Rainbow encampment brings out watchful law enforcement
The First is an article in the june 28th SLC Tribune, reporting on the rock throwing incident last thursday at the front gate of the Annual Rainbow Gathering of the Tribes in Utah.
The second is the report from the Rainbow gathering on the incident
The third is examples of responses: "Rainbows condemn attack on Forest Service officers"
The fourth is an earlier article in the SLC Tribune
Rainbow encampment brings out watchful law enforcement
By Brent Israelsen
The Salt Lake Tribune
Saturday, June 28, 2003
NEAR LYMAN LAKE, Uinta Mountains -- At the turnoff to a narrow dirt
road leading from the North Slope Road to the counterculture Rainbow
Family's mammoth encampment in the Uintas, an armed U.S. Forest Service
law-enforcement officer blocks traffic.
Some 50 yards down the dirt road, three sport-utility vehicles with
law-enforcement markings are parked next to the Rainbows' A (as in
alcohol) camp, while six officers, some wearing bullet-proof vests, keep an eye
They are taunted, indirectly, by Rainbows who yell out advice to
new Rainbow arrivals: "Don't consent to any searches . . . and don't step
in the pigsh--!"
Meanwhile, back at the junction of North Slope Road and the Mirror
Lake Highway 15 miles away, several dozen state and county police, including
SWAT teams in riot gear, wait in reserve.
That was the scene Thursday -- a day after Forest Service police
clashed with several dozen Rainbows in a confrontation that left two police
officers and two Rainbows injured and sent two other Rainbows to jail.
It is a scene the Rainbows say they have come to expect: a
heavy-handed police presence at their gathering to promote world peace, love and
Unfortunately, none of those ideals appears to be breaking out
between the Forest Service and the Rainbow Family.
At the center of the ongoing friction, according to the Forest
Service, is the agency's responsibility to manage natural resources and keep
order on the public lands.
But to the Rainbows, the issue is more fundamental, one in which
they say the government has continually sought to infringe upon the group's
constitutional right to assemble.
In a nutshell, they say, the government does not trust the
generally free-loving, pot-smoking, pseudo-anarchist members of the Rainbow
"It's a cultural hostility against us," said Garrick Beck, who has
been attending Rainbow gatherings since they began at the height of the
counterculture movement in 1972.
The Forest Service considers Beck the official representative of
the Rainbow Family, even though the family eschews any formal structure or
Earlier this month, Beck reluctantly signed a permit on behalf of
"Individuals Assembling for Expressive Activity" in the Wasatch-Cache
National Forest a few miles northwest of Lyman Lake on the north slope
of the Uinta Mountains. Up to 20,000 members of the Rainbow Family, from
all walks of life and all parts of North America, are expected to attend
the gathering, which culminates in a giant prayer circle on the Fourth of
The permit -- required by a rule the Forest Service crafted in 1996
after years of legal wrangling with the Rainbows -- gives the gathering
some legitimacy in the eyes of the nation's largest land-management agency.
"They have a right to gather, but there are laws and regulations
that they have to abide by," said Becky Banker, spokeswoman for the Forest
Service's National Incident Management Team, which has been dispatched
yearly to the Rainbow gathering since the mid-1990s.
Both sides hope the permit, whose conditions are carefully worded
to protect health, safety and the fragile high-elevation ecosystems, will
usher in a new era of cooperation between the Rainbows and the Forest
"We're going to come out of this with a much better relationship,"
said Beck, who spent three months in jail last year for failing to sign a
permit in 1999.
Signing the permit, he explained, "diminished my own personal
rights but it preserves the rights of the other 19,999."
Other Rainbows are not so sure. Stephen Sedlacko, of Klackamas,
Ore., fears the permit Beck signed undermines the Rainbow Family's
right-to-assembly guarantee under the First Amendment.
"It converted a public assembling into a government-sponsored
event," Sedlacko said.
Permit or no, many Rainbows say the primary problem is that the
Forest Service is managing the gathering with too many police and not enough
"We got along great [in the 1970s and '80s] with the local sheriff
and police. But law enforcement just grew and grew until it became this,"
said Rainbow attorney Brian Michaels, referring to the Forest Service's
National Incident Management Team.
The 40-person team, 28 of whom are law-enforcement officers,
expects to spend $750,000 policing the Rainbow gathering.
"They are more an 'incident creation team,' " said a Rainbow water
purification expert who goes by the nickname "Hawker." The team, he
said, spends much of its time "nitpicking" Rainbows with citations.
Malcolm Jowers, the team's commander, could not be reached for
comment on Friday, but the Summit County sheriff, whose jurisdiction includes
the western half of the Uintas, praised the Forest Service's law
enforcement presence and its handling of Wednesday's altercation.
"The bottom line is that this is public land," said Sheriff Dave
Edmunds. "If you are going to use public land, you have to subscribe to
the permits and [rules]."
And of the Rainbows' desire to police themselves?
"Maybe in somebody's Utopia, that works."
First satellite call from site this AM.
Snow almost melted, site drying out, hot days, cold nights.
Newly arriving vehicles are being redirected to the parking area from front gate BY SHANTI SENA:
Forest Service LEO presence.
The familiar voice on the phone says things are starting to come together; come home. The skinny from an eye witness i.e. the Familar Voice on the phone:
TWO DAYS AGO - LEO attempted or wanted to move a vehicle, that I understand was "lawfully" parked i.e.
all four tires off the road, from where it was parked.
People present did not want the vehicle moved without the owner being present and given the chance to move
Those present linked arms, some sitting down in the road. Forest Service Law Enforcement Mounted Officers
tried to "move" the people off the road by riding the horses into the seated people, snowballs, some with
rocks in them, "flew" don't 'cha know," one of which hit and broke the window of a Forest Service vehicle.
"Several folks who were sitting in the road were "slightly" injured by the Horse Mounted Officer of the
Forest Service. More accurately, two people were treated by C.A.L.M. with one -Rainbow Hugs- being
transported to the hospital in Evanston. I've accented and stress "slightly" to mean Just That,.
The following day, yesterday, the Forest Service LEO's returned with Sheriff's Officers, dressed in TACTICAL
GEAR, NOT riot gear; at which time the Permit Signer, as well as others, sorted "things" out.
While this was all happening the entrance to the area was closed and remained so most of the afternoon and
evening, - over night is unclear - but as of this AM the Front Gate is "in the hands of" Gatherers, as one
That's the long and short of it, except to say: The Forest Service, and specifically the Incident Creation
Team would not confirm or deny any of the "events" of the past two days.
This AM, after being informed by a local newspaper editor of the above stated information, The Forest
Service verified the above, and had basicaly the same story. There may be some disagreement about the maner
in which the vehicle was parked.
What the Forest Service did not say was that an
officer was injured in the jaw. This was not stated to
the local editor, as it was received by "the outside
communications station" from a source other than the
Familar Voice on the phone, but at the same time a
"Most Reliable" Gatherer on site, having spoken with
said injured officer.
Rainbows condemn attack on Forest Service officers 30.Jun.2003 07:58
Comments from various individuals who identify themselves with the Rainbow Family have overwhelmingly condemned the assailants who threw
rocks at Forest Service officers at the 2003 Gathering:
> Razzbar firstname.lastname@example.org
> Oh, this doesn't look good at all...
> Throwing rocks at cops on horseback...
> Well, you know that the gathering always attracts some people who
> don't get it.
> Don't make excuses for them, don't offer conspiracy theories that
> they were planted by the fedz or Burning Man, inc, or try to
> deny that it happened.
> Just disown them. Fuck 'em. They got busted, they asked for it.
> No self-respecting Rainbow Gatherer at the world gathering for
> peace and healing would've done so. It was a misplaced wanderer,
> a plant, or an agent provocateur, or just some violence-prone
> individual with little respect or caring for others who was just
> hanging out to party. . ..
> [S]omeone who walks the walk
> (living peaceful-like) wouldn't throw rocks at the cops.
> No, the lack of respect tendered in the
> rock-throwing has as much to do with ignoring the wishes
> (consensus) of most gatherers by being violent, as it does with
> ignoring the rights of the police to not be assaulted. . .
> [R]ock-throwers [are] . . .
> certainly not anyone who is purposely and knowingly welcomed at a
> Rainbow Gathering.
> mt email@example.com
> Every word true, but you're preaching to the choir, here.
> It does make one tired, though, doesn't it?
> ALL ROCK THROWERS LIVE IN GLASS HOUSES! STOP!
> Garrick Beck firstname.lastname@example.org
> In an unbelievable move of stupidity,
> some people threw rocks at the officers . . . It's regrettable that a
> young fools would take it into their heads to commit those aggravated
> David email@example.com
> Those who threw rocks not only attacked the Forest Service officers,
> everyone in the Gathering who is committed to peaceable assembly.
Tensions grow at Rainbow camp as melee erupts
By Christopher Smart
The Salt Lake Tribune
Friday, June 27, 2003
BLACK FORK RIVER, North Slope of the Uinta Mountains -- To get to the
Rainbow Family gathering, revelers will have to put on their walking shoes.
Make that boots -- it's awfully muddy at 9,000 feet.
A special incident team for the U.S. Forest Service closed a spur off
the North Slope Road here Thursday morning after a melee in which
Forest Service officers and Rainbow members suffered minor injuries.
Early on Thursday afternoon, Forest Service incident Commander
Malcolm Jowers said the 2.5-mile road would be closed until further notice.
That left Rainbow Family members hoofing it in to various campsites
scattered around 4,000 picturesque acres near the Utah-Wyoming border.
For decades, Forest Service law enforcement officers and the
Rainbow Family have danced around each other at this annual gathering. But the
waltzing turned ugly Wednesday evening when officials decided to tow a
car that was in a restricted parking area, said Jowers.
Versions of the story vary, but both sides agree a group of young
Rainbow members encircled the car, preventing the towing. A special
mounted police unit was dispatched to disperse the crowd.
Snowballs and rocks were hurled at the mounted police, who then
rode into the crowd.
Two Forest Service riders suffered minor injuries, said Jowers. And
two Rainbow members were kicked or stepped on and taken to an Evanston,
Wyo., hospital, where they were treated and released.
One man was arrested.
Jowers met with Rainbow leaders Thursday afternoon, but said for
now the road would remain closed.
Garrick Beck, a Rainbow follower who signed the Forest Service's
special use permit, said the events were unfortunate.
"Some young people made a peaceful blockade," he explained. "The
Forest Service called for horses . . . Then in an unbelievable move of
stupidity, some people threw rocks at the officers . . . It's regrettable that a
few young fools would take it into their heads to commit those aggravated
In the coming days as the Rainbow gathering grows, people will see
the celebration as a peaceful one, Beck said. "People will see this as a
very good scene, a very cooperative scene -- learning community values,
learning respect for nature and making the gathering an example of peaceful
Nonetheless, many Rainbows were rankled at the incident, including
a man known by the handle Free Rainbow Hugs, who was kicked in the hip by a
horse and taken to the hospital where an x-ray revealed no broken bones.
"We circled up in the middle of the road," said Hugs, still
limping. "They told us to get out of the way, and then charged in."
Some of Hugs' family members described it as the action of a police
state. The Rainbows will pray for peace on July 4.
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