The Persecution of Jeremy Hill (William Norman Grigg)
Friday September 2nd, 2011
Jeremy Hill of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, shot and killed a grizzly bear that threatened his children. The federal government is seeking to imprison him for violating the Endangered Species Act. Idaho Governor Butch Otter wrote a nauseatingly sycophantic letter to someone he insisted on addressing as “The Honorable” Ken Salazar, the federal Secretary of Interior, pleading that the Regime be measured and magnanimous in carrying out its persecution of that innocent man.
“I recognize the federal jurisdiction under the Endangered Species Act, but I strongly support the right of individuals to defend themselves and others in such situations,” sniveled Otter. “One of the flaws of the ESA is the premium it places on protecting species at the expense of everything else. Although an individual can protect human safety under the law – as Jeremy felt he was doing – it’s a shame that the Endangered Species Act still does not enable citizens to protect their private property and pets in the same manner.”
That aspect of the ESA is not a “shame,” but rather the predictable and intended result of the measure, which codifies a worldview called “biocentrism” in which human beings are simply one species among many, and individual property rights do not exist. What is shameful, however, is Otter’s continued insistence on posturing as a representative of the people of Idaho, rather than a kennel-fed lapdog who knows the exact length of the leash connecting him to his masters in Washington. Were the Governor a worthier canine specimen, he would recognize this as a time to bare his teeth.
After killing the bear that had invaded his property and endangered his family, Hill contacted the local office of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Two officers were dispatched to examine the bear’s remains, and they certified what should be obvious to people whose minds aren’t cankered with eco-collectivist cant: Hill’s actions were entirely justified and more than a little courageous.
Jack Douglas, the Boundary County Prosecutor, conducted his own inquiry into the shooting and concluded that Hill was “forced to take lethal action” in order to protect his wife and four of the couple’s six children. Only one of the bears was killed, Douglas noted, and Hill “didn’t fire at the retreating bears because they no longer posed a threat.”
This ends the matter. If Butch Otter, who loves to swan around in cowboy attire, had sufficient sand to fill an hourglass, he would inform Salazar that no federal official in the State of Idaho will be permitted to have any contact with Jeremy Hill or any member of his family. He would also inform Commissar Salazar that any federal official who molests or harasses them in any way will be taken into custody and evicted from the state. Otter would then issue instructions to that effect to the Idaho State Police and, if necessary, the Idaho National Guard.
After all, isn’t Otter the same intrepid, independent-minded badass who loves to speak about “nullification” and “interposition” – the same bare-knuckled slab of Rocky Mountain individualism who proudly “nullified” the Obamacare monstrosity in the Gem State?
Well, no – not exactly.
This is the same Village People-grade ersatz buckaroo whose attorney general collaborated with the Obama regime to punish a group of orthopedic surgeons who organized to protest federally imposed price controls on medical treatment. He’s the same Janus-faced specimen who postures as the indomitable foe of federal meddling in health care – and then proudly announces that he has secured millions of pilfered dollars and is willing to permit Obamacare to operate within Idaho on a “case-by-case basis.”
Given that substantive record, it’s not surprising that Otter, in dealing with the Jeremy Hill case, reacted by tugging on his forelock, rather than thrusting out his chin.
“I would sincerely appreciate your looking into this case and assisting any way you can,” Otter simpered in his letter to Salazar. With the unfailing instinct of a natural collaborator, Otter pointed out that Federal prestige might suffer if the persecution of the Hill family continues. The Feds need “to consider the impacts to grizzly recovery efforts because of Jeremy’s case,” Otter wrote. “There is great public outcry about this issue, and prosecution may further damage community support for recovery efforts.”
Here Otter sought refuge in a familiar collectivist dialectic, treating Hill’s legitimate rights and the illegitimate demands of the federal eco-bureaucracy as if they have comparable moral weight – and implicitly seeking a “compromise” that will minimize the damage done to the victim while protecting the usurped power of the aggressor. This is unsatisfactory: Any attempt to punish Hill – even to the extent of stealing the time necessary for a preliminary hearing – would be a crime.
If Jeremy Hill had been wearing a government-issued costume, and his “victim” had been an unarmed human being, rather than a federally protected grizzly bear, he would be enjoying a paid vacation rather than facing financial ruin and the prospect of a year in prison. The talismanic phrase “officer safety” would be ritually invoked, officials would perform the appropriate roles in a pantomime of an inquiry, and the entirely predictable ruling of “justified” would be delivered.
In the event that the details of this episode were too well-documented to deny, and sufficiently outrageous to shock the public conscience, a settlement would be paid with money extracted from tax victims, and the offender would be discharged without criminal charges or personal civil liability. That’s how this matter would play out, once again, if Jeremy Hill had been a law enforcement officer who committed an act of criminal homicide, rather than a father who killed a wild predator that threatened his children.
Boundary County, some will recall, is where a wolfpack of hired killers call the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team laid siege to the home of political non-conformist Randy Weaver, murdering Weaver’s teenage son Samuel and his wife, Vicky. Lon Horiuchi, the FBI sniper who admitted to the killing of Vicky Weaver, was spared federal prosecution under an exotic doctrine described by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as “Supremacy Clause Immunity” – which in practice operates exactly like the discredited “Nuremberg Defense.”
Under this doctrine, according to the Court, the only significant questions were these: Was Horiuchi acting under orders from his superiors, and was the kill-shot justified by "his subjective belief that his actions were necessary and proper"? Once those questions were answered in the affirmative, Horiuchi was immunized from either civil or criminal prosecution.
A few months after handing down that ruling – which devised what dissenting Judge Alex Kozinski memorably denounced as a “007 Standard” for lethal force by federal agents -- the Ninth Court partially reversed that decision by acknowledging that the State of Idaho could prosecute Horiuchi for criminal homicide under state laws. Denise Woodbury, an assistant prosecutor from Boundary County, was prepared to prosecute the FBI sniper, but then- incoming county attorney Brett Benson – reacting to pressure from the state government – demurred.
There is no doubt that Jeremy Hill acted in a “necessary and proper fashion.” No human being was harmed as a result of his actions. Yet Lon Horiuchi remains at large, and no doubt collects a federal pension – and Hill may well lose his home and his freedom (whatever that word means for a subject of the detestable Regime that presumes to rule us).
The persecution of Jeremy Hill offers that rarest of things – an opportunity for a government to act in defense of an individual’s rights by interposing itself between the victim and the assailant.
Jeremy Hill is not going to prison. If Otter and the silly little government he heads aren’t willing to interpose on that man’s behalf, there are plenty of us living in Idaho who will.
William Norman Grigg [send him mail] publishes the Pro Libertate blog and hosts the Pro Libertate radio program.
Copyright © 2011 William Norman Grigg