Wednesday, July 30, 2008

unliscensed removal of rocks

i am on lam. but on a side note, i cant complain, being on my way to lollapalooza (sp?) with good people and done with all work/formal schooling for about 3.5 weeks.
but nonetheless, i couldve done without sacrificing $150ish.
you see, i really like simple amusement and adventure. like all good adventurers, i am oblivious to when these two qualities get in the way of being a decent and law-abiding citizen. but enough with talk of ideals.
there is a rock quarry nearby. if youve never explored the premises around duke, id suggest getting on 40-west and taking an exit (a couple min. after getting on) to hillsborough. after that,t he locals will know what you're talking about and point you to it. park and make the hike. its beautiful and complete with a river that has one of the few legal ropeswings in north carolina. if you climb to the top, there are naturally rocks everywhere (think of that rock quarry where everyone screams in Garden State, or google map a rock quarry). so along with two friends from hillsborough, i explored the area and got to the top, where i felt the urge to push down one rock. tumble, tumble, rumble, boom. then a couple more. its really...awesome.
so along comes this park ranger from the road at the top. he starts shouting, "what on earth are you doing?" or something like that. then, he rambles on about kids coming of late and destroying the rock quarry's natural scenery. i was thus accused of being a regular destroyer who comes and knocks everything all about, throwing cigarrette butts and soda cans all over the quarry that i had just come to.
then came the pink ticket. up till then i really just was trying to be calm and politely interject that i just did a couple for fun and that i was sorry and willing to go all the way down and carry the rocks up. but the man was for real and bent on me coming to orange county courthouse. the conversation was short and we left the scene promptly, upset but more than slightly humored at the situation
next day, i call the park ranger department of the area and get this guy who was confused that there was a park ranger at hillsborough rock quarry. apparently, they only do inspections every few months or so to make sure everything is ok. he says he'll see what he can do and not to worry too much about it being that it was only a couple rocks. then three hours later, i get the original angry ranger on my cell phone and he is still...angry. no solution was going to be brought about.
so ive got this court date thing, during a weekday morning in september, the outcome of which wont matter very much as the conviction only costs $30 more than the $150 court cost. as well , i have a confusion of how to feel about my latest offense to the general welfare.
on one hand, i really saw no harm in doing what i was doing. i mean, if it was like 200 rocks, it could have caused erosion in some long boring process. but 4? seems harmless. maybe the collectivity built up makes all 50 of us contributors responsible, but it seems that i am bearing all of their weight (googling "unlicensed removal of rocks" doesnt yield any results).
moreover, i feel rebellious against injustice. i disagree, completely, with the fact that i have to pay people in court $150 and drive to chapel hill, missing class and probably some meal. this is totally ridiculous, especially considering that even on the rock quarry nature preserve signs it says nothing along the lines of "do not push rocks down the rock quarry" and so i am really uninformed.
on the other hand, i feel a little taken aback. ignorance is, constitutionally, not an excuse to break the law (and the offense is on statute, as research has shown). i am offending nature's grace, if only slightly in this instance. i also drive a lot and often forget to recycle and such. i contribute to world-scale problems and denigrate our children's land. i deserve reprimand, even if it is misplaced. erosion sucks.
but most of all, i am at least glad to get an interesting and probably funny story to tell. i hope you guys won't kick me out of honor council, though i understand if we must part ways for my evils. lastly, can one get a license to push rocks down the rock quarry? if so, sign me up.


kevintao+aw said...

Sam, please capitalize! It hurts my eyes! Also, I think you misspelled "unlicensed." Blogger has a spell check for that.

About your story, and what the correct thing to do is:

I believe in civil disobedience when a rule or law doesn't make sense. However, I don't feel like that was the spirit of your actions, since you didn't even know there was a rule for it. Also, I think this law does make sense. True there were other guilty people involved, but that doesn't give you the right to do what they did. It's just like highway speeding. The police can only catch one speeder at a time, and the rest get away, but that one speeder still deserves to be punished.

So technically, you were in fact breaking the law, and causing harm. Although your actions are not a big deal for you or or me, they are a big deal for the people that will visit that spot after you. They are a big deal for the park rangers who work there. You didn't mean to cause any damage, but the damage was done. I suggest you write a letter of apology to the park and the ranger and if they are decent, kind people, they will show you mercy.

samh120788 said...

1. no capitalization.
2. the magical voice over the train intercom claims that we are 2:45 from chi-town, which means im about 1600 miles closer to your mom than you are. so that. how's google?

kevintao+aw said...

lol you're in Chicago?!?

awesome! I thought that's what u meant by "lollapalooza" but I wasn't sure.

2 things you need to do in chicago: eat a chicago-style hot dog, and eat some chicago deep dish pizza. Can you promise me that?

jane.chong said...

Sam! Chicago! You are also closer to my mom than I am, but we will not get into that. You rock, by the way. No pun intended.

I tend to be a little more sympathetic to you than to the ranger -no, ignorance is never an excuse, but at times it can constitute a bona fide reason. I think every young adult has been in a really awkward situation where the worst was assumed of him/her. It is a bewildering feeling. It would have been nice if the ranger just talked to you first, and realized you are a nice guy who meant no harm. Or at least figured out your intentions, or lack thereof.

The point of a sanction, at least in my mind, is equal parts deterrence and education. Not purblind punishment. Sanctions should not be an outlet for righteous (ineffective) anger. But then, maybe that's the HC optimist in me talking.

samh120788 said...

thanks for your spirited responses, jane and ktao. no hot dogs, but the deep dish pizza was wonderful. i went to a place called giordano's on my last night in chicago and apparently its a rite of passage.
being that it was a pretty intense three days anyways, i had little chance to wonder around the city, with the one exception of a two hour car tour given by a somewhat knowledgeable host.
see y'all back in the south in a pretty short amount of time.