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What does all of this have to do with the Earth First! trial in Prescott, you ask?

If you've read this far, you've no doubt forgotten that the environmental prosecution was the initial subject of this column, and there is a connection.

The FBI has, in Prescott, completely abandoned the street-level wisdom of the Marblehead police officer who avoided trouble with a few well-chosen words.

On January 11, 1988, when Ron Frazier contacted the FBI, the Bureau was on to Mark Davis.

The FBI should have relayed its information to the Sheriff's Office. A deputy could have visited Davis very early on and avoided this horror show.

"Listen, Mark, we know about your night work. You've got two lovely daughters and if you want to stay around long enough to watch them grow up, knock it off. It's only a ski resort."

Instead, the FBI paid more than $50,000 to an informant, sent in a full-time agent undercover, provoked the already agitated and turned vandalism into a federal case. Even with that, defense lawyers will tell you, off the record, that if the government had charged some of the defendants with simple malicious damage, convictions would have flowed like water. But the prosecutor went nuts and alleged a conspiracy to sabotage nuclear-power plants and to cause meltdowns.

You have to wonder what Earth First! espoused that was so threatening to the government of the United States. You have to ask what Earth First! accomplished that made it such a target.

Like Doliber, the environmentalists stepped forward to fix something in pretty sad shape, and what they got for their trouble was an even more malicious "Thanks to you, Larry . . . ."

To be continued

The tubs are inscribed with nineteenth-century mottos of civic commitment such as "We Will Try" and "Fear Not--We Come."

Perhaps you think a brawl among lesbians, the developmentally disabled and a tradition-obsessed Puritan is not pure Americana.

When the rolling dust cloud of combatants gets out of hand, we depend upon law enforcement to blow the whistle.

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Michael Lacey
Contact: Michael Lacey