This is the way it had to be done, all because local law enforcement had not
only FAILED, but actually enabled this irreversible, criminal behavior.The artifacts are now absolutely worthless to the archeological record. They
will rot in museums with a tagline similar to "Source Unknown".I hope residents of South Eastern Utah are afraid of the US government
now. Lawlessness is still lawlessness, even with a facade of modern comforts.
If government and police would spend less time, years, trying to prove the truth
is a lie it wouldn't take so long. They must learn to work with what they have
as real facts and real evidence they do poses and stop trying to create a
million scenarios of possibilities they might get some justice and satisfaction
in what they are doing.
Só the undercover guy was the one insisting they dig? No wonder no one
went to jail
Since when did the DNews decide that it was time to start giving people who
violate federal laws so much sympathy? It is morally and legally wrong to
violate archeological sites, on federal land, and violators should be prosecuted
this is absolutely ridiculous. to run a sting for 3 years when they could have
been turned in the first dig by the undercover government informant. also to
ruin so many peoples lives over some things in the dirt that in all reality are
worth nothing is just insane.
Was this the best use of our federal tax dollars to conduct a prolonged
investigation and prosecution over these relics?Our borders are
meaningless, and tens of thoudsands of criminals stream across BLM land in
Arizona, where they post signs warning of dangers to American citizens who enter
the BLM lands. Many of those trespassers are hauling drugs into the U.S. and
the dangers or rape, robbery or murder to those crossing illegally are well
known. Terrorists will likely enter this way (if they have not already) as
well.Yet, our BLM leaders insist that punishing pot hunters is the
higher priority.And, they use a massive SWAT team takedown to nab
the mostly elderly and otherwise law abiding "evil criminals" in
remote corners of the state.Does anyone else see anything wrong with
this policy, and the judgment and motives of those setting the priorities?Frankly, the horrors of some pots "rotting in museum storage areas
with a tag...Source Unknown" as opposed to being cherished in private
collections of people who are the modern inhabitants honoring their predecessors
does not seem like it justifies any waste of federal law enforcement
resources.Abuse of power?
This was completely unwarranted, overzealous, excessive law enforcement that was
probably prompted by Salazar's need to make a big splash. NOTHING could
possibly justify that excessive behavior of the BLM. No one
condones lawbreaking. But, it should NEVER have been handled in this way.
These people were entrapped by the over-priced offers from Gardner. Many of
these artifacts had been in families for generations--long before it was illegal
to collect them. Many of them really needed the money and were enticed by the
excessively high prices Gardner offered. Some of the artifacts weren't even
illegal.I'm sorry Gardner committed suicide, but he had good reason
to feel guilty. These people should have gotten a good talking to
and a fine. That's all. No artifact on earth was worth the lives that have
been destroyed by this operation. This whole thing was way overblown and those
reponsible are now trying to justify themselves.
There are consequences when you take someone elses property, the property taken
by the grave diggers and robbers are sacred and non renewable, once theyre
destroyed, theyre gone. This shows little or no respect for those buried there,
these individuals was buried there for a reason and they are still a person,
just like you and I, even if theyre 5 thousand years old. Most people believe
that graves should not be dug up, it is a resting place, so sacred and blessed
and to disturb this lasting resting place is morally wrong. This practice has
been going on so long and the laws need to be strengthened and applied to the
violators to discourage others not to become grave diggers and robbers.
Sounds like Pat Shea is thinking about running for Senate again. That's twice
in a week he has accused Hatch of meddling in sentencing with no apparent
evidence to back it up. If Matheson doesn't run I wouldn't be surprised at all
to see Shea go for it again. I think he is still smarting from the whoopin'
Hatch gave him in 1994.
Let's just say nearly everyone was wrong here. Those who dug up and sold these
artifacts - wrong. Those who employed Gestapo tactics in arresting those who dug
up and sold these artifacts - wrong. The government who now holds those
artifacts, judging them useless to the "archeological record" -
wrong.How to rectify it all? Can't be fully rectified - lives were
lost, over things. How futile. But at least we can train law enforcement. And at
last we can return all that was taken in these raids to the closest descendants
of those who owned them. Even if we don't know who exactly that would be, we
know it would not be European Americans. Let the tribal councils of those Native
Americans currently living in the area meet and decide what to do with those
items. To them, the "value" of those items is intrinsic to the items
themselves, not something a museum decides.
making such a big deal about things in the dirt is stupid. i know some feel
digging is an attack on their heritage but for it to be a felony is just
If it's been in the ground more than 200 years, I say it's fair game.
These artifacts all predate this country and its laws. Kind of funny how we
steal, claim or conquer this land then punish our own for doing the same. What a
cluster of reasoning. Our government hates competition.
I suppose that all the museums all over the world that have bones or artifacts
in them should be required to repatriate the items to where ever they were first
found. Who do these things belong to? The present descendants of native
Americans? The "government"? Who would be the proper people to search
the archaeological record? Could it be certain highly educated university types
who believe that the world theirs and only theirs to plunder at the taxpayers
When I was a scout, we came across a bunch of broken pottery in the hills above
Bountiful. At the time we though it may be from the pioneers. Now I suspect it
was Indian pottery.It was most likely illegal that we took much of
it, we had no idea it was against the law at the time.
It doesn't require a sledge hammer to smash an ant. Overzealous,
excessive law enforcement can have very far reaching and tragic consequences.
No one condones violating the law. But, this should have been handled much
differently. These people were lured in by inordantly high prices.
Some of them really needed the money. Moreover, some of them had pieces that
had been in their families for many years, long before it was ever illegal to
possess them.The Feds are now trying to justify themselves for
overstepping what reasonable people would have done. 150 federal officers?
That's absurd. There was never any threat of violence by any of these people.
These people should have been treated with respect, received fines
and that should have been the end of it. There isn't one artifact that was
worth anyone's life.I hope these BLM officials can sleep at night.
And the moral of the story still stands: It's wrong to steel artifacts from
public lands, and its wrong for local law enforcement to ignore it. Case
This whole incident has been overkill and is no way is justice. And lets get
real--Yes the artifacts are "worthless to the archaeological record",
but who really cares. And I do not think the damage to the archaeological record
is that severe. There are many PRISTINE archaeological sites scattered over the
southwest. These sites are not yet excavated and are waiting for a future time.
Additionally, visit many of the numerous National Monuments, National Parks, and
you can see the historical and cultural artifacts preserved.
These people deserve no more respect than any other criminal. Just because
you're old doesn't make you any less of a criminal, just because you're a doctor
doesn't make you and less of a criminal, just because your brother is a cop
doesn't make you any less of a criminal.BLM didn't kill anyone and
I'm sure they sleep a lot better now than they did 5 years ago, knowing that the
grave diggers aren't ransacking our national heritage anymore.Remember, nobody died except the cowards. Cowards that killed themselves. I
hope their accomplices can sleep at night.
Perhaps some of the posters would feel different about respecting other cultures
history if theifs were to dig up early Mormon grave sites for souvenirs.
MPS, archeology, much less science in general, doesn't seem to be your strong
suit, so I'll try to explain it to you in under 200 words:A lot of
people care: Native Americans, scientists, historians, public officials, as well
most educated people.The damage is severe.There aren't
that many pristine sites left throughout the Southwest. Each site is individual
and irreplaceable. These sites represent dozens of distinct cultures and
distinct time periods, a single site may be all that remains of a specific group
at a specific time. Even when sites are similar, both are needed to establish
what practices were commonplace between the two, and what were unique to each
site.Finally, museums and parks are mostly for tourists, not
scientists. What you call "preserved" is just a context-free artifact
sitting behind glass, and is only there to get tourists to buy replicated junk
from the gift shop.The loss caused by gravediggers is immense.
Barring the invention of a time machine, these sites, undisturbed, are often the
only information we have on who these people were, where the were from, what
they did, and what happened to them; and each gravedigger destroys it
@ johnbh99 11:30 AMThere is already a law "NAGPRA"- Native
American Grave Repatriation Act- which requires all museums to hand over any
Indian remains they hold to the appropriate tribes. I believe it
has already been complied with by most museums.
"That's what they did in (Nazi) Germany."Welcome to the
USA, where the people belong to the government.
To the commenter that says it's fair game. Go to Westminister Abbey in London
and start opening up the crypts of Henry VIII or Elizabeth etc. and see if the
British authorities say it's fair game, it's been over 200 years since they
@Howard Beal. My comment was somewhat facetious, but those are in delineated
spaces and actual secured buildings with ownership. Someone finds a pot buried
in the ground that's not part of a grave, and was just something that someone
dropped along the way and it becomes a federal crime to find it. The current
tribes like Navajo can't lay claim to all artifacts.
Inmate to other inmate... Why are you in? 'I dug a hole'
Howard Beal, rok,no one has any claims to any artifacts whatsoever,
imo. ALTHOUGH, the remains arguably one does. There are always two sides to an
argument. The Westminster Abbey point is certainly an interesting one. Maybe we
should try it? lol, no.
It's not a property rights case at all. It's plain and simple grave robbing.
Tell me where your grandparents are buried and let me dig them up and take your
Grandfathers wedding ring or your Grandmothers dress. We don't rob graves, no
matter how old or whose in civil societies.
cedarpost said: this is absolutely ridiculous. to run a sting for 3 years when
they could have been turned in the first dig by the undercover government
informant. also to ruin so many peoples lives over some things in the dirt that
in all reality are worth nothing is just insane.Then you'll see
nothing wrong with looking for pioneer graves to dig up just for kicks?In
all Reality (something that eludes you) "worth nothing" turns out to
be hundreds of thousands of dollars, golly that's just insane.I
agree with Mukkake's comment, why do people defends this as "acceptable
First of all, shame on those that participated in any "digs" and other
illegal activities. Next, it is stated that, it appears, one of the federal
agents coerced the team into digging. If, what we call a friend, continues to
hound you, normally one would just go ahead and do it after a while if one is of
a weak mind. People are commiting suicide and other atrocities because of the
pressure cooker the feds put them in. They were the fall guys and the ones that
will get the lesson taught to. Lastly, again, shame on those that dug up relics
and other items that were not theirs. Also, shame on the feds for overstepping
their bounds and creating an "overkill" of gargantuan proportions.
Agents of law enforcement coercing citizens into breaking the law is called
entrapment, and there are supposed to be protections against that kind of
conduct by government agents. Be wary people, big brother is
everywhere now and if he wants to ruin your life he will, legal, illegal,
justified or otherwise.
Most of the cases involved entrapment as the people involved had no interest in
selling the items until Gardiner offered extreme prices. In many of the cases
Gardiner lied and it has been shown in the records provided by the govt. Museums
simply have thousands upon thousands of pieces in their basements so they do not
put any TAG on their artifacts.Article after article shows the govt. does a very
poor job identifying these artifacts and protecting them. Many of the artifacts
conficated were totally legal and should be returned to the owner rather than
being lost in govt. basements.
Is this the United States of America or Nazi Germany.
To those who think this is "mo big deal":What if the
theives had dug up your mom, dad, aunt or uncle?You would want them
My final comments on this article:The people who took these
artifacts, or the people who condone their behavior as being
"harmless", are racists, anti-government nut jobs, and
anti-intellectual backwoods country folk. You have a lot in common with the
Neo-Nazis in Northern Idaho and the Klansman in the South. Hope you enjoy the
Mukkake-you should read the inditements. Most on line. There was only one site
where gravedigging was alleged. That "skull" was obviously
planted-read The Source: the inside story... SLT mar.4 2010. No one condons
grave digging although Archaeologists did and do it all the time. Read their
books. What is against the law is entrapment. The actions of the feds in this
case was Nazi Germany revisited. As was proven in court-not trials there were
none-the cases were at most misdemeanors and the punishment was more than just.