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Hi, my name is Jim Macdonald, and I have an odd assortment of interests. In no particular order, I love Yellowstone, I am an anti-authoritarian activist and organizer, and I have a background in philosophy, having taught at the college level. My blog has a lot more links to my writing and my other Web sites. In Jim's Eclectic World, I try to give a holistic view of my many interests. Often, all three passions show themselves interweaving in the very same blog. Anyhow, I think it's a little different. But, that's me. I'm not so much out there, but taken together, I'm a little unusual.

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    Thursday, May 10, 2007

    A few words on a beautiful soul injured and arrested documenting Yellowstone bison struggle

    In April 2002, I wrote about Dan Brister of Buffalo Field Campaign:

    Dan was a beautiful soul. I doubt I have ever met a more pleasant person, and I have met many pleasant people in my life. I just felt helpless, though, trying to convey how much I loved Yellowstone, and I felt small because in my heart I knew he must love it more.

    On May 9, 2007, Dan Brister--who is the man on the left holding the banner during the April 2002 march--was injured and arrested while videotaping hazing operations perpetrated against Yellowstone's bison like he has for so many years.

    I lost touch with Dan as priorities changed and life imploded around me, but I have never forgotten him. It makes me sad that he has gone through this and yet happy that he remains defiant and vigilant working on behalf of those who are victims of politics and economics based on a misplaced sense of entitlement.

    I have witnessed and encountered many similar situations with law enforcement over the years. My firsthand encounters are so palpably similar to what has been described by Buffalo Field Campaign in their press releases that I must admit that I cannot imagine another side to this story, not after having met Dan, not after having seen police in action in situation after situation. I suspect that some of you reading this will be quick to jump to a different opinion, though you have not seen firsthand the kind of things police routinely do to anyone who has the nerve to stand up against their crimes. There are several accounts on this blog alone that tell you what we deal with here, in public, with a police force trained to deal with activists.

    I'm sickened, even though I have grown to expect it to happen. It hits a raw nerve in me. The least I can do is raise up Dan Brister and point people to what's going on not only in the case of he and his friends but with the bison of Yellowstone.

    Please check out Buffalo Field Campaign, and for more information on this story, also check out:
    and further updates as they appear in the Yellowstone Newspaper.


    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    It would be nice if they remembered the lessons from the 60's...

    Peaceful protest.
    Do not resist.
    Go limp.

    If they attempt to subdue you and you fight, you WILL get hurt.

    But I suppose it garnered publicity, so it's worth it.

    People just shouldn't be surprised. Everyone knows you DON'T RESIST. Duh.

    5/11/07, 11:02 AM  
    Blogger Jim Macdonald said...

    I will be responding to this and a similar blog comment posted here hopefully when I get some time.

    First of all, it's a strange to assume that the arrest was resisted. I had a friend thrown against a wall in DC and he was charged with felony assault on a police officer. All he had done was ask why someone else was being arrested, which is protected speech even within the law. His charges were ultimately dropped but only after numerous court appearances. There was no evidence against him and numerous eye witnesses who could contradict the police account. My direct experience with police suggests they lie in their reports quite a bit of the time.

    However, I am not really going to write about the facts of a case neither of us know nothing about (except in my case some firsthand knowledge of Dan) but rather on the whole notion of civil disobedience . I am not going to say that resisting arrest makes a great deal of tactical sense; I am talking instead about the question of what civil disobedience is and whether that's the only appropriate social response to unjust activities.

    And, before one assumes what I'm going to write, it should be known that I am a pacifist. I am not, however, a passivist. I think there's a lot of things that need to be straightened out before one casts stones at these men (or raises the hallowed ground of 60s protest of whose caricature no one dare speak against).

    More soon (I hope - I can't promise it - a lot going on with me right now),


    5/11/07, 11:15 AM  

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