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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Glenn Taylor: The Boy Scout Leader From Hell

     In mid-October 2013, Boy Scout leaders Glenn Taylor and David Hall took members of their troop on a tour of Goblin Valley State Park in southern Utah. Advertised as "a showcase of geologic history," the park, surrounded by eroded sandstone cliffs, features boulders (called goblins) perched atop slender stone pedestals. These unique formations were created over a period of 170 million years by wind and water.

     Glenn Taylor, a beefy man in his mid-thirties, with his son and other Boy Scouts looking on, and David Hall videotaping him, pushed a boulder roughly the size of a small car off its ancient pedestal. It took just fourteen seconds to destroy something nature took millions of years to create.

     The geological destroyer, flexing his muscles and beaming with pride over his achievement, laughed and high-fived the kids. Behind the video camera David Hall cheered Taylor on. "Boom!" he shouted when the boulder toppled off its point. "Yeah! We have now modified Goblin Valley!" Hall yelled triumphantly. Then, in a burst of absurd justification for this act of sheer idiocy, Hall said, "Some kid was about to walk down here and die, and Glenn saved his life by getting the boulder out of the way. It's all about saving lives here at Goblin Valley." Sure. This is like draining Lake Erie to keep swimmers from drowning. This is what clinical psychologists call, "a load of crap."

     Sometime after the state park desecration, a friend of Hall's published the video on YouTube. From that site it was linked up to Facebook. Eventually the video came to the attention of state park officials and the local prosecutor's office.

     In January 2014, the prosecutor charged Glenn Taylor with criminal mischief. The prosecutor charged David Hall with aiding criminal mischief. If found guilty of this third-degree felony, the men faced up to five years in prison and thousands of dollars in fines. (It's too bad prison inmates are no longer forced to break rocks all day. These guys would be good at it.)

     Following his arraignment, Glenn Taylor, absent his hero persona (remember he saved lives) but still full of crap, said, "It was wrong of us to be vigilantes. We thought we were doing a good deed. We should have alerted a park ranger."

     Utah state parks officer Eugene Swalberg, in speaking to a reporter about the case, was not in a BS-accepting mood. "The destruction gives you a pit in your stomach," he said. "There seems to be a lot of happiness and joy with the individuals doing this, and it's not right. This is not what you do at a natural scenic area."

     Officials with Boy Scouts of America didn't think much of Mr. Taylor's vigilantism either. They kicked him and David Hall out of the organization.

     In March 2014, the defendants were allowed to plead guilty to misdemeanor offenses. The judge, pursuant to the plea bargains, sentenced them to one year probation. The former Boy Scout leaders were also ordered to pay fines and restitution. They got off light. 

2 comments:

  1. I was incredulous, horrified, and physically ill when I saw this. I wish he could be charged with something far more serious than criminal mischief. And sentence the cretin to six years of cleaning up after ignorant tourists in the parks. Following which he should be banned from ever setting foot in any state or national park

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  2. I hope the judge in the case reads your comment.

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