Hugh Bollinger
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DeChristopher's guilty. Aren't we all?

The jury in Utah found Tim DeChristopher guilty on both counts. His lawyer, Ron Yengich, said all DeChristopher did was try to give some people some hope. He asked the jury to consider, "whether the spur of the moment desire for hope is a federal crime." It is, according to the jury. DeChristopher will be sentenced June 23, and still faces up to 10 years in prison and a $750,000 fine. My take: Look, he clearly did something that was against the law. And when someone breaks a law, a society has two choices: punish that person, or change the law. Is it bad enough to merit 10 years in jail and a $750,000 fine as a punishment? That seems a little much. But, in the end, we have to decide whether we want the government selling the right to puncture our land and extract oil and gas that belongs to all of us -- for not very much in taxes -- to perpetuate a cycle of climate change. That sounds like a loaded question, but it's not. After all, we all use this oil and gas to heat our homes. And no form of energy comes free. We're all guilty of living a good life off cheap energy. Or should we change the system and the law so that we get clean power from the sun and the wind? And should we have a stronger national debate about what we want from our energy policy, and what we're willing to give up? - RC
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