Rainbow/Legaliaison Update 5/18/93
There are many different preceptions of reality. In service to
contrasts its preception of the new regulation (in bold) with the
preception of the Eugene, Oregon Register-Guard, May 8, 1993 (in
"NEW RULES PROPOSED FOR FOREST GATHERINGS
The U.S. Forest Service has proposed new rules
requiring equal treatment for large groups of people
seeking permits to gather in national forests."
To say this rule requires equal treatment is a classic example
of Orwellian newspeak (i.e., "War is Peace"). As things have
stood from time immemorial, people have had an "inalienable
right" to peaceably assemble. An "inalienable right" is
inherent, that means it cannot be taken away, or, as the First
Amendment guarantees, it cannot be "abridged." By contrast
a "privilege," like, for example, driving a motor vehicle,
requires a "authorization" (a "permit." Unlike a "right,"
government may legally abridge privileges. Because people
always had the equal right to peaceably assemble on public
lands, there is absolutely no need for any "new rules requiring
"The new rules change the definition of a "group
event" to avoid discrimination against groups such as the
Rainbow Family, as well as fringe political or religious
More doubletalk. The extent to which "group event" has been
redined merely gives the government the power - previously
prohibited under the First Amendment - to discriminate
against any "group event" which the government might choose
to discriminate against. In real terms, this regulation would
only "prevent discrimination" to whatever extent the
government may decide not to discriminate.
"The rules also govern distribution of leaflets and other
Right, but why?
"The Rainbow Family, a loosely knit group formed in
1972, holds annual gatherings of thousands of people on
national forest land to celebrate nature and communal
"The group held a 1978 gathering in the Umpqua
National Forest that drew 15,000 members, and 1,000 to
2,000 members met for a regional nine-day gathering in
June 1991 at an Umpqua forest site about 60 miles east
The Rainbow Family also gathers to pray for peace on earth
and to communicate. Before this proposed regulation, all of
that - Freedom of Thought, Expression, and Assembly, was
considered "constitutionally protected behavior." If this
proposed regulation becomes law, that "protected behavior"
will become "a crime," punishable by six months in prison and
"The 1991 meeting was opposed by groups and
individuals who complained that the site, in proposed
spotted owl habitat, was too sensitive to support such a
"But Forest Service officials allowed the event to be
held, noting that the much larger 1978 gathering hadn't
damaged the forest."
The First Amendment does not protect someone who
"falsely yells 'fire' in a crowded theater," so the Forest
Service could prohibit gatherings if they posed some real
danger. Under new proposal the Forest Service could
prohibit gatherings if an official simply feels the proposed
activity will not meet "seven criteria." These "seven
criteria" also happen to be the same things that officials are
always "concerned" about - but which never actually
happen. This regulation will elevate such groundless
"concerns" to a "sufficient cause" for a prohibition.
"Forest Service rules for granting permits had
discriminated between "recreational" events such as
Boy Scout gatherings and "special events," such as
demonstrations, parades 'or any activity involving the
expression of views'."
More bulldinky. Because "Recreational" events, such as
snowmobiling, and dirt biking, might well tear up the
public lands, they would be legitimate targets of regulations
aimed at protecting resources. On the other hand, "activity
involving the expression of views," which does not harm
resources, should be exempt from regulation as an
"A federal court in Texas, ruling for the
Rainbow Family, in 1988 struck down those rules and
the manner in which they were enforced."
The Texas court held that the government violated the
Administrative Procedure Act in implementing the
regulations, and expressed a strong opinion that the
regulations were unconstitutional. Now the government is
trying again. If they find a judge who believes that the First
Amendment is an anachronism which was practically
superceded by television, they will succeed.
"The new rules would require permits for all
"noncommercial" groups of 25 or more, require officials
to say in writing why they denied a permit, and provide
for quick appeals."
This can only be "good," if you believe the government is
"reasonable." Because the government claims that denying
a permit may entail lengthy investigation, the only official
requirement is that an application be denied "without
"Forest officials could still require that the
activities not interfere with other activities and not
endanger health, safety or the environment."
Just trust government agents ** who believe, for example,
that it is reasonable to restrict the "dissemination of
literature" because of potential "damage to resources" ** to
be reasonable in determining what endangers health, safety
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
LEGALIAISON, P.O. Box 27217, Washington, D.C. 20038
(202) 265-5389 - Collect calls from jail ONLY!!
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