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Barton freed after 6 years for starting Colorado's worst fire
The Associated Press ^ | 06/02/2008

Posted on 06/02/2008 10:08:37 AM PDT by george76

Terry Lynn Barton has been released from prison after serving a six-year term for starting the worst wildfire in Colorado's recorded history.

Barton, 44, pleaded guilty to arson charges stemming from the 2002 Hayman Fire, which blackened 138,000 acres, destroyed 133 homes and forced more than 8,000 people to evacuate.

She was a fire spotter for the U.S. Forest Service at the time

(Excerpt) Read more at denverpost.com ...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; US: Colorado
KEYWORDS: apologists; arson; arsonist; barton; fire; forestservice; hayman; haymanfire; terrybarton; usfs

1 posted on 06/02/2008 10:08:38 AM PDT by george76
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To: dynachrome; MtnClimber; jazusamo

Do you think the six years in prison served by Terry Barton, the person who started Colorado’s worst wildfire, is the right length of time?

Not long enough ... 59.06 %

Don’t know ... 18.60 %

Too long ... 12.55 %

Don’t care ... 9.767 %


2 posted on 06/02/2008 10:11:42 AM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: george76

6 years = 138,000 acres, destroyed 133 homes.

That’s not justice, IMO.


3 posted on 06/02/2008 10:13:14 AM PDT by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: george76

Hell hath no fury etc.

Too short a sentence...set an example for the other jobsworths working for Uncle Sam in any capacity.


4 posted on 06/02/2008 10:13:38 AM PDT by relictele (Web addicts anonymous meets here 24/7)
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To: jazusamo

I can’t believe that fire was 6 years ago. Seems much more recent.


5 posted on 06/02/2008 10:15:17 AM PDT by American Quilter (John McCain--today's Scoop Jackson democrat. He should change parties.)
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To: jazusamo; GladesGuru; LucyT

Because of legal technicalities, the woman who started Colorado’s worst forest fire will not serve time in state prison after she finishes a federal sentence.

http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_8722795


6 posted on 06/02/2008 10:16:31 AM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: george76

Actually, I think it’s OK. The woman was obviously a little on the flaky side and started the fire by burning her ex-husband’s “Dear Jane” letters even though she knew there was a high fire danger. She was grossly negligent and then she tried to cover it up.

She didn’t intend the result, so I think we’re talking about the difference between manslaughter and homicide. There’s a difference between somebody who flips a cigarette butt or even burns their ex’s letters and somebody who sets out to torch a town.

She’s never going to earn a dime, because if you will read the article, she’s going to be paying millions of dollars of restitution (which she can’t, of course, but her wages at whatever job she gets will still be garnished). Her life is ruined, and there’s really not much more anybody could do to her. Keeping her in jail is pointless because then the State of Colorado has to pay for her.


7 posted on 06/02/2008 10:23:48 AM PDT by livius
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To: American Quilter

Agreed, I remember following it and it doesn’t seem like 6 years ago.


8 posted on 06/02/2008 10:23:50 AM PDT by jazusamo (DefendOurMarines.org | DefendOurTroops.org)
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To: george76

Why do so many FReepers always advocate for more and more punishments for every possible infraction? 6 years is a big chunk of one’s life to lose. Or shall we soon start handing out 30 years for spanking your own children?


9 posted on 06/02/2008 10:23:58 AM PDT by Teacher317 (Thank you Dith Pran for showing us what Communism brings)
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To: Teacher317
Or shall we soon start handing out 30 years for spanking your own children?

There is a difference between spanking a child and burning down 133 homes.

6 years is a big chunk of one’s life to lose.

It took her innocent victims probably a couple of years apiece to get their lives back together after losing their homes. If they can collectively spare a couple of hundred years to undo the damage she caused, she can spare 20.

10 posted on 06/02/2008 10:31:28 AM PDT by wideawake (Why is it that those who call themselves Constitutionalists know the least about the Constitution?)
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To: wideawake

BUMP!


11 posted on 06/02/2008 10:46:45 AM PDT by Publius6961 (You're Government, it's not your money, and you never have to show a profit.)
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To: Teacher317

She burned 138,000 acres, destroyed 133 homes, polluted the water supply, the air quality ...and could have killed people.


12 posted on 06/02/2008 10:48:58 AM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: Teacher317; livius

I agree with you. She served her time. Her restitution order means she’ll never get ahead financially. She’s wrecked her family life. She’s radioactive in terms of employment. Nothing will undo what she did, but she’s paying a heavy price for a very stupid act.


13 posted on 06/02/2008 10:50:22 AM PDT by colorado tanker (Number nine, number nine, number nine . . .)
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To: wideawake

Many people lost their homes and livehood.

Lacking enough insurance and light on cash, many working people’s homes have still not been re-built.


14 posted on 06/02/2008 10:51:57 AM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: wideawake

There is also a huge difference between intended and unintended consequences.

Lets face it you don’t accidentally rape someone, but had she.. she’d have been out before now.

I think 6 years for stupidity is probably fair enough justice.


15 posted on 06/02/2008 10:57:03 AM PDT by HamiltonJay
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To: wideawake

Not to mention that she started the fire for the most frivolous and careless of reasons and she was SUPPOSED to be preventing fires in the first place.

We can’t outlaw stupidity and vanity unfortunately.


16 posted on 06/02/2008 11:00:35 AM PDT by relictele (Web addicts anonymous meets here 24/7)
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To: george76

Not “been rebuilt” by whom? She’s not able to rebuild these homes anyway, and keeping her in jail is just going to take more money away from Colorado.

Without wanting to sound too cruel, people - even “working people,” in your words, although whether you admit it or not, even executives and CEOs are working - should get insurance or otherwise should be self-insured and be able to rebuild on their own. If you want the state of Colorado to pay for your rebuilding, then go and ask the governor to do this. That comes off everybody else’s tax dollars, including those of the very people who are having their houses rebuilt.

Things happen. Supposing a lightning strike had started this fire? Who are you going to collect from then?


17 posted on 06/02/2008 11:08:20 AM PDT by livius
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To: livius
Actually, I think it’s OK.

No doubt written by someone who wasn't affected by the act of this moron.

Keeping her in jail is pointless because then the State of Colorado has to pay for her.

Every time it rains up there we continue to pay for what that psycho did.

18 posted on 06/02/2008 11:13:10 AM PDT by A.A. Cunningham
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To: george76
and could have killed people.

People did die as a result of her actions. One lady died of an acute asthma attack directly related to the smoke. There was also a five-man fire crew that died in a wreck on their way to support the fire.

19 posted on 06/02/2008 11:16:29 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS
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To: IYAS9YAS

to support the fire = to support the fire-fighting operations.


20 posted on 06/02/2008 11:18:16 AM PDT by IYAS9YAS
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To: IYAS9YAS; beaversmom; jazusamo

Thanks.

I remember that crew from Oregon coming to help.


21 posted on 06/02/2008 11:20:02 AM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: livius

She was working for the USFS, not the State of Colorado...” then go and ask the governor ...”

Hopefully, at least indirectly, she will now help some of the people who were burned out.

One thing that she and the Forest Service should do, but are very timid...is creating defensible spaces on public lands. Massive fires ripping thru neglected public lands do not normally stop at the property lines.

Private landowners often understand and create defensible spaces on their own property.

Another example : allow logging of blown down timber that still has some economic value. Combine that with foresters who should be allowed to make the final forestery decisions as to a health forest and defensible spaces next to private property.


22 posted on 06/02/2008 11:34:40 AM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: relictele
"Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens."

Friedrich Schiller, Die Jungfrau von Orléans

23 posted on 06/02/2008 11:39:37 AM PDT by Peelod (I do renounce Hillary! and all her pomps and works.)
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To: george76

The SMokey the Bear, “don’t throw your cig out the window, it causes forest fires ads make me laugh”. If you look at past history, federal employees, like this lady, start most of these big fires.


24 posted on 06/02/2008 11:43:39 AM PDT by Red Boots
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To: HamiltonJay
There is also a huge difference between intended and unintended consequences.

A bankrobber whose intent is to simply intimidate a clerk and walk out with a few grand and no injuries to anyone may wind up in a gun battle that claims several innocent lives.

His initial intent does not excuse the unintended consequences that followed from his act - he intentionally committed a crime, but the crime he committed spiraled out of control.

This woman intended to start a fire and she deliberately left the fire unattended and unextinguished.

She probably never dreamed that her stupid and irresponsible act would have such enormous consequences, but lack of foresight is not a legal defense.

25 posted on 06/02/2008 11:44:41 AM PDT by wideawake (Why is it that those who call themselves Constitutionalists know the least about the Constitution?)
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To: wideawake

This woman did not walk into a bank with a weapon and threaten anyone.. she stupidly set a fire to burn some dear john letters that got out of control.

Your continued rediculous attempts to equate willfully dangerous behavior with stupidity just makes you look well, more foolish that this stupid gal.


26 posted on 06/02/2008 11:48:20 AM PDT by HamiltonJay
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To: george76

Terry Lynn Barton

27 posted on 06/02/2008 11:48:27 AM PDT by kcvl
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To: george76
One thing that she and the Forest Service should do, but are very timid...is creating defensible spaces on public lands.

Excellent point.

I'm a member of the Gettysburg Friends, and one of the ongoing issues in battlefield restoration is getting permission to remove trees that were nonexistent in 1863 and which obscure important features of the battlefield.

As one battlefield guide said: "Heaven forbid that the Parks Service ever chop down a tree."

28 posted on 06/02/2008 11:52:05 AM PDT by wideawake (Why is it that those who call themselves Constitutionalists know the least about the Constitution?)
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To: HamiltonJay
This woman did not walk into a bank with a weapon and threaten anyone.. she stupidly set a fire to burn some dear john letters that got out of control.

She engaged in very reckless behavior which could have killed people.

She did not set the fire accidentally. She set the fire on purpose.

Your continued rediculous attempts to equate willfully dangerous behavior with stupidity just makes you look well, more foolish that this stupid gal.

Your descent into personal invective demonstrates the weakness of your argument.

Again, lack of foresight is not a legal defense.

This woman had as thorough a knowledge of the danger of forest fires as anyone - yet she deliberately set a fire in a wooded area in the dry season and left it unattended.

29 posted on 06/02/2008 11:57:46 AM PDT by wideawake (Why is it that those who call themselves Constitutionalists know the least about the Constitution?)
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To: george76

When informed of the conclusions of the forensic investigators BARTON recanted her previous statements and admitted that they were false. BARTON stated that she had not smelled smoke at all and that, in fact, she had not discovered the fire, but had, in fact, started the fire herself. ... She reported that she looked at a letter that she had received that morning from her estranged husband. She became angry and upset and decided to get rid of the letter. BARTON stated that she drove past the campfire ring off of Road 290 and decided to burn the letter. She walked to the campfire ring, knelt down, and ignited the paper letter with a match or matches she had in her purse. … As she drove past the campfire ring, she claimed that she observed that the fire had escaped from the campfire ring and was on the ground in the vicinity of nearby pine trees, and beyond the trees in the grass. She reported the fire and tried to suppress it, without success.”

The U.S. attorney doesn’t buy Barton’s burning-letter story, either. The indictment charges her with “maliciously” rather than accidentally starting the fire.

Barton radioed for help at 4:55 p.m. that afternoon, and volunteers from tiny Lake George came to engage the fire. Initially, she blamed criminals in a gold van for starting the blaze that she’d tried to fight on her own, a blond smoke-eater whom one friend called “an awesome girl.”

But then questions flared up. What gold van? What criminals?

“I did it,” Terry Lynn Barton told one investigator. “It was a stupid thing.” And with those words, the 38-year-old U.S. Forest Service employee

In March 2008, Barton was re-sentenced by a different judge to 15 years of probation.


30 posted on 06/02/2008 11:59:16 AM PDT by kcvl
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To: george76

Barton served 6-year state and federal terms concurrently and now faces 15 years of state probation and four years of federal probation.

She was ordered to pay $14.7 million in restitution to the federal government and state prosecutors are seeking an additional $27.5 million in restitution. A judge has not yet ruled on the state request.

State and federal prosecutors say it will be up to Barton’s probation officers to arrange payments on the restitution debt.


31 posted on 06/02/2008 12:01:33 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: wideawake
lack of foresight is not a legal defense.

It is if it negates mens rea. I don't know whether that's applicable here--Colorado obviously doesn't follow common law arson--but I don't think it's quite fair to say that her lack of foresight isn't an issue here.

32 posted on 06/02/2008 12:16:21 PM PDT by Publius Valerius
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To: wideawake

Open spaces with no trees provide an excellent balance to other areas.

Elk, deer, buffalo...like eating grass more than bark. Grassy fields are also good for eagles, hawks...to catch their lunch.

I love trees, but a balance is nice.

The Gettysburg battlefield is a wonderful place. Removing trees as the area was full of farms in 1863 seems to be a thoughful idea. Getting a better feel of what really happened and what the armies experienced would be good ?


33 posted on 06/02/2008 12:17:22 PM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: livius

More than likely she will have to make monthly payments no where near what it would take to repay the debt and at some point a judge will excuse the rest of the fine for her good behavior.


34 posted on 06/02/2008 12:28:38 PM PDT by ontap (Just another backstabbing conservative)
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To: kcvl
She was ordered to pay $14.7 million in restitution to the federal government and state prosecutors are seeking an additional $27.5 million in restitution

And is soon to be an Expat. Woo, I'd be all worried about that probabation violation. NOT. 42million bucks can really slant your perspective.

35 posted on 06/02/2008 12:39:46 PM PDT by Malsua
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To: kcvl

Many believe that her burning of a Dear John letter was another part of her no so clever scheme.

Her job with the Forest Service had been seasonal and she wanted to move up the ranks to higher pay. I recall that she had recently been promoted to year round ? ( I could be mistaken ).

Her job that day was to note and report any new fire activity ? ( Again, I am basing this on a fading memory ). If accurate, then she reported this alleged gold van which could help advance her career. Also discovering a small fire could have been a job enhancement ( at least in her own mind ).

Apparently, she stuck to her lies until a serious fire arson investigator was brought in. They had the damning evidence; only then, did she change her story.

Pity anyone driving a gold van that day.


36 posted on 06/02/2008 12:45:39 PM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: wideawake

Please, she burned some dear john letters, that’s it. Reckless behavior? Please. If that’s your definition of reckless, you really don’t get out much.

You continue to try to equate this womans stupidity with willful dangerous intent, which is just on its face ludicrous.

She’s paid her debt, her name will be mud for the rest of her life, etc etc etc. Keeping her in jail longer serves no justice, serves no deterant, serves nothing.

Fact is simple, forest fires happen, whether by a human being doing something stupid or lighting. You build a house in an area prone to dryness and forest fires, your house burns down, you don’t go thinking the entire loss was due to one persons actions. Just like when a river floods and you live in a flood plain you don’t go saying it was simply the levy being poorly constructed that lead to your house burning down.

You can continue your vengence motif, but frankly its tired, ill justified, and wins none to your side. She’s paid her debt for an act of stupidity.


37 posted on 06/02/2008 12:49:44 PM PDT by HamiltonJay
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To: kcvl
"and state prosecutors are seeking an additional $27.5 million in restitution. A judge has not yet ruled on the state request."

What the hell is the point, they'll never collect, and all it does is burn up more taxpayer payroll and the court's time for an exercise in futility. They should send the legal bill to the moron state prosecutor and make him pay for it out of his own pocket.

38 posted on 06/02/2008 1:10:10 PM PDT by rednesss (Fred Thompson - 2008)
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To: HamiltonJay
Please, she burned some dear john letters, that’s it. Reckless behavior? Please. If that’s your definition of reckless, you really don’t get out much.

First, the letter-burning is her claim.

The prosecution believed that she set the fire intentionally to play hero by combatting it.

Again, even though she was a trained firespotter, she - according to her own account - deliberately set a fire in a wooded area during the dry season and then walked away from it.

You continue to try to equate this womans stupidity with willful dangerous intent, which is just on its face ludicrous.

She deliberately set a fire in at a time and in a place which she knew from her professional training to be a dangerous area for starting fires.

It would be ludicrous to suggest that she was not fully cognizant of what could happen. But - again relying on her own account - she was so mad at her ex-husband she didn't consider the implications of her actions.

She’s paid her debt, her name will be mud for the rest of her life, etc etc etc. Keeping her in jail longer serves no justice, serves no deterant, serves nothing.

The very question at issue is whether she has "paid her debt" or not. How long should one spend in jail for destroying more than 30MM of personal property? For putting hundreds of people out on the street? For terrorizing 8,000 people into fleeing their homes?

Some would say 10 or 20 years instead of 6 would be appropriate.

I would also point out that punishment and deterrence are two ends of imprisonment, but another very important element is recidivism. What will she do the next time her lovelife takes a turn for the worse?

Fact is simple, forest fires happen, whether by a human being doing something stupid or lighting. You build a house in an area prone to dryness and forest fires, your house burns down, you don’t go thinking the entire loss was due to one persons actions.

Ah, but in this case it was indubitably due to one person's actions.

Just like when a river floods and you live in a flood plain you don’t go saying it was simply the levy being poorly constructed that lead to your house burning down.

What if someone decided to remove a few hundred bricks from a key point in the levee because they wanted them to stack on top of some dear john letters?

After all, who knew the river was going to rise that high before the levee was fixed?

You can continue your vengence motif, but frankly its tired, ill justified, and wins none to your side. She’s paid her debt for an act of stupidity.

If the debt was paid, as you repeatedly claim, why is she still liable for more than $14MM?

$14MM that her debtors will never see more than a few thousand dollars of.

The only thing of value that she has is time, and she shouldn't be allowed to keep as much of it as she has.

39 posted on 06/02/2008 1:19:26 PM PDT by wideawake (Why is it that those who call themselves Constitutionalists know the least about the Constitution?)
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To: HamiltonJay

Look up the definition of “reckless.”


40 posted on 06/02/2008 1:21:24 PM PDT by fightinJAG (RUSH: McCain was in the Hanoi Hilton longer than we've been in Iraq, and never gave up.)
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To: george76; 2ndDivisionVet; A knight without armor; Alexander Rubin; AmericaUnite; ...
Man, 6 years gone by since that fire.

FREEP THIS POLL ***PING!*** FRmail me if you want to be added or removed from the Fearless Poll-Freeping Freepers Ping list. And be sure to ping me to any polls that need Freepin', if I miss them. (looks like a medium volume list) (gordongekko909, founder of the pinglist, stays on the list until his ghost signs up for the list)

41 posted on 06/02/2008 2:55:36 PM PDT by dynachrome ("Socialism is the feudalism of the future.")
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To: Teacher317
Or shall we soon start handing out 30 years for spanking your own children?

 Is it just me or are more people on FR "arguing" like liberals?  And if you don't understand or take offense, you may be the Oracle of the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.

42 posted on 06/02/2008 3:10:05 PM PDT by Harrius Magnus (I am the town square.)
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To: dynachrome

Sometimes it seems like yesterday.


43 posted on 06/02/2008 3:25:40 PM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: george76

I had been hiking in that general area 2 weeks before the fire and the Forest Service was putting out a small wildfire where I was. Always wondered if she was one of them.


44 posted on 06/02/2008 3:28:42 PM PDT by dynachrome ("Socialism is the feudalism of the future.")
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To: dynachrome

Excellent point.

Some worry that she may start another fire, now that she is out.

Hopefully, her parole officer is not swamped with lots of other cases.


45 posted on 06/02/2008 3:57:47 PM PDT by george76 (Ward Churchill : Fake Indian, Fake Scholarship, and Fake Art)
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To: HamiltonJay
Fact is simple, forest fires happen, whether by a human being doing something stupid or lighting

The thing that makes her actions worse was that it was a terribly dry year. There was a total fire ban in the National Forests in Colorado. Part of her job was to enforce that ban. There were already several fires burning in Colorado. She knew the conditions. And, still, she started a fire.

Did she start it to burn a letter from her husband? Or did she start it hoping she would be a hero when she put it out? She is the only one who knows for sure.

This wasn't one of those fires that 'happen'. This was a fire that was deliberately set by a woman who was being paid to prevent a fire from happening. She ruined a lot of people's lives. Her actions lead to the deaths of several people. She killed a lot of animals, domestic and wild. And she lied and lied and lied and lied about her actions.

Put me on the side of those who think her prison term was far too short.
46 posted on 06/02/2008 8:52:00 PM PDT by goldfinch
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To: george76

Whether people in Colorado are left or right, they don’t much like morons like Barton messing with the forests. Another 20 years would have been appropriate.


47 posted on 06/03/2008 7:02:58 AM PDT by cookcounty (Obama reach across the aisle? He's so far to the left, he'll need a roadmap to FIND the aisle.)
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To: Teacher317
6 yrs is good enough....this wasn't a deliberate crime, more likely a stupid accident....

I want the people that hurt children to be taking up space in prison, not the ones caught up in freakish accidents.....

48 posted on 06/03/2008 10:17:26 PM PDT by cherry
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To: cherry
I want the people that hurt children to be taking up space in prison, not the ones caught up in freakish accidents.....

Ok, I was at the fire briefings in Woodland Park every day. I doubt if you were there when the people who lived in certain subdivisions were called in and came out being carried by their families because they lost everything. Or talkign to your local waiter who had no place to sya because his house burned down.

How about making decisions on which personal items you were supposed to take with you since you were being evacuated? Levae the pictures of the kids or take the furniture given by grandma?

How about the woman who died on the 1st day? Arson resulting in death is called MURDER.

She tried to be a hero and it got out of control. She committed murder and it should be the sentence, whether stupidly or not.

To watch a 300 foot wall of flame, several miles wide approaching your house is a sight I will never forget. I will also never forgive her for what she put Woodland Park and the surrounding communities through: she deserves a life sentence for murder at a minimum.

49 posted on 06/03/2008 11:30:01 PM PDT by wireplay
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To: livius

The whole “jilted-wife burning love-letters” story fell apart pretty quick under questioning. It wasn’t an accident, she was a fire-spotter looking for attention by doing just that—spotting a fire. And as a bonus, the fire that she started would ensure that she would collect some good overtime. That’s job security. Unfortunately, she grossly underestimated how fast the fire would spread. 138,000 acres and 133 homes later, the entire state of Colorado hates her guts forever.


50 posted on 06/05/2008 9:19:18 PM PDT by Excuse_My_Bellicosity (Liberals: can't live with them, can't ship them to Syria.)
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