In Part I, we looked at how the so-called “water protectors” vandalized what they called “sacred land” with 48 million pounds of garbage and hurt and killed local animals (as well as abandoning their own pets to the freezing winter weather) while protesting the building of the Dakota Access pipeline. In Part II, we’re looking at how they treated humans and their plans to take the Standing Rock model nationwide.
They aren’t friends of the locals …
Many of these protesters are not people you want around your community. After all, who hides out in lawless camps? The lawless.
It makes sense that they weren’t neighbors, because they certainly weren’t acting neighborly. A recent report on the impact of protesters on locals stated:
Families reported fear of leaving their homes and farmsteads; strangers taking photos or videotaping rural residents; vehicles and masked protestors playing chicken with local residents on county roads or shaking fists at them as they drive by; farmers and ranchers feeling they are in harm’s way and arming themselves; extra expenses incurred for security systems, gas money to go around roadblocks, families staying in Bismarck-Mandan hotels out of fear for their own personal safety; rural route buses escorted to schools by law enforcement.
For those of you who don’t have the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of “terrorism” handy, here it is: “the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.”
And then there’s the danger these extremists posed to local law enforcement. On at least one occasion “[a]ctivists threw rocks, burned tires, set blazes, lobbed Molotov cocktails and even fired gunshots” at officers. Recently released documents showcase dozens of death threats against law enforcement.
Beyond the fear, violence, and destruction engendered by these activists is the cost. While there are many questions about where the roughly $14 million raised for the Standing Rock protests have gone, its entirety couldn’t match the price tag that the North Dakotan taxpayers are stuck with. According to the latest tally, “The state has incurred $33.7 million in protest-related expenses, with cleanup costs still mounting, while Morton County’s costs have exceeded $3.8 million.” And the cleanup isn’t over yet.
… Nor of vulnerable populations
These extremist activists didn’t just limit their mistreatment to the locals, animals, and their environment. Some of them also endangered their own.
According to the Bismark Tribune, one protester is facing charges for elder abuse:
Kathleen Bennett, 58, of Las Vegas, is accused of taking her 82-year-old mother, who suffers from dementia, to the camps as blizzards pummeled the area from October to December. According to police, she would leave her mom tied to a chair while she attended protests and on one occasion, left her without pants in her own feces.
The allegations were reported to authorities after the elderly woman was hospitalized during a blizzard on Dec. 17. …
In addition to this case, Bennett has also been charged with exploitation of a vulnerable adult. A complaint filed in Burleigh County alleges Bennett used about $1,200 of her mother’s money to rent hotel rooms, buy meals and pay legal fees in Bismarck while her mom was in the hospital and without her consent.
And when protesters set fire to shelters and a vehicle on their way out of camp, two children were burned, a seven-year-old boy and a 17-year-old girl. The 17-year-old had to be airlifted to a hospital in Minneapolis (and you can guess who will be paying for that).
And they’re headed to a community near you
Activists have already begun migrating to pipeline protest encampments in states around the country and have repeatedly said that this Standing Rock campaign is the model that they want to replicate.
They seem to be true to their word. Florida police are starting to feel North Dakota’s law enforcement pain after a man shot at the Sabal Trail pipeline and went on a high-speed chase that resulted in a stand-off with law enforcement resulting in the shooter’s death. Last week, emergency personnel had to remove two protesters who wedged themselves inside the Sabal Trail pipeline. “They each were charged with grand theft between $20,000 to $100,000, trespassing on a posted construction site and criminal mischief.”
And a Trans-Pecos Pipeline protester who was arrested in Texas this week has been wanted out of California since 2007 for a parole violation stemming from “several charges including assault by a deadly weapon, false identification to a peace officer, rape by force and sex with a minor.”
Given that activists plan to protest over a dozen pipelines nationwide, local communities may need to brace themselves for this kind of property destruction, terrorism, and crime showing up in their backyards.