In Utah’s scenic Goblin Valley State Park a couple of US scouts filmed themselves interacting with a hoodoo - toppling the ancient rock formation as can be seen in the vid here. From that link, criminal charges are being considered and a lot of people, including the park service and Boy Scouts are very pissed off and the lads involved have even received death threats (!).
The individuals involved say that the rock was loose anyway and posed a serious hazard, so they just helped it on its way in the name of saving lives (although given the tone of the vid I’d say they did it for the lulz and quickly came up with that, that’s just my take). Anyway, I want to hear your take - were they right or wrong in toppling a 170 million year old formation and should criminal charges be filed?
They were wrong and should face charges. Even granting that the rock posed a safety threat they should have informed Park Services whose job it is to make such assessments and take appropriate action. I will go so far as to say that if they can prove the rock formation was unsafe then that should be reflected in any sentencing.
They were wrong. But what could you charge them with? Destruction of property? Vandalism? I don’t think they deserve to have their lives ruined or anything, but I’d be fine with seeing a $500 fine slapped on all of them or something. Community service, maybe.
What they’re selling, the authorities ain’t buying. The scouts acknowledge at least they were stupid not to inform park authorities while maintaining they were in the right.
Incidentally Utah has some of the most spectacular scenery I’ve ever seen, between Zion and the place in question which I’d not even heard of before today you people out there are incredibly fortunate.
Speaking as devil’s advocate (as you see in the OP, I don’t necessarily buy their motive speech in the vid), their argument is rather that since the rock was very loose anyway while they were there they toppled it so that it could not be blown down and injure someone in the future.
I watched the video, he had to push pretty hard. It was a senseless act of vandalism and not consistent with a stewardship role. They should be fined for vandalism and removed from the Scout role for providing a bad example and tarnishing the name of the organization. Community service and a little education about natural history couldn’t hurt.