Petition Against Rainbow

Marcus L. Endicott (
Tue, 15 Sep 1992 15:19:57 -0700 (PDT)

Reproduced without permission from the Wednesday, July 22, 1992, DELTA COUNTY

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil
is for good men to do nothing." - Edmund Burke


A Petition to The United States Congress and Executive

WHEREAS a group calling itself The Rainbow Family of Living Light has
been gathering for the past 20 years annually on and around the Fourth of July
on National Forest lands, and

WHEREAS said Rainbow Family professes to have "seceded and founded a new
nation," and practices what it terms "tribal anarchy," and therefore has no
formal organization, and

WHEREAS, therefore, said Rainbow Family claims exemption from permits,
posting of performance bonds, and from adherence to other rules and standards
which are required by the U.S. Forest Service of all other private, group or
commercial users of public lands, and

WHEREAS, therefore, said Rainbow Family is totally irresponsible, and

WHEREAS, in the instance of the most recent gathering at Overland
Reservoir, north of Paonia, Delta County, Colorado, the Rainbows simply
appropriated water belonging to shareholders of Overland Ditch and Reservoir
Co. without any formal negotiations, contracts or guarantees of payment, all
illegal under long established Colorado water law, and

WHEREAS during the days and weeks before, during and after the main
gathering thousands of Rainbows congregate and pass through nearby towns where
some are seen in public nude, copulating, urinating, using drugs, panhandling,
trespassing on private property, besides stealing and shoplifting and
otherwise behaving in an insulting, intimidating and arrogant manner toward
the local population, and

WHEREAS the gatherings are attended by the heavy importation, sale and
use of illegal drugs, and deaths due to drug overdoses, as well as beatings,
sexual assaults, traffic violations and other felonies and misdemeanors, all
of which overburdens local, state and federal police agencies, and,

WHEREAS the tons of human excrement deposited during and left behind at
the site of the annual gatherings constitute a significant health hazard, and

WHEREAS gatherings of such large numbers of people within a relatively
small space of National Forest is detrimental to both the vegetation and
wildlife, and

WHEREAS forest access roads not designated to bear heavy, continuous
traffic are substantially damaged by the thousands of vehicles of all kinds
which converge at the annual gathering, and

WHEREAS the additional costs to local, state and federal taxpayers for
extra police, social and welfare services, health services and repair of roads
because of the Rainbow gatherings run into the hundreds of thousands of
dollars annually, none of which is reimbursed by The Rainbow Family, and

WHEREAS the Forest Service's own Final Report on the Rainbow Gathering in
the Green Mountain National Forest of Vermont in 1991 said: "...those who were
involved in the management of the 1991 National Rainbow Gathering unanimously
agree that the Forest Service needs to finalize procedures for requiring a
special use permit and performance bond for all large group gatherings on
National Forest System land. The potential for resource and property damage
as well as human health problems is significant. Without any formal and
binding agreements establishing minimum performance standards, agency
management objectives are difficult to achieve and guarantee and there is no
mechanism to hold the group accountable for its actions or lack thereof." In
summation, the Final Report said: "Lastly, during the 1991 Rainbow Gathering,
it became apparent that the American public has not reached consensus on the
appropriateness of large groups gathering in their national forests. To most,
the national forests represent places of beauty, tranquility and solitude;
areas where fragile ecosystems and wildlife habitats should be protected not
trampled by thousands of people. Turning a part of a national forest into a
small city, even for a few weeks, is unacceptable to many taxpaying Americans,
especially when they are footing the bill. Those who administered the 1991
gathering urge the Forest Service Washington Office to reevaluate the agency's
current position and policy regarding large group gatherings. And to answer
the question: Is this an appropriate use of America's great outdoors?" and

WHEREAS a full year has passed since this USFS field report was written
on the Vermont gathering, with no action whatever on these urgent
recommendations, and now yet another area, Delta County, Colorado, has been
invaded and victimized by The Rainbow Family, therefore

WE, THE PEOPLE, urgently petition the Congress and the Executive to
immediately, by thorough investigation and/or appropriate legislation, either:
1. Compel the U.S. Forest Service to enforce use permits, performance bonds
and other regulations on The Rainbow Family, or 2. Ban all such and similar
large gatherings from National Forests, or 3. Rescind all current rules and
regulations as they apply to use of public lands by individuals, groups and/or
commercial enterprises to the end that all may enjoy the equal protection
under the law guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

CO-SPONSORS: George Lemley, Hotchkiss; Teresa Larson, Paonia; A & L Drywall;
North Fork Center of Massage Therapy; Clyde and Arlene Morris, Paonia; L.E.
Jacobs, Ragged Mountain; L.A. Pearcey, Paonia; Cal and Barbara Sunderland,
Redlands Mesa; and many others.

The people of Delta County have suffered through a month-long invasion
mounted and executed with almost military precision by a group calling itself
The Rainbow Family of Living Light, which claims and largely gets exemption
from all established laws and rules by which the rest of us live by.
The Rainbows have been assaulting and victimizing sparsely populated and
relatively isolated communities in like manner for the past 20 years.
Throughout these past weeks, the perception is that local officialdom,
particularly the county commissioners, the Sheriff's department and the Forest
Service has spent more time and energy toward keeping us, the citizens of
Delta County, in line than in enforcing the law against the Rainbows.
Now, local officialdom seems determined to attempt to expunge the record
and issue a "positive" (read that: "whitewash") local Final Report on the
Delta County Rainbow Gathering of 1992. They are adopting the Three Monkeys
strategy of "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" while living in the
very center of the most monstrous visitation of evil Delta County is ever
likely to experience.
I, for one, cannot stand back and do nothing, any more than I could stand
aside and do nothing while a woman was being assaulted and raped on the
street. In the latter case, I would use every strength and means at my
command to stop it, yes, even to killing her attacker if necessary.
Now I invite you, each and every one of you, to join me and other good
and decent men and women in a petition to Congress and the President. The
full petition and an explanation for it is printed in full on this page. They
are already in circulation and gaining signatures. Our intent is to
distribute them not only in Delta County and Colorado but in every community
throughout the nation where the Rainbows have descended every summer for the
past 20 years. Contact has already been made with good people in Vermont and
Texas. A tentative deadline for gathering signatures has been set for October
first after which the petitions will be presented to Rep. Ben Nighthorse
Campbell and Sen. Hank Brown.
Somehow, somewhere this annual outrage must end. We might as well start
the counterattack from right here in Delta County. If we don't, another
community elsewhere in the country will be assaulted next year, and we will
have failed in our duty to our fellow man.
"Duty is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things.
You cannot do more. You should never wish to do less." - Robert E. Lee
If you are motivated to do more than simply sign the petition - things
like enlisting as co-sponsor, helping in circulating petitions, telephone and
other communication work, keeping records, or contributing a bit of pocket
change toward defraying the unavoidable expenses - call me at 872-4433.
No one of us can do everything, but each of us can do something. What we
can do, we ought to do, and with God's grace we will do. Together we can
become a mighty force for REAL positive change.
Christians and Jews, pray for us.

- Cal Sunderland
(P.S. I'm paying for this ad out of my own pocket, just in case you're

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