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Boy Scout leaders who toppled ancient Utah rock reportedly receiving death threats

Boy Scout leaders who toppled ancient Utah rock reportedly receiving death threats

Two men associated with the now viral video of them toppling a rock formation in Utah’s Goblin Valley State Park say they are receiving death threats, according to the Associated Press/ABC News.

Two Utah Boy Scout leaders who purposely knocked over an ancient desert rock formation in a state park say they’ve received death threats since a video of the toppling went viral.

In the video shot by Dave Hall of Highland, fellow Scout leader Glenn Taylor pushes a large boulder from its delicate perch, sending it tumbling down a small embankment as the men cheer and high-five.

Hall said they’ve received more than 100 online death threats from people who disapproved of their Oct. 11 action in Goblin Valley State Park. The central Utah park is dotted with thousands of the eerie, mushroom-shaped sandstone formations.

“I’ve gotten death threats from people in Germany and Spain and New Zealand … I mean hundreds and hundreds of hateful messages,” Hall told the Deseret News.

The men have insisted they toppled the rock for safety reasons, describing that it was unstable and they feared it would fall and hurt some of their scouts and other visitors.  Hall has since said that he now understands that they should have instead notified park authorities.

Authorities meanwhile are still reviewing the incident and determining whether or not to take any action, according to FOX News.

Brent Langston with the Emery County Attorney’s Office said his agency is aware of the incident has not yet started evaluating whether they’ll file charges.

“The county attorney’s office has spoken with the state park representative but as of this date, no reports have been submitted and no charges have been filed. The county attorney’s office will review the case upon completion of the investigation and determine what action to take at that point,” the office said in a press release obtained by ETV 10 News Friday afternoon.

Regardless of whatever the situation may be in any given news story, I will never understand what makes some people think that death threats are an acceptable response.


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BannedbytheGuardian | October 19, 2013 at 7:08 pm

Simply a stupid thing to do . People go there to look at rock formations & appreciate erosion as an art form. It is not just what he did but the reaction.

There are some repercussions I could think of for him that have nothing to do with death threats. Hey it would be just geological !

TrooperJohnSmith | October 19, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Seriously, we’ve all done stupid and perhaps questionable things. The difference is that we don’t video it and post it online. Sharing your bad decisions with the rest of the world is… stupid.

Having said that, threatening violence, much less death to someone, because of something you saw on the Internet is the corollary-stupid of the previously mentioned stupid.

Note to stupid people: stay anonymous.

    Even a fool is counted among the wise if they remain silent.

    The internet is forever too. Gotta love recording stupidity for posterity. Learn from mistakes, etc…


    If you do something stupid, post it online and people get upset, don’t whine and for crying out loud… don’t try and justify your original actions by doubling down on the stupid.

    Spiny Norman in reply to TrooperJohnSmith. | October 20, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    The gloating is why I have no sympathy for them, Twitter “death threats” and all. Hey, they’re famous! That’s what they wanted when they posted their antics for all to see, and now they have to live with it.

What if the rock had fallen “naturally”? The result could have been disastrous. Rock falls can be extremely dangerous.

I agree that they did not think through what they were doing, even though they did it for the right reason. They are correct, they should have notified the park authorities first, when they noticed there was a problem.

    mochajava76 in reply to Aussie. | October 19, 2013 at 7:34 pm

    They did not do it for the right reason! Their excuse is lame. If the rock was unstable, they would not have had to push against it with all their weight for as long as they did,and “wiggle it” loose.
    They did it because they FELT like it. They celebrated it and gloated further when they posted it online.
    They should be punished for destroying a natural environment, and punished additionally for lying about it!

    This is very much like ARod claiming he took steroids from his cousin and didn’t know what they were (his first go around with steroids). Compare with Andy Pettitte, who admitted he did a stupid thing and was contrite. The public forgave Andy.

      Juba Doobai! in reply to mochajava76. | October 19, 2013 at 7:42 pm

      Exactly! They doesnt understand the physics of geology. A strong wind wouldn’t have moved that rock but an earthquake might have. Stupidly triumphalist nannyism on their part.

      Death threats are absurd, but a lot of rock types would be offended by what the guys did.

    genes in reply to Aussie. | October 19, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    What makes them experts on rock formation stability? What evidence do you or they have that the formation would have fallen? That anyone would be hurt?
    That said, the death threats are way over the top. Making them restore it might be interesting.

“death threats from people in Germany and Spain and New Zealand”

Death threats?! Just who in the hell do you people think you are sending “threats” to our good ol’ boys?

I mean we ain’t no third world nation, ya’ know! Jus’ wait ’til barry hears about this!

Oh Wait!

What can I say to those who would threaten people with death for toppling over rocks, but somehow the Bamiyan Buddhas destruction by the “Religion of Peace” is an act of “Workplace violence”?

Eco-nutty people are….nuts.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to Paul. | October 19, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Man made objects are different to a natural erosion. Both can have beauty.

    Americans bombed many of the Tora Bora caves also to destroy the Taliban who were not the 9/11 terrorists . They also bragged about it .

    Mind you if they had destroyed the real home of the hijackers Mecca then I would have been happy.

Predicted; that the derivative (created things) would be superior to the Creator,
“Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
“Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen”
Romans 1,

The adolescent lack common sense and assumed lack of accountability has come tumbling down on these morons.

This is pure vandalism. It has nothing to do with the “eco-system” or the “environment,” in my view.

I hope they are forced to pay for putting that rock back where they found it.

These guys are jerks. BSA teaches Scouts to leave a site better than you found it and warns against disturbing anything off the trail. They have no business being Scout Leaders.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | October 19, 2013 at 8:01 pm

I love nature and natural beauty as much as anybody. But it’s a frigging rock. Who wants to live in an authoritarian society in which moving a rock is a crime?

If the rock had pedagogical value or for some reason was special or unique in some way, then the bureaucrats who run the park should have posted signs or made it clear that the rock is special. I don’t think these guys understood that moving rocks around in a rock park violated some man made rule. Otherwise, I doubt they would have posted the video.

    I guarantee you you that the NPS will block future walks among these formations. These dunderheads just gave them the excuse they needed. You think the guys who blocked parking lots won’t jump at the chance to blockade a geological feature?

    This is a case of two or three morons ruining access for everyone else. Like the dimwits who feed coyotes, then report aggressive coyotes. Stupid is as stupid does…and these guys with their antics after th rock toppled are a classic example.

    No cure for stupid so the NPS will act accordingly. Much as I find much of what the NPS does absurd, along comes meatheads like this threesome and they justify it all.

    Thanks a pant-load.

      Aridog in reply to Aridog. | October 19, 2013 at 8:50 pm

      I missed that this was a state park, but the same reaction criteria applies…meat-heads damage a feature, park officials will impeded future access. And rightly so…dumb folk justify arbitrary control. The rest of us pay for it.

      It is exactly like the mighty wolf hunters and trappers who wipe out the mature population then holler like beaten babies about the aggressive young wolves they leave in place. Wreck a social structure then whine like toddlers about the results.

      It never ceases to amaze me.

    If they want to topple rocks in their backyard, have at it. This was a state park and those rock formations are a protected attraction. Those two “men” are no different from the punk ass kids around here who feel an overwhelming need to tag every building in sight. It’s the destruction of something that doesn’t belong to them that’s so attractive.

    Preserving the scenic features of a park hardly equates to an authoritarian society.

It’s rocks, folks. Then again, we may need to consult someone more knowledgeable, like Bob Costas. We have to consider if someone like a redskin native American might be offended. Or, if Barry had rocks like these …

Well, here’s the thing –
As Scout leaders they should know all about the ‘Leave No Trace’ program. In fact, they should probably have completed that training.

The Seven Principles of Leave No Trace

1. Plan Ahead and Prepare
2. Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces
3. Dispose of Waste Properly (Pack It In, Pack It Out)
4. Leave What You Find
5. Minimize Campfire Impacts
6. Respect Wildlife
7. Be Considerate of Other Visitors

I can see where they ‘could’ have thought that the rock was unsafe BUT there’s no way they should have considered it their job to decide to push it over. They weren’t on private property – they were in a State Park for goodness sake. It just seems as Scout leaders they would have to know the legalities of that.

If they really thought it was dangerous then they should have told their Scouts to stay the hell away from it and contacted a Ranger. I mean, they weren’t too afraid to walk up to the rock and push on it. That guy doesn’t exactly look like a ninja who could leap out of the way. Who’s to say it couldn’t have rolled back and crushed him to death? Would you put your hands on a boulder if you really believed it was about to fall over? Their story sets off my BS detector.

I don’t know. Either they are extremely stupid for believing the park would be cool with this OR they were engaging in some idiotic tomfoolery and thought this would be cool to record and show to people.

I think as Scout leaders they are actually more deserving of some kind of punishment than the average visitor. I don’t think there should be jail time like I have heard suggested. Perhaps a fine of a few hundred dollars? Banned from the park? Something like that. Death threats are beyond the pale and people who do that should be arrested.

    BannedbytheGuardian in reply to dmacleo. | October 19, 2013 at 9:19 pm

    Once when I went to Mount Rushmore I had to ask who the guys were up there. I vaguely recognised Lincoln but the others were bits of rock. Actually even now I only know Lincoln.

    So i see your point however I probably would not blow them up .

Wow. So many here would hang these guys, and for what?

They didn’t want kids to be killed. They were even proud of that fact!

Guess if one of your kids had been crushed under that rock, you’d tell her off for leaving her blood on it, right?

After all, there isn’t any other rock anywhere that can even resemble this unique-in-all-the-Universe-one-of-a-kind ROCK– is there?

OK, /rant. Lighten up you guys, have some passenger pigeon pie!

I rarely say this about people getting death threats, but these bloody idiots deserve them. You don’t go around destroying natural scenery inside parks just because.

    arnonerik in reply to Finrod. | October 20, 2013 at 12:00 am

    I don’t think they “destroyed” natural scenery. I think they moved a rock that looks just like all the other rocks in the area. They didn’t steal it to put in their front yard they moved it. As you walk down the trail and your feet move the trail dust are you destroying natural scenery. If they had not taken a video would anybody have noticed this nondescript rock was moved.
    Maybe we should make these guys return to the scene of their crime where we could stone them to death! Oh wait, that would be moving rocks wouldn’t it.

      tom swift in reply to arnonerik. | October 20, 2013 at 10:38 am

      The dust in the trail isn’t the scenery. Would you visit the Sistine Chapel to admire the floor rather than the ceiling?

As far as the death threats, maybe people think they should be stoned.

It is indeed reassuring that the adults charged with leading and teaching our young people really understand and appreciate nature. Sadly, today’s volunteers mostly come from Generation ME.

BannedbytheGuardian | October 20, 2013 at 2:46 am

Whoah – one of the guys seen moving the rock sued another driver for severe & debilitating back injuries.

Last month!,,,, !,,,,,,!

Lol. Fat & stupid & pushing rocks is no way to go through life.


TrooperJohnSmith | October 20, 2013 at 6:53 am

I know. Let’s have Uri Geller put the rock back where it was. That will also make all the Jooooooo-haters crazy. 😆

Hey rocks are people too.

Since the death threats were self-reported, they may not even exist. Someone who can rationalize vandalism as a zealous concern for safety should have no problem claiming that a pleasantry such as “have a nice day, —hole” is a death threat.

Aw, come on, as I said earlier here, the worst thing these idiots did was give “authority” more reason to restrict access for normal people. For that curse them…then mock them for the lie about why, easily laid low by their own video. Be kind to them, however, as there is just no cure for bone head stupid.

What if that rock had shifted back on top of the Fatty Arbuckle clone there while he was pushing on it? Whoops. Stupid is as stupid does. Sadly, parks are great places to observe it, airports are next.

[…] at the estimable Legal Insurrection, Prof. Jacobson reveals that the men are getting death threats. I agree with the professor’s conclusion: that’s […]

‘Death threats’ are like, the new thing to do. You’re nobody until you get at least one.

It’d be interesting to see those make the threat be put in the sitution of doing so. Kind of reminds me of the bravado of a guy in the back seat of a car yelling out flirations to a girl on the street, and the car has to stop at a light while the girl walks by — and the guy cowers in the back seat.

People making death threats should be treated like they attempted the act.

A lunatic fraud elected president topples the nation, and there is no outrage. This idiot topples a rock and there is outrage.

thorleywinston | October 21, 2013 at 12:52 pm

Easy fix: hitch a pair of reins up to both offenders and make them drag the rock back to the top of the cliff and put it back exactly where they found it. If they’re going to act like a pair of mules, then they should at least work like a pair of mules.

2 Men Who Toppled Ancient Rock Formation Stripped of BSA Leadership Positions as it should be