The Spokesman-Review

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Civil disobedience admired

I take exception to Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich implying that civil disobedience is vigilantism. Would any of us consider Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi or Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma to be vigilantes?

They did not “organize to suppress and punish crime,” as the dictionary defines a vigilante. Most of us admire their courage in service to something greater than themselves. Even if they broke the law at the time.

I have not participated in a civil disobedience action. Yet I care deeply about the threat to all life, especially those I hold dear, from climate change. In late 2011, the International Energy Agency warned that the world is headed for irreversible climate change in five years unless it rapidly changes directions. “The door is closing,” IEA Chief Economist Faith Birol said. “I am very worried – if we don’t change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum (for safety). The door will be closed forever.”

I think we need more acts of courage – peacefully, safely and respectfully undertaken – to protect what’s most important to us all before it’s too late.

Bill Irving

Hayden, Idaho



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