As the nation shuddered in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Giffords, the use of bulls eyes and gun images by Republicans to “target” Democrats has been repudiated by nearly every responsible public person and group. Apparently, someone in our local Save Richardson’s Grove organization didn’t get the memo.

This poster is irresponsible. To be clear, my husband works at CalTrans and I support the work in Richardsons Grove. Nonetheless, I have enjoyed at least one of the posters put out by the protesters. The nudes hugging the trees was pure art. This is not. This is hate speech. And in light of a world where we are watching images of Egyptian protesters looking into the guns of tanks with all the implications of impending human pain and death, this is over the top.

As we have seen in political discourse with Republicans calling for “targeting” some opposition and putting bulls eyes over congressional districts, some language and some images can push mentally unstable people to violence. That kind of language should be off limits to responsible protesters. I call for the Save Richardson Grove Group to repudiate the violence implied in this poster and to behave carefully and peacefully at this rally.


Hat Tip to Heraldo

35 thoughts on “Humboldt Hate Speech

  1. I think the tank image relates to the fear amongst some of those who oppose the widening that there is some…greater scheme involving the importance of widening the roads to make it possible not only for the larger cab trucks to come through but for larger tanks and military transport in the case of…some sort state of siege. You know how fears can grow.
    I’m pretty sure the intent was not to encourage or condone the use of violence (but I haven’t spoken with the artist who did this poster). My partner’s latest chant is “the people, united, will always be nonviolent”.
    And..unlike guns, as possessed by the individual who shot Giffords and others…tanks are not generally possessed by random crazed folk, or readily available at a neighborhood shop.

  2. Kathy,

    I have read of this fear of the military transport and I want to point out that military transport can fit through the Grove, they just can’t fit through without going over the yellow line. Somehow I doubt that should the military feel the need to come here, they will be hindered by the worry that they might cross a painted line.

    I’m pretty sure that the poster was not intended to condone violence. Neither do I think that Sarah Palin intended for someone to shoot Rep. Gifford when she put targets on that district. The image though that is painted on the viewers’ hearts is one of CalTrans being an invading army, one that must be resisted. And some would see that as a call to arms. I say, let’s just not go there. Let’s use words of compassion and love if we want to change the world. The nude photo comes from a world where change comes from peaceful action. This one comes from a world of war.

    By the way if you know how I can link to the beautiful nude photo, I would love to do that to show how protests can be done and create art at the same time.

  3. If they can fight wars on the other side of the planet, they can air drop tanks and anything else desired anywhere they want within our borders. Aren’t there several military bases within about an hour’s flight of Humboldt?

    But, come on. No tanks for pot. If a police state was enacted, Humboldt would be pretty low on anyone’s priority list.

  4. Jack Gescheidt is the photographer who did the naked people against the trees series (he’s done photographs with this theme in many forests). He’s on facebook, I think there is also a TreeSpiritProject page on FB as well.

  5. Which do you care about more…the poster or Richardson Grove? DIfferent people who want the EXACT SAME OUTCOME. It’s a POSTER. Stop letting blogs brainwash you (republican posters and palin propaganda as seen on TV….very intelligent…very real life…one is too intelligent to fall for that stuff, but here’s a blog post that highlights that very influence for the sake of shaming a real and important local issue)…WAKE UP! That’s all I gotta say about that.

    There’s no reason to “hate” the poster or the people who made it…there is every reason to stop the bullshit ‘improvement’ project through one of the last old growth redwood groves on the entire planet.

  6. Eh, I’d say hyperbole [eye roll] more than hate speech. Especially since Republicans have always tried to claim that activist anti-corporate propaganda (even w/o any militaristic imagery) is hate speech equivalent to race-baiting or queer-bashing. So, I’m not willing to give them any more…um..ammunition in that regard.

    Really? People are worried about a military invasion of Humboldt as reason to not widen the road? You’re kidding, right? Please tell me you’re kidding. Please….?

  7. Kym, I’ve read most of the posts at Humboldt Herald and here. I’ve not seen any explanation from the person explaining what they are trying to say with that poster. If it was sort of a “shock an awe” intent, I’d say they achieved that goal. Be nice if the person responsible explained themselves.

    I posted an interesting article about how America has become a police state that answers that question. Is The U.S. Really A Police State?http://bit.ly/hAbXGf

    • Joe,

      I read that post and felt that, while to call America a Police state is a little strong compared to real police states, we really need to watch that we don’t end up there.

      • Kym, That was the point of the post – WE ARE ALREADY THERE.

        The problem is, most everyone is unable to see or accept the truth. The only thing that is going to stop full implementation is a popular revolt exactly like Egypt and other Arab nations.

  8. So here we see that some people can justify anything… I so agree with you on this issue, Kym. This is disgusting. But… free speech and all. Politically, these folks are preaching to the choir. They are not convincing any but the already convinced. The tree hugging signs are also misleading.

  9. I’m surprised that a blogger is so quick to condemn so-called “hate speech”, especially this particularly poor example. Seems like a knee-jerk reaction, totally unjustified. Will we eliminate all military metaphors from political activism. No more “campaigns” “battleground states” or “entrenched positions”. In a culture founded on, steeped in, and committed to violence, it is pure hypocrisy to pretend that only non-violent rhetoric constitutes acceptable discourse. Is it worse to advocate violence (i don’t think the poster does) or advocate such extreme limits on free speech? Cops and Feds might shoot you dead, but a poster will never hurt you. Maybe marijuana really does make you stupid.

    • Boris and Ben, I’m not advocating censorship. I’m advocating kindness, compassion and coming from a place where discourse is about the issues not about demonizing those who have an opposing point of view.

  10. After thinking about it, I agree my title was hyperbole (and not in its best sense.) I apologize. I should have been more careful.

    As to the point made by Jeff about CalTrans having “no regard for the environment or for private property”, I disagree. They may not do everything you would like but they put tremendous amount of money and energy into protecting the environment. The Draft Environmental Impact plan for Richardsons Grove that I read mentioned such delicacy as returning disturbed ferns and redwood duff to the sides of roads.

    As to the quote from the Transportation Engineering website, I googled and can’t find it so I can’t respond to it directly (has someone accidentally misquoted it? Otherwise, googling should show it in the results.) However, I believe what someone is referring to is Eisenhower’s creation of the Interstate Highways partially because he wanted ground transport routes for the military. First, Highway 101 is not interstate but, more importantly, it is plenty wide enough for military tanks and trucks to come in through. OF course, their larger vehicles would surely cross the yellow line. However, if they are worked up enough to come to backwoods Humboldt, crossing the yellow line isn’t going to stop them.

    • Very big correction: caltrans does NOT put a tremendous amount of money into protecting the environment. Their projects are completely contrary to protecting the environment.

      The Richardson Grove project, for example, doesn’t NEED to be done whatsoever. Its impact is 100% negative as far as the environment goes, regardless of how many recyclable containers they pour the cement from.

      • Random Guy,

        I don’t have the exact figures, and of course we could differ on what constitutes protecting the environment, but they have whole departments that work to protect the environment. You should hear some of the maintenance workers complain about the regulations that are now in place to protect the waterways and the land.

  11. Good point, Kym. Indeed, this hate speech is even more blatant than the Palin-inspired crosshairs. It’s ironic to see the same cowardly denials from the authors.

    I’ve seen head-on crashes in Richardson Grove more than once. Late at night in the rain it’s a treacherous obstacle course that appears suddenly in the middle of a divided freeway.

    Road improvements do not threaten the Redwoods or anyone’s quality of life. We’ll all benefit from a safer road through the Redwoods.

  12. Kym, How many times did I write on your blog, “words have meaning”? When people were leveling their diatribe at me, everyone, including you remained silent. Now that these words touch someone close to you and all of a sudden they take on an ominous meaning. When Dave Stancliff told me he’d sue me for everything I own for calling him out on his personal diatribe, that was a violent act. His threat to use the courts as a club did not escape me.

    The news media daily shows us the carnage perpetrated by a corrupt government, Egypt, to use their mercenary THUGS to brutalize peaceful people merely asking for what is rightfully theirs, to simply be treated right. Then that dictatorial government perpetuates their conduct and trys to justify their crimes by using a totally co-opted news media to publish lies and propaganda designed to foment prejudice and hatred against their own people and those witnessing their crimes. (The total dead so far is about 300 people.) That same brutal and lying reality is perpetrated ad nauseam just on some local blogs. Words spoken with violent intent manifest their equivalent physical reality. They are the precursor to physical violence. However, shining a light on the truth does not make someone guilty of “hate” speech or of fomenting hate.

    Your blog, as you can see in the newspaper today, was timely and on point since the demonstrators apparently did neither, “behave carefully or peacefully.” Words have meaning!

      • Kym, That’s right, but it’s the intent that counts. Funny how life works, HUH?

        Anyway glad to see the post and your change of heart . . .

        Sorry, just can’t help myself.

        From what I read there appears to be a lot of misinformation going around on what is to be done. Not that it probably matters to any of these people objecting, but wouldn’t it help to have a website that explains what the plans are? If there is one, I never saw any links.

          • Kym, From what I understand, at the root of the problem and reason for the demonstration at the Caltrans offices last Monday is a lot of misinformation. The only time I’ve seen anything about this project online or in the newspapers is when there’s a demonstration. The information in the Tuesday Times-Standard is the same as the brochure of your link. A great help to the community would be for the newspapers to run an informational article on the project and keep that information up to date. Or are they only interested in reporting on violent confrontations between protestors and the police caused because no one knows what really going on?

            Of course, this whole issue could be a red herring to affect another agenda. In that case, all the information in the world wouldn’t matter.

            Where did you get the idea that “STAA trucks are more fuel efficient and cleaner” than other trucks?

  13. by widening the highway they can bring tanks through our forests, this is one of the fundamental aspects underlying this project. This is about creating uniformity amongst all systems in a militarized United States. This is about the incremental steps any governing body takes to coerce a population and test there meddle when more militarized aspects of daily life are instituted bit by bit. It’s why Officer Sanchez of EPD can stand on any street corner holding a fully automatic weapon as a test sequence or for any reason whatsoever…It is why the city of London (and many a metropolis) has been overtaken by fear-mongering, surveillance and a militarized police force. Not being able to put two and two together is a fault of an apathetic public. The image of a tank is the ultimate force by which is a threatening image that this highway widening project creates. Comparing this “hate-speech” to the crosshairs depicted by Sarah Palin’s website prior to the Tucson shooting is childish and irresponsible. That is called horizontal hostility and that alone is what divides people against the body that is enforcing uniformity in their lives and pushing compromise bit by bit, so if we wide the road now, what’s to stop us from doing it again later? it worked once, let’s try it again? It is a test, the only response to this test is to deny taking it and have a no compromise stance on the destruction of native forests.
    The governing bodies that be that threaten our lives and test our meddle on a daily basis count on bickering of aesthetic choices of a movement. The tank got your attention, because it should, now you won’t be surprised when they’re running through Humboldt County (the same US manufactured tanks that are running through Cairo). It is our duty to protect the forest that is left, it is the duty of the people to not allow the government to coerce and manipulate them. It’s patriotic, it’s our rights, whatever you want to call it, it has to be done. Anything less is masturbation.

  14. and if you were at the rally you would have seen the response by the police against peaceful protestors who, although were breaking a trespassing law, showed no threat in the moment of violent execution or throughout the day. State sanctioned, procedural violence. Is the author of this page aware that this exists, aware of how police deal with demonstrators no matter if they’re peaceful or violent. If demonstrators showed up, hurling stones and breaking property, police would have pulled out their batons and tasers (as they did on Monday) and use them to subdue a small crowd(as they did on Monday) but with higher injury rates to citizen and officer alike. Police count on non-violence, they thrive on it. They knew exactly what they were going to do and how to do it. If there is not a viable threat of retribution against them, they will seek every means to destroy anyone against them and lie about it in the press (Times Standard, lie-ridden article that quoted the chief of police, Garr Nielson, who was not even present during the action, peeking out briefly to check on the situation). A responsible protestor is a citizen who makes their voice known and does not accept the violence inflicted upon them because of that voice alone. You are obviously not concerned enough with this campaign, on either side. You vicariously promote if for the sake of a partner who seeks gameful employment at a bureaucratic body, mired in debt, who is seeks to make here like everywhere else. Is your husband aware that the CEO of Caltrans makes more than any other head of state-sponsored transportation (even with a smaller staff and facilities)? Is his hard work awarded with such compensations at the behest of said CEO? What does he, or you, get out of this deal? Draw a line, for your sake.

  15. “I’m not advocating censorship. I’m advocating kindness, compassion and coming from a place where discourse is about the issues not about demonizing those who have an opposing point of view.”

    How can you say this an express the support of project who effects, even through the science, depict unknown scenarios. Is this the fault in your sense of compassion? Do you feel only for the sake of the human animal and not the other creatures that sustain our very life? Do you eat the flesh of an animal and consider it just an compassionate (as though compassionate killing is responsible in even the most bizarre of oxymoronical worlds)?Ridiculous. The tank, IS the issue. You reacting to it, is the very thing it inspires. Reassess your ability to really care for yourself and the world. Your own realization of compassion should lead you to the inevitable conclusion that saving the nearly immortal body of the forest from the floor up is the right. It’s not about old growth…old growth has come to be this glamorized entity that symbolizes where the development line stops…bureaucracies, planning commissions and timber industries have manipulated the language governing what is and isn’t old growth so much that it’s nearly meaningless. If we continue to encroach on the forest now, for any reason, we risk more manipulation of what is and what isn’t developmentally feasible. It’s goddamn nonsense to think otherwise.

    • Chris,

      I’m not sure I understand everything you said but I’ll recap what I thought I heard you say.

      1. you are worried that the project at Richardsons Grove will allow the Military greater access to this area.

      My response is 101 is adequate in size to allow all vehicles that I know of to travel down them as long as no one worries about them crossing the yellow line and endangering oncoming traffic. I can’t see a military willing to come in and coerce the locals worrying about a yellow line.

      2. You dislike my comparison of the use of tank imagery by protesters to Sarah Palin’s crosshairs and say it is justified because it catches my attention.

      The nude photo caught my attention and my appreciation. Treating people like they are animals only capable of responding if they are whipped into a passion doesn’t seem respectful to me. I don’t think you need tank imagery if your cause is just.

      3. You appear to be asking what my husband or I get out of our support of the project.

      My response is that it is my belief that our county that we both love will be healthier and more economically sound if this project goes through and, the Grove will not be materially changed.

      4. you appear to be arguing that every living thing has value and that we must protect it all. (Please forgive me if I am interpreting you incorrectly but I am doing the best I can.)

      My response is that all living things have value. But even as we breath and as we walk we destroy millions of small microscopic creatures. If we eat, we destroy others. Even vegans destroy plants to survive. Rational beings look at what is being destroyed versus what is being saved and make their best guess on how to behave. My best guess is the earth will have no issues dealing with the small changes we will make with this project but that if we don’t make the changes, Humboldt County will suffer.

  16. Kym, “Last Summer I think, the North Coast Journal had Cristina Bauss do a nice piece on the project called Redwoods and Roads I think.”

    North Coast Journal? I would say that makes my point. Today’s “My Word” on Richardson Grove in the Times-Standard says in plain words that the newspapers and other media were extremely deficient in their coverage because they ” were dismissive of our concerns while unquestioningly accepting the Caltrans spin.” Then when there is a demonstration, the Times-Standard brands the demonstrator’s as “violent” thus justifying whatever police action taken. From the reports I’ve read, if there was any questionable violence, it was the consequences of the police action.

    I read the information you offered in those two links. I found that information rather deficient when considering the questions these people are raising. But then that’s the root of the problem isn’t it? How do they, our nanny government, address the issues raised by the subordinate, but unruly or naughty children WITHOUT actually recognizing and talking them. These people are not the least bit interested in being told what is. They want the information so they can decide for themselves.

  17. Kym, I noticed that you didn’t answer my question: “Where did you get the idea that “STAA trucks are more fuel efficient and cleaner” than other trucks?”

    • I understand that non STAA trucks aren’t being manufactured much anymore. So most non STAA trucks are older and less fuel efficient thatn the newer trucks built to modern standards. But mainly, a STAA truck is bigger and thus can transport the same amount of goods with less trips required.

      • Interesting that you only commented on this item. My assessment of the root cause of the problem, probably leading to more violence, is demonstrated here. I noticed this guy didn’t respond either.

        If you’ve been watching or following what’s been going on in Egypt today you can witness the same situation working itself out there. These old Elitists that believe they have the god-given right to tell everyone how to think and believe never know when to simply walk away and die in peace. Same goes for all those that support such tyranny. It seems they never know when to shut up and stand down either. The same issues that are driving that “Rolling Revolution” are at work right here in this country. This issue discussed right here is a good example. What Barbara Kennedy wrote in that “My Word” article lays it all out.

        STAA “trucks” is a misnomer. It is the trailers that are larger and longer. That doesn’t affect the fuel efficiency of new trucks. I’d say a bit misleading.

  18. Chris Shordhum also posted on Humboldt Herald. He was rather extensive as he is here. I commented there, for what it was worth: Chris Shordhum says: We all need to meet each other face to face and not let business or bureaucratic entities determine the future of our home. I hope to see you all on the streets.

    That would mean that these people recognize your legitimate right to exist; to speak and be heard same as them and THEY DO NOT. As far as their concerned your no better, maybe even worse, than all of those demonstrators in Egypt demanding their human rights; substandard, non-human subjects. Until you correct that problem, you waste your time trying to talk to anyone.

    By the way, Kym, he lays out their agenda quite clearly, but I don’t see in your answer where you understand what it is. Which is consistent with the root cause of the problem we’ve talked about on this blog many times in the past.

  19. Kym, I wrote about this thread and what’s offered here. I thought maybe you’d either reconcile or backup what you said where necessary, but I guess I should have known better. So, in leaving I should address the issue you raised the other day in your tacit response: “Joe, it is not always easy to do everything right.” In view of the overall issue I raised in my comment dealing with the real consequences of what we say and write and our prolonged history regarding this matter, I wondered why your statement, after I thought about it, was so offensive.

    Where does a “culture of corruption” come from? It comes from people that believe they have the god-given right to pick and choose when and what they are going to do that is “right” and when it doesn’t serve their personal interests to do what they know is wrong. Then they try to justify their reprehensible conduct by saying no one can be perfect all the time. How about trying to be HONEST just some of the time?

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