
Garrick Beck, 58, of Santa Fe, N.M., was a participant at the Wyoming gathering. In a telephone interview Friday, Mr. Beck said he had been attending gatherings since 1972 and had seen increasing harassment from Forest Service law enforcement in recent years.
“I would say that the conclusion that there has been a consistent pattern of harassment is absolutely correct, and some of these consistent patterns have been extremely provocative,” Mr. Beck said.
He said confrontations would escalate more were it not for the peaceful nature of the Rainbow participants.
By BEN NEARY – 1 day ago
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service systematically harasses people who attend Rainbow Family gatherings on public lands, the Wyoming chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union contends in a report.
The ACLU began investigating this summer after a clash between members of the Rainbow Family — an informal group of self-styled hippies and peace activists — and Forest Service law enforcement officers.
About 7,000 members of the group attended its annual gathering this summer, which was held in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming, about 260 miles northwest of Cheyenne.
Forest Service officers fired pepper balls — similar to paintballs but containing a pepper substance — at Rainbow Family members on July 3.
Scores of witnesses told the ACLU that the officers lacked justification, but the Forest Service said officers fired only after a crowd threw sticks and rocks at them and otherwise interfered in the arrest of a man on drug charges.
The report also said officers used small violations as excuses to search participants' cars and campsites for drugs throughout the gathering.
"This type of harassment and general overzealous enforcement appear to have been the pattern in the USFS relationship with the Rainbow Family," the ACLU report said. "The USFS has set up roadblocks, safety checkpoints, rolling gauntlets, and have searched and ticketed people on the narrowest of pretexts."
John Twiss, national head of law enforcement for the Forest Service, said Friday that he strongly disagreed with the ACLU's report.
"There's a lot of drugs at the gathering, a tremendous amount of drugs," Twiss said. "Which often leads to overdoses, violence and a tremendous amount of problems."
The agency wrote only 18 citations for traffic and vehicle violations but wrote 139 citations and arrested eight people for drug offenses, he said.
Linda Burt, executive director of the ACLU in Wyoming, said her office interviewed about 60 Rainbow Family members who attended this year's gathering and reviewed court records of charges against members. The ACLU did not talk to Forest Service officials.
During the pepper balling, only one person the ACLU spoke with reported that someone might have thrown a stick at law enforcement. The rest said they saw nothing thrown, Burt said.
In an interview Thursday, Burt said that the ACLU is not planning to sue, but that she hopes Congress looks hard at the issue. The ACLU sent its report to members of Wyoming's congressional delegation.
"Certainly people do have that right to peaceable assembly under the Constitution," Burt said. "It doesn't state anything in the Constitution that only the 'right kind' of people can have peaceable assembly, or only the people who dress like we like to dress can have peaceable assembly."
Twiss was among the officers who responded to the disturbance at this year's Rainbow Family gathering. He described the notion that Forest Service officers searched people or vehicles for drugs without probable cause as "nonsense."
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Since this blog on the Wyoming gathering turned out to be a useful tool, I've created a sister blog called the New Mexico Gathering blog. So once you're ready to turn your sights to next year, stop on by.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Thanks to all who helped out. Cleanup crew rocks!
Monday, July 21, 2008
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Please pass this info on to all your lists and especially to people near the gathering. Salt Lake City/Denver Crews - a big shout out to you to pitch in. Bring fruit and chocolate to share with those who are exhausted.
******BEGIN FORWARDED MESSAGE*******************
I just got a call from the clean-up crew at the gathering site and they asked me to post this message to a.g.r.
Clean-up is going slowly and more folks are needed to help. They request than anyone within a days drive of the site who can help please come back and pitch in for a few days. They could use about 2 dozen more people.
A lot of folks bailed after the FS put out the mandatory fire evacuation call and many more left on July 12. There are only 50 folks doing all this cleanup work since the 12th. If the usual 150 - 200 folks had stayed another week or so then the clean up would be a lot further along. Climbing up and down steep hills over the miles of the gathering site is burning these folks out.
There are no trucks on site to take out the garbage so last week they rented a u-haul to move out a big load and they are going to rent another u-haul tomorrow. The funds for this is coming out of the clean-up crews pockets.
What is left to do is the disappearing and water barring of the trails, getting the remaining garbage out, checking all the campsites to make sure they are disappeared, chopping up the compacted parking areas and reseeding.
Folks, it is important that a site be left without a trace and it takes a lot of work to get a well used gathering site to this point. How a site is left after a gathering is how the gathering will be
remembered. There is more to a gathering than just the party. If you can help in any way please do so now.
We had a alcohol free Welcome Home at the lower trail head that brought together a diverse group of rainbows who normally don't hang out together and in spite of philosophical differences they created a great kitchen and camp.
We had an awesome and alcohol free Front Gate who took the time to share Rainbow lore around the campfire late at night with folks just getting home.
There was lots of good filtered drinking water and fresh salad at dinner circle ever night through the 4th. Everyone who showed up to dinner on time got salad - Thank you Oji Kitchen - you guys rock.
There was a fantastic hipstory (Rainbow history/stories of gatherings past) on the night of July 5 and a changing of the guard. Plunker stepped down and passed the feather onto Glowing Feather and I look forward to hearing your hipstories in the future.
The younger generation took control of dinner circle and did an awesome job of keeping us on track and getting fed. The older generation took the time to share wisdom with the younger folks and then were wise enough to step aside.
There was beautiful music being played and rock art sculptures rising from the soil. There was a jugglers glen, a crazy bird stage at Granola Funk, sweet vibes at Warriors of the Light.
Let's not forget the anti-brunch at Loven Ovens. For those not in the know, the NYC Purple gang does a brunch on July 5th complete with mimosas. Unfortunately, you need a ticket in order to be fed. So the wacky folks at the Ovens, made up sack lunches with bologne sandwiches and took them to people waiting in line for brunch. Then came back and cooked up some killer ass food and fed those of us who were ticket less. Just some fun Rainbow pranks and more people got more food out of it. Thanks to both NYC and the Ovens. It takes two to tango.
Shanti Sena Councils/Circles happened in the meadow after dinner circle most of the nights I made it to dinner circle. Next year I'll be doing them again. Sharing our knowledge with each other is critical.
Our main meadow was full of blue and yellow flowers, granite rocks and small children playing with the occasional kite and hang glider.
Two fire pits aside, our relations with the USFS Resource people went very well - shame on whoever called Rebeca names - love everyone, love is our most powerful tool. The more we love, the more peace we create.
Our family created beautiful trails for us - thank you trail crew. We had a tooth brushing station - awesome idea. Yeast Man finally showed up and then dinner circle was complete. Who out there feels at home until they hear "YEAST" bellowed across the meadow at dinner circle? I was so happy to see Yeast Man, I even ate yeast. The beautiful spice couple where at the gathering sharing wonderful sauces to spice up those beautiful servings of rice and beans. I even tasted blueberry hot sauce - it was incredible.
A kind brother set up a way station in the match stick forest for tired or confused travelers hiking into the gathering. Thank you very much. Thank you to the kind younger brothers who helped me carry things when I was running out of steam. My beautiful family at Kid Village on July 3rd who taught peace under the most challenging of circumstances - you are my heroes.
Death Camp Kids - thank you for reminding me that I need to share love even when I'm getting frustrated.
Ogre & Joji - thanks for trying to keep me fed - I know I don't sit still enough but I loved camping with you guys and Sunshine, Stuttering Phil, Cassie, HeyJo, 4D, Jayhawk and the Okics. Everest, you kept me on my toes and you're one strong toddler.
Jesus Camp - thanks for sharing jesus songs with the brother finding god in the most difficult of circumstances.
Montana Mudd - you rock. Such good strong Shanti Sena energy popping up everywhere and keeping the family safe. Thanks for babysitting the LEOs, they can't seem to stay out of trouble without babysitters.
The circle on the 4th - we held the circle until the kids were in, all the way in, wrapped around the P^&$ pole. We always try to do it, but I'm not sure how long it's been since we've achieved it. The silence was strong. We are strong.
We held councils. We counciled on the boy scout issue, various times on Shanti Sena issues, with the Forest Service, with each other. We acknowledged our lack of house keeping in years past and people said yes, I'm a Rainbow who is willing to step forward and take peaceful action to create an amazing gathering and we did. We managed to get our disabled elders into the circle on the 4th and keep our children safe.
We went after our family who was taken to jail and brought them home if that's what they wanted. We went to court in peace and love and had citations dismissed or reduced to minimal fines.
To Circus who took a too high brother down in the most loving manner I've ever seen - a true Rainbow brother who proves that one can be strong and full of love at the same time. To Chris who dealt with everything life through at him and kept a smile on his face and a tune on his guitar.
We opened our hearts to the family of Garrett Bardin who disappeared on June 21 and was found deceased ten days later near the gathering of an apparent suicide. To send a card to his family, Garrett's Family, PO Box 22, Boulder, WY 82923. Donations can be made in his memory to Tip Top Search and Rescue, P.O. Box 400, Pinedale WY 82941. Also, an account has been set up at First State Bank in Pinedale for Garrett’s PALMS (Prevention, Awareness, Litigation against Medications that may cause Suicide). To Carol and Taylor, I hope the love we shared with you is still floating around those mountains. To Garrett, you must have been an amazing person to have so many people so worried about you. You are one with us now and forever.
To the many, many hands and smiles that created such a beautiful gathering - thank you and may you carry the cause of peace forward every day.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Starting in 1996, the Rainbow Gathering has been on a collision course with the regulations. Some years a person has signed a permit, other years no one has. Many attempts have been made to change the regulation to accommodate non-hierarchical assemblies of people without success.
Finally in 2007, the USFS agreed to accept an unsigned operating plan in lieu of a signed permit. So with this very brief introduction, I'll jump into my report of the operating plan discussions on the land in Wyoming.
Due to the confusion about the boy scouts (to be covered in a separate post), we waited for days before the USFS was ready to discuss operating plans with gathering participants. In fact many gatherers contacts LEOs to ask them to pass a message to the USFS that we wanted to work on the operating plan. This went on for a few days before Tom showed up. As dates are hard to keep track of at the gathering, I'm guessing it wasn't until June 25th that we started this process. (Tom had been notified on June 10 that we selected the Big Sandy site).
Tom Florich of the USFS prepared a draft Operating Plan based on copies of operating plans used for Rainbow gatherings in years past. Unfortunately, the words "DRAFT" were not preprinted on the copies Tom passed out. I hand wrote "draft" on the copies that passed through my hands. We met three days with Tom to discuss the draft operating plan. I had requested numerous times that this council take place in Main Meadow or adjacent to INFO in the site, but Tom was insistent that he was short staffed and did not have time to go up there, so the councils were held at Welcome Home. Tom mentioned many times that the resource had a very small budget this year and was understaffed (too bad the same couldn't be said about law enforcement).
Our first day of counciling with the USFS started poorly with lots of shouting and yelling and energy directed towards past problems between the USFS and gathering participants. After an hour or two of this, we settled into working through the operating plan from front to back. Someone would read a paragraph and then gathering participants would discuss issues and concerns. We had 25 to 35 people in the council.
The second day of counciling went better as we jumped directly into our system and picked up where we had left off the day before. Day three, Tom delivered his latest version (unfortunately he neglected to date the copies he was handing out so there are many copies floating around without dates on them) but because that day was supposed to be his day off, he dropped them off and returned the next day. On the second day, I again asked Tom if we could move this council to Main Meadow or adjacent to INFO, but was given the same reasons for not doing so. As time was going on, more and more people were moving into the gathering and the hike back down to Main Meadow was 2.5 miles (the short hilly way) or 4 miles (the flat way) and we were losing participation.
By the third time we met, the council had shrunk to half a dozen people and as far as I was concerned, we never finished discussing the operating plan. Tom however felt like the discussions were finished. We discussed bringing the operating plan to main council. One person promised to block any attempt by main council to "approve" the operating plan. As I had to be in court on July 1, I do not know what if anything happened with main council and the operating plan.
There are a few things in the June 30th (next to last ) version of the operating plan that were left unfinished or that can be clarified so I'll attempt to answer them. Any copy of the operating plan that does not have page numbering in the lower right hand corner of the date of "30 June 2008" printed on the cover is not the last version.
Under Health and Safety, #2 - CALM will identify vehicles.....
There was a lot of discussion over the lack of need to identify vehicles since no road closures were in effect and in fact, the jeep trail through the gathering was open to all travel. I do not know if anyone ever identified any vehicles or not.
#5 - Trash will ... - despite the mention of burning wood and paper trash, I know of at least one person who received a citation for having paper trash in a fire pit.
Under Resource Protection, #1 - the original version of this paragraph made some reference to security being provided for parking areas only and seemed to indicate that LEOs would be responsible for security in other parts of the gathering. We discussed the fact that we provide our own security and the way it got written up was very confusing. My understanding of what the council who met with Tom wanted was gatherers will organize parking and Shanti Sena will provide security for the gathering. Because we never really finished the operating plan discussions the final version has very awkward wording that I don't feel represents what people in council had intended. On another bizarre note, I heard a brother focalizing parking at one of the upper lots was told by the LEOs to cease immediately.
# 10 - size of fire pits - the two giant pits that had been built by Early Bird and Oji prior to the first discussion of the operating plan. When the USFS expressed their horror at the amount of top soil destroyed in the creation of these pits. Gatherers discussed the importance of grandfathering in these two pits, preventing the creation of additional over engineered fire pits and restoring the areas impacted by these pits. At the time, Tom Florich agreed that we could leave this pits in place until after July 4th, but in subsequent days, the USFS tried to get the pits removed early and they became a huge point of conflict. The pit at Early Bird was shrunk a bit and that seemed to make the USFS happy. The district ranger, Tom Peters(son) flipped out when he saw the pit by Oji, and refused to discuss an cleanup strategy to minimize any long term environmental damage. PLEASE PEOPLE - LESS IS MORE - NO MORE HOOVER DAM FIRE PITS!
# 11 - discussions of fire danger were never finished. There was a difference of opinion between gatherers on what should be mentioned here - I wanted something to the effect if the fire danger escalates, the USFS and gathering participants should rediscuss fire safety instead of a blanket if A then B statement. This was another section that I felt never was worked on.
Under Animals, #1 - "Animals must be under control at all times. Verbal controls are not considered "under control" if the animal does not respond to verbal commands" - this was what we worked out, but unfortunately, I heard reports that law enforcement was enforcing leash laws.
On a good note, nudity was allowed everywhere except within view of Road 850 :)
Under Site Rehabilitation, #9 and 10 - the site specific needs and rehab plan were not complete per the operating plan because the USFS failed to show up. I left the morning of July 8 so they could have shown up late, but in our operating plan discussions Tom had said this had to be done no later than July 6 as that was his last date at the gathering. Also in the June 30th version, there was a reference to "rainbow volunteer representatives" and people objected to the word representatives and it was requested that the word be dropped.
Under Communication, #1, I was opposed to even having this section in the operating plan because the only person I know who brings communication gear that would fall under the scope of this section doesn't want his personal equipment to be mentioned in the operating plan. Tom Florich said someone on one of the conference calls earlier in the year had requested this be part of the operating plan. Some gatherers in the councils on the land also said there was nothing in there specifying anything specific. I asked a number of times if this section could be removed, but because gatherers were not united behind this idea, the USFS didn't take it out.
I never saw the final, final version, but have requested an electronic copy from Tom Florich who was our liaison with the USFS on this process. Once I get that I will distribute it widely.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
If you were a witness to the event that took place in Kiddie Village on July 3rd, please contact the Wyoming ACLU. 307-637-4565, Wyoming ACLU, PO Box 20706, Cheyenne, WY 82003 or firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.aclu-wy.org/ and have your story included in their report.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Public List www.welcomehome.org/mailman/listinfo/gathering_info
CHILDREN, DOGS AND CAMPERS ATTACKED ON EVE OF DAY OF PRAYER
Feds attempt to incite another riot
Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyo (July 10, 2008) – Federal Law Enforcement Officers ("LEOs") of the United States Forest Service (USFS) committed multiple acts of violence against campers, their children and their dogs at the Annual Rainbow Gathering being held in the woods near Big Sandy, which unofficially ends today. The gatherers' entire purpose in assembling is to silently pray for world peace on the Fourth of July. The harassment included multiple tasering incidents, writing hundreds of tickets, searching many gatherer's vehicles, kicking sunbathers awake to search them for guns and poking into people's tents. The harassment culminated in an attack of 50-60 rounds of pepper ball bullets being shot both indiscriminately and specifically at campers in the Gathering's Kiddie Village (KV), a camp where children play gently and joyfully all day. This incident took place at dinner time while campers were praying before their meal.
At 12:00 pm on July 3, phalanxes of LEOs equipped with sidearms, tasers, pepper spray bullet rifles, mace, nightsticks and wearing bulletproof vests entered camp in flanking military formation. Throughout the day they swept through the site rousing people from their tents, handcuffing and searching them, writing many tickets for minor infractions and answering most people's concerned questions with silence. Gatherers with cameras kept watch of their movements from a good distance. A trombonist provided musical accompaniment for part of the way.
Around 6:00 PM, dinnertime in the main meadow was starting. As gatherers prayed before their meal, they witnessed officers moving towards KV. Moments later, main meadow gatherers heard the call "fire at KV" and saw smoke coming from the camp.They sprung into action grabbing buckets of water, responding to the call. They soon found out the smoke was really a cloud of pepper spray.
Meanwhile at KV officers invaded KV's kitchen, charged through it's food preparation area, tackled an approximately 50-year old man and apprehended him. When parents moved to shield their children from the officers with tasers and pepper ball rifles now drawn, shots were fired towards the ground. The LEOs continued to aim at gatherers who sat, prayed and calmly and repeatedly asked them to leave. One gatherer explained to the officers, "Kids are here, this is Kiddie Village, everything is fine." Others pleaded, "Please get your guns out of Kiddie Village," and reminded the officers, "We mean you no harm." The LEOs would not leave.
One woman begged the officers to say why they were arresting the man. A LEO pulled her to the ground by her hair while she was holding her dog, and she was also apprehended. The officers moved the woman in a direction away from the Gathering exit, to an area out of view of witnesses. Gatherers needed to keep witness to her and her dog's mistreatment, so they moved closer. Officers opened fire once again, this time striking people.
Gatherers with buckets of water arrived on the scene, and upon witnessing this violence realized that the call, "fire in Kiddie Village" was a different call, "Shots fired in Kiddie Village." They didn't know if they had come upon real ammunition being fired in a camp that had always been a safe haven for children, or what was going on. Upon hearing shouts such as, "Terrorists!" and "You're shooting at children," they became upset and tried to escort the LEOs quickly away from the children and onto the trail leading out of the Gathering, determined to protect the children. The LEOs would not cooperate and maintained position.
Officer Lampy (of the USFS) pointed out her non-violent targets to a LEO armed with a pepper ball rifle, who obeyed and fired. Multiple rounds of pepper ball bullets were fired indiscriminately as well. Pepper spray hit babies; the air in KV was thick with the irritant. Most people in KV were affected by the spay and suffered symptoms including respiratory distress, temporary blindness and breaks in skin integrity such as burns, bruises and welts. Nurse Practitioner Jane Albert said, "Many children were visibly upset, crying hysterically and had to be calmed down."
"The police then fired shots and hit a child, before turning to fire upon another man carrying a child on his back. The man went down and the child fell," explained witness Jeff Bender. "Both myself and my dog were shot repeatedly," said another witness named Michael. -Pissed Off Former Democrat Blog, July 9, 2008.
Peacekeepers tried to keep a safe distance between the LEOs and confused and agitated volunteers who'd just run all the way up from main circle with buckets of water. The peacekeepers held their arms out wide, walked backwards with their backs to the officers, close to the main meadow volunteers, and called out orders such as "Stay peaceful, people!" The "safe distance" was not safe enough for the satisfaction of the officers who continued firing aimlessly. While the peacekeepers reminded people that we are all peacekeepers, they were then specifically and deliberately struck by the LEOs with pepper ball bullets. One peacekeeper was shot in the back eight times. He turned around and asked, "Why did you shoot me? I'm trying to help you!" He was then shot three more times.
Long time gatherer David Alexander English guided the officers towards a short cut out of the Gathering which they eventually used. "We're making a left," he said calmly. A LEO pointed a taser with an aiming laser at English's face from three feet away and warned, "Come any closer and I'll shoot you!" English responded, "Dude, I'm trying to lead you out." The officer said, "Oh, okay." English later reflected, "It was a really heated moment." Another woman was held while she was maced in her face.
More rifles were pointed deliberately and directly at children and a baby. One gatherer reported that on the LEOs' way out, they shot up a camp on the road, sending "vets scattering into the woods for safety!" -Wyoming Gathering 2008 Blog, July 4, 2008. Reinforcement officers also did not hesitate to point their assault rifles at the campers. The LEOs left with their arrestees. The gatherers collected information, wrote depositions, and then shook it off and had a great and spirited Fourth of July.
It has been printed widely that 400 gatherers threw "rocks and sticks" after LEOs arrested someone at main meadow, that a government vehicle was damaged and that an officer was injured. There were about 100-200 gatherers present at the height of the incident, no LEO incidents took place at main meadow this year, no government vehicle was damaged and no officer was hurt. Video shot from the beginning of the incident on through has already left the Gathering, and will clearly show whether any rocks or sticks were thrown; not one gatherer said they witnessed anything being thrown.
Smears in the press regarding the "rocks and sticks" accusation were rampant and went as far as one headline stating "...Forest Service officials stoned by hippie group..." -World Net Daily, July 7, 2008.
USFS Law Enforcement and Investigations director John C. Twiss contradicted the release sent by his own agency by saying, "About 70 people were yelling profanities," and said "no officer was hit." -Minneapolis Star Tribune, July 7, 2008.
Twiss added, "They've (Rainbow gatherers) been attracting a different kind of crowd in recent years." -Casper Star Tribune, July 8, 2008. It should be noted that this statement is commonly given by law enforcement agencies right before instigating a non-stop campaign of continuous police presence and harassment towards any number of events they wish to squelch.
Twiss ended by stating, "When you're throwing a rock at somebody's head, you're potentially looking at hurting somebody seriously or killing them. Our officers certainly could have been looking at using deadly force, but they didn't." -Casper Star Tribune, July 8, 2008.
In fact, officers already used deadly force when they struck at least three peaceful gatherers in the face, "at somebody's head," with pepper ball bullets shooting from rifles at a much higher velocity than any arm could ever throw. One witness reported that a peacekeeper "was shot six times in the back (no wounds in the front!) one shot went through his arm entering his bare tricep and exiting his bicep leaving two holes with blood pouring out the entrance wound in the back and the exit wound in the front requiring on site medical and bandaging." -Wyoming Gathering 2008 Blog, July 4, 2008. Many other gatherers were also hit in the back and front repeatedly; photos were taken of one individual who had 11 pepper ball welts.
Gatherers reported being tasered on their way in to help set up the Gathering prior to June 24. On the July 3 "The Rule of Law" radio program, a gatherer named Rob reported live via a satellite phone belonging to the show's co-producer, that they (the USFS) "tasered and assaulted a guy last night (July 2)...Multiple officers tasered him. We spent the entire morning trying to figure out what jail they took him to because they don't really want to tell us anything. They supposedly tasered somebody else again this morning. We're still trying to verify that one." The USFS also refused to answer questions from the press regarding the whereabouts and status of arrestees. Agency spokeswoman Rita Vollmer stated, "we're not releasing that information. It's sensitive information for investigations. They're still in custody."-Billings Gazette, July 6, 2008.
Another taser incident happened on July 2 around 2:00 PM when the 50 year old passenger of a vehicle moving between parking spaces was dragged out of the car, tasered repeatedly, handcuffed and then tasered some more. There is footage of this incident.
Also on July 2, yet another taser incident was reported by the clerk of the federal court in Casper. "'One defendant on Wednesday apparently got out of hand and was subdued with a Taser,' she said." -Casper Star Tribune, July 5, 2008.
Even more witness accounts of harassment were reported. If drivers forgot to use their wipers before being stopped by officers, they received tickets for having dusty windshields. A couple returning from town counted 20 LEOs along a 4 mile stretch of road. Almost every officer they saw had at least one vehicle pulled over each with all of its occupants outside. There were also reports of tainted dog food being deliberately left on trails for babies and pets to get into. This atrocious act resulted in the death of one dog.
Many gatherers were upset to see such provocative violence occur in, of all places, the sanctuary of Kiddie Village, and at such a time as dinner prayer on the eve of the gatherers' annual day of prayer. Immediately following the KV incident, witnesses called in to the live radio program from the Gathering and gave their reports. Rainbow gathering supporter Dan from Illinois reacted upon hearing the reports from the Gathering streaming in: "If you can disrupt prayer, you can disrupt mankind. These demons (LEOs in parking lot) high-fiving each other, it just brings tears to my eyes. What is going on in this country?"
But most gatherers weren't surprised; they'd been through this before.
A year earlier, also on July 3 at dinnertime at the Annual Rainbow Gathering in Arkansas, USFS LEOs drove multiple sports utility vehicles into main meadow which is the heart of the gathering and also a strictly spiritual area like KV where violence is absolutely not tolerated. They parked in the middle of the river that ran through the meadow and again made a scene by making arrests and tasering a man in the back. They remained parked in the main meadow; when they became impatient that a sizable crowd still had not formed, they proceeded to repeatedly blare their sirens which instantly drew a crowd and a loud reaction. They attempted to instigate a violent reaction from one of the Rainbow gatherers by holding their position, waving their rifles around and waiting for something to happen. When nothing did, the LEOs left. The entire riverbed was lined with rocks. Video of this incident is enclosed with this release.
Although Wyoming gatherers were upset with the LEOs' behavior, many expected this show of force, recognized its pattern, and kept cool. They know the USFS is trying to get a rise out of the gatherers, so in return, the gatherers give them the exact opposite response; non-violence. Some gatherers who were at the scene know the purpose of these intimidation tactics; the USFS indeed carries out regular training exercises on the Rainbow gatherers.
In U.S. v. Wirtshafter (July 5, 2007), FS officer Gene Smithson gave sworn testimony that crowd control training is done at Rainbow Gatherings. Smithson identified himself as "Special Agent with the U.S. Forest Service currently assigned as an Incident Commander (of the Incident Command Team)," and during cross examination, when asked if there is any ongoing training that officers receive in crowd control, Smithson answered, "Every year we are -- we are going to be recertified in it." When asked if "they are receiving training credits for being out here (at the Rainbow Gathering) this week?" Smithson answered, "Every officer on the team."
Smithson was then asked, "Can you describe a little bit about the training that officers are receiving while they are here at the Rainbow gathering?" Smithson answered while still under oath, "Basically they have received training in formations and how to protect themselves, how to dissipate crowds, how to deal with crowds."
The Associated Press reported that "in 1998, the Forest Service established a national response team (the Incident Command Team) to deal with the group." -Houston Chronicle, July 5, 2008. The Rainbow gatherers have had and continue to have enormous success in self governing, far surpassing the invention and/or need for any governmental "national response team," especially one staffed by LEOs. The "Incident Command Team" (ICT) succeeds in "commanding" its officers to create an "incident" far from the public eye, which then forms a crowd. Then the "team" attempts to incite the crowd to riot, with the hopes that it will so that the team can "respond" by getting a chance to practice "how to dissipate crowds," all with the intent to train on easy, non-violent targets relaxing in the woods.
Another long-time Rainbow gatherer named Jasmine expressed, "The USFS has been trying to intimidate us since day one. Now with the creation of the ICT, supposedly under the USFS, the harassment has gotten worse. Still their tactics haven't worked, as we continue to exercise our First Amendment right to peaceably assemble on public lands. It seems that finally their behavior and the validity of the ICT as an organization of 'responders' is being brought into question in the public court."
Regarding the ICT's training exercises being carried out on Rainbow gatherers, she exclaimed, "We are not lab rats! We are a peaceful people with over 36 years experience holding gatherings completely on our own, and we wish to keep it that way. We want this harassment to end now. Not one more cent of taxpayers' dollars should be spent on funding policing of a self policing event." Jasmine ended by stating, "Instead, the LEOs involved in this harassment should receive felony convictions in federal court on counts of inciting a riot, assault and battery, child abuse, reckless endangerment, child endangerment, false arrest, infringing on civil liberties, and animal cruelty, to name a few."
Tomorrow cleanup will start, yet harassment towards gatherers often continues when they're in small numbers; less witnesses. Reports have come in that subsequent arrests are being made days after the KV incident, in which people are being ordered by USFS LEOs to "lift up your shirt" and anyone with a pepper ball welt on their skin or traces of pepper spray on them is being apprehended.
Travel advisory for getting to and around camp: most of the Gathering is a hike from the parking lot. To get there you will need to park and then walk about 1-3 miles, so be prepared with good shoes, water bottle, etc. The shortest trail into the site is from the "Middle Back Gate Bus Village Parking Lot." You will find there are many gatherers who love interacting with the media and will gladly be filmed. But in respect for people's freedom of religious expression, it is requested that anyone taking photographs or film images first ask permission from each individual to be included in the shot.
Directions to the Wyoming Gathering
Footage of USFS' Attempt to Incite Riot, July 3, 2007 at Annual Rainbow Gathering in Arkansas
First link contains arrest, quiet part, sirens at main meadow, reaction. Plays audio only; video peculiarly missing as of this press release
Part One http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&VideoID=12590276
Part Two http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uvvcwcHkYQA&feature=related
Part Three http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AD6bX-36Fbc&feature=related
Part Four http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uklob4ooh1w&feature=related
U.S. v. Wirtshafter transcript of Motion to Suppress Hearing, July 5, 2007
"Rainbow Family & Christians Unite to Give Hope After Katrina" film
"Effects of Rainbow Gatherings on Local Residents" film
"The Rule of Law" radio program, July 3, 2008
Hour One http://mp3.wtprn.com/Kelton/0807/20080703_Thu_Kelton1.mp3
Hour Two http://mp3.wtprn.com/Kelton/0807/20080703_Thu_Kelton2.mp3
FS Taser purchase document
Additional video evidence of the USFS's harassment campaign against Rainbow Gatherings can be made available to the press.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
For those of you who missed the workshops, here is a short version of what we covered.
Q. How high is too high?
A. We need to look out for our family who may be high and wandering about alone. The Wyoming Gathering was cold at night and it was easy to get lost in the woods. A high lost person can get hypothermia easily and die. So when you see someone who seems to be too high and unable to make good decisions about their safety, either hang with them or get them to a kitchen where the person can hang around a campfire until they are a bit more focused.
Sometimes people need to be restrained lovingly so they don't dance in the fire, jump off boulders and crash through people's tarps, or harm themselves in some way. NEVER DUCT TAPE ANYONE. Hold people down with strong and loving arms in the least restrictive manner possible.
Q. Neighborhood disputes
A. When you're camped in your camp and you notice some of your neighbors not getting along, take the time to talk to first one and then the other separately, find out what the issues are and see if you can come up with a solution that meets the needs of everyone. Don't wait until the screaming and yelling starts. However, once that happens, trying Oming. Oming is a general purpose calmer for a variety of situations. I have been in many situations where Oming made the yellers realize how silly they were being. When in doubt, Om. The more people who Om the better. Sitting down and Oming is less confrontational.
A. Having a radio doesn't mean a person has a clue. Don't put all your trust in people with radios just because they have a radio. Some people with radios are experienced in Shanti Sena, some are not. If in doubt, go to INFO or CALM with a major problem.
Q. Cop Watch
A. See the long post I wrote a few months back on Cop Watch. READ IT! That being said, here's the short hand version. NEVER CIRCLE THE COPS. Give them a way out of every situation. A scared cop shoots. Get people to sit down and OM. Oming de-escalates the situation. Keep your back to the cops and back our family up (some of us aren't as good at the peace vibe as others). DON'T YELL! Keep the video cameras rolling. Be the peace we want to see in this world. Don't interfere with their arrests. One or two people taken to jail can be dealt with by lawyers. Keeping the peace will minimize the arrests.
Q. Lost Kids
A. If your kid is lost, get to a person with a radio and get a description out ASAP. If you find a lost kid, take her/him to Kid Village.
Q. Keeping the Peace
A. Walking. Walk the gathering every day and observe what is where, stop at all the camps and kitchens and talk to people. Get to know what areas may be a bit sketchy before a problem erupts. Prevention is the best medicine. Walk the gathering at night looking for family who may need some gentle nudging to get them to a kitchen with a campfire and some good music. Come to Shanti Sena Councils/Circles/Workshops so you can meet other people. When a situation erupts, it's awesome to know who you're working with.
Monday, July 14, 2008
The brothers held the gate, greeting people with information on parking, cop movies and how to not get pulled over. And it was alcohol and spange free!
The Front Gate was on BLM land and subject to a fourteen day camping limit. Plunker had set up his vehicle and considered the camp his camp but needed someone to "camp" there after his fourteen days were up, so my trusty 1956 Ford Step Van took over. The hard working crew built a tarp structure using my van as a foundation and from then on, I became one of the "happy shiny" people at the Front Gate. I alternated nights in my tent by Oji Kitchen with nights at the Front Gate. The core crew was Quiet, Red, Blue, Stale Fish and Chris and these are the best brothers I've ever hung with at a Rainbow Gathering - you guys rock!!!!! And the sisters - Susan, Ellen and a bunch whose names I don't remember - WOW! Working front gate with sisters is the bomb.
We had a fire pit and once it was dark, encouraged people to camp with us for the night before heading into the gathering. Many nights we had a wonderful bunch of happy hippies, singing songs, or talking about road trips and gatherings past and always shouting out "Welcome Home" and "We Love You" while those that had been hanging around for a while shared the 411 on danglies from rear view mirrors (illegal and used as an excuse by the LEOs to pull you over) and the monumental importance of using turn signals even when there was no one to signal for. We also shared info on the various parking lots and access points to the gathering.
I never made it past 2:30 AM before crashing in my comfy bed in my van, but the rest of the crew held it until dawn night after night after night - and shuttled people up and down the road besides. I bow down to you!
Having a alcohol free gate was a major accomplishment and thank you family for doing it. I hope this is a new tradition that carries forward to New Mexico and beyond. Love and hugs family. Love and hugs.
And then Vermin Supreme changed everything with the soon to be legandary "Donughts for Death Camp" movie. I missed experiencing this stroke of genus first hand, but heard about it from the mouth of the supreme one himself. In a nutshell, Death Camp is a family whose parents provide minimal guidance or supervision to their children and the kids dedicate themselves to outrageous behavior just to gain the attention of someone. A lot of this behavior was verbally or physically violent this year, but all attempts to bridge the generation gap failed. Of course it's hard to have a conversation with a nine year old who just called you a F%#(* and a B%#* and a C@&$^ and every other word that was invented to belittle another human being.
Vermin and some other folks took donughts and hung out and that is the beauty of this idea. It's simple. Food and people hanging out. Now I'm not claiming it turned the Death Camp scene into a Mister Rogers campout, but it was a critical step.
Our incredible Rainbow family is filled with people who have dug shitters, chopped wood, healed the body and mind, and parked cars for years and in the process have filled their brains with a bounty of Rainbow wisdom and now their bodies are weary. So I'm asking you, the earlies as Plunker says, to share your minds by leaving your comfortable chairs at Loven Ovens and Montana Camp and spending a few hours a day hanging out with your younger brothers and sisters at Shut Up and Eat It, Mence to Sobriety, Phat Kids and Trade Circle. Bring some donoughts, chocolate bars or fruit and just hang out and LISTEN to what the kids have to say. They don't need elders, but they do need someone to hear their dreams and concerns and maybe offer a small suggestion from time to time or some sugar for zuzus.
And so the generations will unfold one hand clasping one hand until a strong chain is formed.
Friday, July 11, 2008
Hello all ...
I am a reporter for the Pinedale Roundup newspaper and I am in the process of working on an article regarding the treatment of the Rainbows during the July 3 pepper bullet incident and the ACLU?s investigation. If any of you would like to share your thoughts or eyewitness accounts of what happened, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you much. Please email me.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
So we're hold up in a motel room and I'm checking email, etc.
As far as the incident in Kid Village on July 3rd, I was not an eye witness so will leave others to tell their stories. That being said, one of the brothers who was there will be meeting with staffers of congressional representatives on July 15 to show video of the event and review eye witness accounts with the hopes of asking Congress to hold a hearing.
To that end, if you have an eye witness statement, please email me a complete statement of what you witnessed along with your legal name, phone number and address. If you have video or still photography of the incident, I will have an ftp site setup in a day or two or email me links from You Tube.
Just a reminder family, never circle the cops. Sit down and OM!
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
investigate how federal law enforcement officers
treated members of the Rainbow Family during their
annual gathering this year in western Wyoming.
If you were a witness to the event that took place
in Kiddie Village on July 3rd, please contact the
Wyoming ACLU. Their contact info is on the top
right corner of their webpage which can be found
They say they will be taking collect calls for the
next two weeks from witnesses.
Friday, July 4, 2008
involving the arrest of some Rainbow Folks, the law enforcement officers being surrounded by an Om Circle, and then the firing into the crowd by LEOs of some sort of projectiles while the LEOs exited the site.
This information was gathered from an Internet radio show called We The People Radio Network. The show can be found here:
The show has a pair of co-hosts, one in the studio and one calling in from on site. The show is
broken up into two parts, Hour 1 and Hour 2.
12 minutes into Hour 1 you can hear Rob Savoye telling the studio co-host about a tasering
incident on the road when he actually gets the call that there is a "riot" going on at Kiddie
Village and he leaves the satellite phone.
The on site co-host seems to follow him to KV as the show moves to another topic for awhile. Later in Hour 1, they cut back to the on site co-host who is handing the phone off to witnesses of the event who tell what they experienced. Hour 2 has quite a few witnesses talking about what they saw.
The gist of the event seems to be that an arrest of between 3 and 5 people was happening near or in Kiddie Village just before dinner circle. Rainbow folks came and surrounded the arresting officers who began to feel threatened. More and more Rainbows arrived at the incident as word spread.
In an attempt to exit with their arrested people, they first began shooting into the ground with
what appeared to be machine guns (but were not). When people began putting themselves between the officers and where the kids were, and did not back down or disperse, the LEOs began shooting into the arms and chests of the Rainbows. They did this as they exited up the hill, and down a path off site.
It is not clear what, exactly, was being shot from those guns. It has been described as "pepper spray pellets" and also as "rubber bullets".
In the Forest Service press release, it is stated that Rainbows first began throwing rocks and
sticks at the officers. Their statement can be found here:
There was apparently lots of video taken of the incident and names and statements of witnesses are being collected.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
pictures of the Wyoming Gathering. The Pinedale
Online Website is doing a great job reporting on
the Gathering and lots of pictures can be found at
Scroll down to see even more once you get there,
and click on them to make them larger! I even see
a picture there of Karin, the creator of this
blog! If you find any more links to great pics of
this years Gathering, please feel free to add them
to the comment section of this post!
Sunday, June 29, 2008
call from Karin, the creator of this blog, from
the Gathering in Wyoming. She gave me lots of info
about what is going on there and how to prepare
for the drive and the hike in.
Again, I apologize for lack of apostrophes and
parenthesis. Karinâ™s blog, for some reason,
prints gobbledy-gook when I write them.
Here is the newsâ¦
THE ROAD IN
The drive in is difficult because the cops are
stopping for every little thing and then, often,
are searching cars. One person has a court
appearance for not having brake lights, even
though she does, because the low sun was shining
on them and they are a bit dim. Another person has
a court appearance because he did not apply his
brake while on a corner, even though he was going
slowly because a cop was following him.
There are four parking lots.
There are two trails into the site. The WAGON
TRAIL is 2.5 miles of flat hiking and then a half
mile on a very steep incline going up. The SNAKE
TRAIL is only 2 miles but goes up and down a lot
and then straight up at the end.
FRONT GATE IS NICE!! You need to seriously allow
yourself 6-8 hours to park, hike in, have
something to eat!, find a campsite, and set up. If
6-8 hours has you hiking or setting up in the
dark, SERIOUSLY consider camping by your car the
first night, or by the fire at Front Gate. Its a
nice scene. Stay and enjoy it.
Karin âœhustled itâ from Main Meadow to the
front gate, down hill, and it took her two hours!
Once you are in, its level land. There are Aspen,
Pine, and Fir trees. There are blue and yellow
flowers in the fields and big gorgeous granite
boulders. On-site there is minimal cop-movie. They
come through about once a day on ATVs for an hour
and are gone.
This has been a SERIOUS problem this year. There
have been lots of people who have found themselves
with severe headaches and vomiting on their first
day onsite. This includes some long-time Rainbows
who are used to occasional high elevations and
Allow for altitude sickness when you plan what
time of day to hike into the site. This is another
good reason to hang at Front Gate the first night
and acclimate before the crazy hike in.
Some of the older folks are bitching and moaning
because they feel ineffectual because they cant
walk around too much.
Rob is getting radios together today. This makes
lots of folks happy because the amount of hiking
to pass information around has been very
There are currently 3 CALMS set up.
It tends to be in the mid 70s during the day. The
nights are still very cold and some folks arent
sleeping at all well because of it. Bring long
johns for sleeping and possibly double sleeping
bags. Bring a hat to sleep in. Please bring any
extra blankets or bags for folks that need it!
The nearest gasoline for sale is UNUSUALLY FAR
away from the site this year. Be sure that you
fill up to the TOP before heading up so that you
can get back down. If you have gasoline jugs,
please fill them up and bring them in for your use
or for other folks. This will save on the usual
situation of having to siphon out of some cars to
get other cars back to town.
Its surprising how few people are currently
onsite. There were about 500-1000 at dinner last
night. Population seems sparse and less than
expected as does the quantities of cars coming in
There is lots of meat in some of the kitchens.
Warriors of the Light was very recently built.
Yeast Man has not been seen. Some folks are sad.
MISSING SON OF THE SHERIFF
Garretts mother is on site nearly every day
because there have been rumors that he has been
seen onsite. His mothers family -his parents are
apparently divorced- loves the Rainbows, are very
appreciative of all the work that is being done to
find Garrett, and is coming in a lot to walk the
site and chat folks up. They often bring meat for
So, the unreported story is that Garrett allegedly
had a fight with his friends the night before he
disappeared. He -I believe she said- came home
that night but was gone by morning. No one was
worried until he failed to show up for work.
When his truck was found at the end of a dead end
road in the forest, there was a bullet hole in the
windshield and one in the fender.
There are flyers with his picture going around the
site and some folks claim they have seen him. But
its getting to the point that he would likely know
he was being searched for.
NOTES ON SHANTI SENA
In my last report you read that the cops deemed it
illegal to yell âœShanti Senaâ because it might
incite a riot. This has now been amended. Folks
are allowed to yell it as long as they really are
NOT trying to incite a riot. This of course, is up
to the opinion of the nearest cop.
It is believed that this will be interpreted to
mean that you can call for help if someone is
beating up someone else, but likely not allowed if
there is a cop-action going on and you are calling
for other Rainbows to come witness the action.
So! It is advised that if there IS some sort of
cop-action and you feel compelled to call for
Shanti-Sena to witness the action, that you step
back into the woods, away from the fray, make your
call and then disappear, coming around again to
another place in the circle. Dont stand beside the
nearest cop and call.
Other than the horrendous hike in, the altitude
sickness, the missing locals, and the difficulty
in finding a vegetarian meal at times, there is an
awesome Gathering happening. You should come home.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
apostrophes or quotes as my last post here on
Karins blog included a lot of odd characters in
place of the apostrophes.
I received a voice mail on my cell phone from Jai
(Just Say Hi). Karin seemed to have written some
notes down for Jai to read to me over the phone
for inclusion here on her blog. I hate to admit,
though, with some static and difficulty with
translation, I feel strongly that some of what
Karin wanted to say did not come through. For
instance, I got some email addresses from her but
was not clear what it was that I was supposed to
send to these addresses.
Here is what I did surmise...
* The hike into the Gathering site at Big Sandy is
pretty darn strenuous. Even without a pack, from
Parking Lot to Main meadow it is about 1.5 to 2
hours of hiking because it is UP HILL. Be
* Apparently, the folks onsite have been informed
that if they ever shout Shanti Sena (our call for
help) that the person calling may be arrested for
inciting a riot. Apparently, they are not aware
that the call is used to gather many people who
will surround the situation with a circle of calm,
peaceful council members intent on defuseing the
situation and come to a peaceful resolution.
* The road to or possibly into (or near) Snider
Basin (the other site) is apparently terrible. Not
sure which road this is exactly. Sorry.
* There currently is no proper plan in place to
evacuate severely injured or sick people from the
Big Sandy site.
* Jai was busted for having a string of beads
hanging from his rear-view mirror while driving
in. Please have your vehicle registered with no
violations. Wear your seat belts, go the speed
limit. Of course, that is good advice driving into
That is about it. I wish I had been there to take
the call instead of having it go to voice mail. I
could have asked a lot of questions and made this
report more clear.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
from the Info Booth at the Gathering, but I am not
able to go to Wyoming this year. I did, however,
get a phone call this morning (June 21) from Karin
Zirk (the one and only). She was able to reach me
on her cell phone from the back entrance to the
site, on the hill. (She was using Creedo which she
thinks is through Sprintâ™s service. There was a
good deal of static, but I was able to pretty
easily converse with her.)
*At the town hall meeting with the Forest Service,
the situation regarding the Boy Scouts and their
planned work on the land (at the site where we are
gathering) was discussed. It seems that the Boy
Scouts did not plan to arrive until the 26th of
July, well into our clean-up process. It is
unclear as to whether they will cancel their
rehabilitation. Karin said there is a âœslim
chanceâ they will go ahead with it.
*The Forest Service asked us to move to another
site. The Rainbows at the meeting agreed to go
back to the land and call a council about the
matter. They did. About a hundred people were at
the council (coming and going) and in the end, the
council was unable to come to consensus about
whether to stay or go. Because of this, the old
consensus still stands (reached by Spring Council)
to gather at the current site.
*There is some disagreement on the landâ¦ some
folks, including Garrick and Summer Breeze, feel
the Gathering should move to the 1994 Wyoming site
at Snyder Basin. Some folks plan to move there.
Lots of people are definitely staying where they
*Mark Rey, (the Under Secretary of Natural
Resources and Environment, US Dept. of
Agriculture) said that their will be no
repercussions whether we stay on site or move to
another. They would prefer that we move, but are
not forcing the issue and are being, according to
Karin, âœnice and accommodatingâ.
Karinâ™s two cents is that the site will either
be where it currently is, or that it will be a
split gathering, but that it will most likely not
be moving completely. Also, she says, âœIf in
order the maintain the spirit of cooperation with
the Forest Service, we have to abandon our
consensus process, then what is the point?â
Last night (Friday the 20th), there were 180
people at dinner circle, the Magic Hat was passed
for the first time, and 5 kitchens served at
circle. A good time was had by all!
It is estimated that there are 1000+ people
currently on the land (July 21st, â™08).
THE FOLKS ON SITE ARE ASKING FOR EXTRA BLANKETS,
SLEEPING BAGS AND TENTS!!! Many folks came
unprepared for the cold night whether and there
are kids with not enough bedding. Please help.
âœTHEEEEEY LOOOOOOOVE YOOOOOOOOU!!!!!â
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Tonight at 11:30 PM Eastern Time there is yet another conference call with Mark Rey. Rumors I've heard is that if we don't move, the Boy Scouts project will be cancelled. These are all rumors. The number is 866-742-4928, code 6246993.
Some people on the site are rumored to be willing to move, some not.
So Mark Rey will be in Pinedale for the town meeting this evening at 6 PM.
I will try to post an update this evening based on what I find out then. If you're heading this way, check this site before you leave the highway in case there are updates.
Monday, June 16, 2008
The USFS will provide a map of the area the Boy Scouts had reserved and additional information on their project which has been in the planning stages since 2003. When I get that information, I will post it here as well as a transcript of today's call so you can hear the issue out of the mouth of Mark Rey.
Here's some info on the boy scouts project or more information.
A brief summary of the issue: This is part of a five year thing the Scouts have been doing, and they have already applied for and received a special use authorization (permit). About 1000 of them will be coming for a week starting July 26th. Mark Rey (an undersecretary of Agriculture (the Forest Service is part of the Department of Agriculture)) told us that we was concerned about this putting time pressures on "the usually excellent job of cleanup that you guys do", as well as there being two large events in the same area in the same summer, "something we would not normally allow".
Discussion ensued about precisely where the Scouts would be relative to where we would be, and the Tom and Mark said they had to get additional information. Apparently there are several large meadows in the vicinity, and it could still be possible to use only some of them, and keep the areas the Scouts will use roped off to gatherers.
If you want to hear the issues presented by Mark Rey and the conference call that happened today, click here (thank you Marty).
Eventually it was agreed that there had to be input from people who are on the land, so Jai, who was at the time in Little America and on his way, as well as Tom, would get the word to the land and then get some of them to come to a ranger station and some phones and participate in another conference call.
Because no one from site was able to participate in today's conference call to discuss these issues, a follow up call has been scheduled for Tuesday, June 17 at 4:30 PM EASTERN TIME.
Participant code is 6246993
We have a messenger going into the site today to make sure people on the land are notified and I hope the bulk of tomorrow's call will be composed of people who are on the land as those are the people who need to work this out with the USFS resource folks.
If you are headed towards the gathering, today or tomorrow AM please take this information with you.
If you are leaving in a few days, I will try post updates here so check that site before you head home.
Love you family!
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Friday, June 13, 2008
The Undersecretary of Agriculture Mark Rev will be in attendance along with members of the U.S. Forest Service Incident Management Team. Representatives from the Wyoming Governor's office and Attorney General's office are expected to attend. The Wyoming Department of Health should have representatives there as well.
The purpose of the meeting is to allow members of the community to have an opportunity to ask questions of the Rainbows about the annual gathering which will be held at Big Sandy in early July.
Let's show up and meet the local community - share the love.
If any locals know of a legal way to get from Rock Springs to Boulder without a private vehicle, please let us know.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
One person reported being unable to use an out of state credit card for purchasing gas at the pump - don't know if that's an isolated incident or not.
It's snowing a bit every day and nights are COLD! Be prepared.
Life is calm and the gathering is unfolding.
On June 19 in the afternoon or early evening, there will be a meeting with gathering participants, local towns folks, federal, state and local agencies including Mr. Mark Rey, the Undersecretary of the USDA (boss of the forest service). Details will be forth coming. Let's put our best face forward and show everyone that we are nice and loving folks.
After the Wyoming national in 94, I created and networked a printed circular of news about the gathering and other stuff, through a band (Whole World) I was doing at the time. Anyhow, I included quotes from locals, FS reps, LEO's, etc, that might be of some kind of minor
use in PR for this years gathering.
"Its a really well run outfit, considering we're out in the middle of the woods" - Jim Nothnagel, Wyoming Health Dept
"I haven't heard any complaints. I went up there the other day. I had fun" - Dennis Wagstaff, Big Piney firefighter
"I think it was an experience I wouldn't want to have done without. It was an interesting group of people, and it just goes to show that it takes all kinds" - Jackson Police Chief Dave Cameron
"In the beginning, I think a lot of people had reservations. Actually, it's turned out to be kind of interesting. It's been an experience, a cultural exchange" - Randy McNinch, 3rd generation resident
"It's an interesting experience. Rainbow does a great job of cleaning up after itself. You couldn't tell anyone was at the Paonia (Colorado site, 2 years prior) a year after that gathering. It would be a mistake to think that because they were different, that they were stupid. They include every kind of professional, doctors, lawyers, people from every walk of life. Don't judge them by the way they look, the way they smell, or what they have pierced" - Ron Jablonski, Forest Service spokesman
"Most of the experience has been really positive" - Rory Mack, Mini Mart owner
"Normally, we make about $500 a day. During the peak of the gathering we averaged $3,500 a day" - Judy Marx Sage Cafe owner
Love Is The Answer,
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
WARM Sleeping Bag
Spoon & Fork
Flashlight & solar recharger
Feminine supplies if applicable
Personal medications - (if you have special health needs please check in with CALM when you arrive so if something happens, people will already be familiar with your situation.)
I always recommend people bring two gallons of water per person so you have safe drinking water until you get settled and know where at the gathering to fill up.
If you want a bit more comforts:
Some sort of sleeping bag padding like a ThermaRest or foam
Something to sit on - (the gathering provides the ground, you provide the rest - towel, blanket, folding chair, etc.)
Be prepared for warm sunny days, cool rainy days and cold nights.
Water Filter (.2mu)
Remember, what ever you carry in, you will need to carry out.
(Organic) fruits and veggies that can take a few days without refrigeration and can stand a bit of banging around
Bubbles, face paint, acoustic instruments
(Organic) Sugar, nuts, whole wheat flour
Cash donations for the Magic Hat
Hugs & Smiles