In Honor of Tim DeChristopher’s Release from Prison
Bidder 70 himself:
“I’ve been hoping that someone would step up and someone would come out and be the leader, and someone would put themselves on the line and make the sacrifices necessary to get us on a path to a more livable future. And I guess I just couldn’t wait any longer for that someone to come out there and had to accept the fact that that someone might be me.”
Here is Tim describing his activism and the idiotic and vengeful charges in his own words on April 3, 2009:
Bloggers everywhere helped raise money to pay the fines and pay for his defense, including My.Fdl.
He was sentenced to two years in prison on July 27 by U.S. District Court Judge Dee Benson who said at the his hearing, “Mr. DeChristopher had many other lawful ways to express his disapproval with the oil and gas leasing process. “Civil disobedience can’t be the order of the day,” the judge said, adding that it would lead to “chaos”, according to Treehugger.com.
On September 17, 2012 his conviction was upheld by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in a 2-1 decision. You’ll likely remember that an unnamed Congressman had Tim transferred to solitary confinement on March 9; citizens flooded the phone lines of Bureau of Prisons and members of Congress. He was moved back into general population on March 28. Jeff Goodell at Rolling Stone narrated the story of his being ‘thrown in the hole’ this way (my emphasis):
“According to Shea, a veteran lawyer and director of the federal Bureau of Land Management during the Clinton administration, this is what happened to DeChristopher: On March 5, he wrote an email to Dylan Schneider, the treasurer and volunteer coordinator at Peaceful Uprising, a climate activism group co-founded by DeChristopher.… In the email (you can read the whole thing below), DeChristopher discusses the fact that an unnamed corporate donor who contributed to his legal defense fund is exporting U.S. manufacturing jobs and laying off workers. DeChristopher is not happy: “I feel like I have some influence and hence some responsibility to do something,” he writes. “If they are saving money by screwing their workers, I can’t in good conscience accept some of that money.” He then says that he plans to send a letter to the owner of the company that made the donation, explaining why it bothers him. He writes, “This letter will include a threat to wage a campaign against them if they don’t reverse course and keep the plants open.”
Let’s be clear about what DeChristopher is doing here: He’s threatening to give back a $25,000 donation because the donor’s company is exporting jobs, thus tainting the donation in his eyes. Is this the action of a dangerous criminal?”
The remaining six months of his sentence will be spent in a half-way house in Salt Lake City, and he will work for the Unitarian Church that was such a bastion of strength during his long ordeal.
Members of the group DeChristopher helped to found, Peaceful Uprising, has members in Texas at the Tarsands Blockade.
You can read Tim’s powerful pre-sentencing statement to Judge Benson here. It’s titled, “I Do Not Want Mercy, I Want You to Join Me’. In it, he speaks this truth:
“This is really the heart of what this case is about. The rule of law is dependent upon a government that is willing to abide by the law. Disrespect for the rule of law begins when the government believes itself and its corporate sponsors to be above the law”.
Tim is speaking at one of the forty solidarity rallies in his honor here; “Yes, we are talking about a revolution!” (in two parts). He says it right, imo:
Tim’s acceptance of the idea that the ‘someone’ who needed to step up and put themselves on the line was himself…was echoed in a recent post at FDL by Benjamin Franklin, telling the story of himself and his comrade Rain being tortured by cops working in tandem with TransCanada lackeys at the Tarsands Blockade in East Texas. He said that while being choke-held by one of the cops who asked if his goal were just to go to jail, etc.:
“I had to stop myself from replying, “I wish this cup would pass me by.”
Thank you, Tim; thank you Rain and Benjamin, and all of you who put yourselves on the line for the rest of us, and in defense of our Mother Earth. Would that I had the wherewithal to join you.