Rights & Wrong | Hits & Misses | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly

Rights & Wrong 

Also: Land Grab, Go Utes

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Rights & Wrong
What is it about “the rule of law” that makes it so ambiguous, especially to the far right? If you’re talking about immigration reform, it’s “what part of illegal don’t they understand?” But if it’s about federal lands, the “rule” is more about the constitutional tension between states and federal control, with the states thumbing their noses at the feds. Western lawmakers have been meeting to that end. If it’s not bad enough that those dingy constitutional sheriffs want to take up arms against the feds, now we’ve got Richard Mack siding with Cliven Bundy and thinking it might be good to put women out front to get shot by Bureau of Land Management officers. Look beneath the so-called love of the land to see that Bundy owes a bunch of money to the feds and doesn’t want to pay. Oh, well. These days, almost any illegal activity can be turned into a fight for rights. But that’s not the Rule of Law.

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Land Grab

Speaking of federal lands, the good stewards of the land aren’t being very good lately. San Juan Commissioner Phil Lyman has decided to ride his ATV into Recapture Canyon in protest of the BLM closing access to motorized vehicles. The BLM is assessing the impacts of ATVs and new roads on the area, but San Juan County isn’t in the mood to wait. This land is my land, they chant, even as recreationists in another county—Utah—have shot up petroglyphs and left a compendium of garbage for target shooting in the Lake Mountain area. The Utah School & Institutional Trust Lands Administration closed access to the most heavily abused 1,450 acres of land. Here is a window into what happens when people think they’re entitled to land, but without responsibility.

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Go Utes

At least we’re not the Redskins—anymore. That was changed in 1972 when the University of Utah chose to go with the Utes as its mascot. Meanwhile, a Houston school district just spent $250,000 to change culturally insensitive mascot names—yes, Redskins, and even Indians. And then there’s the Cleveland Indians mascot, Chief Wahoo, who probably will be the next to go. But the U is valiantly moving ahead to preserve its Ute moniker, and recently signed a deal with the Ute Indian tribe that says it’s OK. Brad Rock of the Deseret News was brave enough to suggest going ahead and changing the name anyway. He got plenty of nasty responses—some from Native Americans. But, bottom line, people are not mascots.

Twitter: @KathyBiele

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About The Author

Katharine Biele

Katharine Biele

A City Weekly contributor since 1992, Biele is the informed voice behind our Hits & Misses and Citizen Revolt columns. When not writing, you can catch her working to empower voters and defend democracy alongside the League of Women Voters.

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