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After deliberating five hours, a federal jury in Salt Lake City, Utah has convicted Tim DeChristopher on two felony counts. DeChristopher, "Bidder 70," bid in December 2008 on Bush administration midnight auctions of oil and gas leases near Arches National Park in Utah. The judge severely limited DeChristopher's defenses of necessity and stopping of a higher crime both before and during the trial.
The Salt Lake Tribune has the facts, but I prefer to use Bill McKibben's thoughts via Twitter:
Tim has shown the power of civil disobedience to shine a light -- the government should be giving him a medal, not a sentence.
In time this will be recalled as a key early battle in the century's long fight for a livable climate
If the Feds think this will deter protest, they couldn't be wronger. Tim was brave alone; we need some mass bravery
As DeChristopher left the courthouse, he was met with applause. He told the crowd that the powers within the courthouse tried to convince him he was a little finger that could be broken. But the crowd of supporters showed he was a finger on a hand forming a fist, which is not a symbol of violence, but that "we will not be divided and we will not back down," he said.
It's easy to become embittered by the decision to prosecute and by the verdict. DeChristopher is far braver than I'll ever be. He and McKibben are choosing to take the higher road. DeChristopher's Utah-based supporters have organized a peaceful, nonviolent, musical demonstration at the courthouse throughout the trial. I can only hope to follow their positive example.
Originally posted to RLMiller on Thu Mar 03, 2011 at 02:48 PM PST.