Anchorage, AK — Those paying attention currently, know the utter state of chaos that is the United States government, the economy, and the uncertainty of things to come. To persevere from this chaos, the US needs massive changes and nothing short of a miracle. So, it seems like it would make sense for government agencies to focus on navigating out of this mess instead of squandering resources on irrelevant nonsense. However, according to a recent case out of Anchorage, the state couldn't care less about avoiding the impending catastrophe. They'd rather focus your tax dollars and resources on three men illegally standing in a river. Seriously. They even bragged about it on Twitter.
Adding to the ridiculous nature of going after three men for standing in a river is the fact that this case is three years old. The incident happened in 2018 and authorities have apparently been "investigating" it ever since, clearly illustrating their disregard for efficient use of taxpayer dollars.
According to a press release from the US Attorney's Office in Alaska:
Three men have been federally charged for illegally leaving the Brooks Falls viewing platform and entering a closed area of the Brooks River at Brooks Falls, Katmai National Park on August 9, 2018. The men are all charged with creating a hazardous condition in a closed area and approaching within 50 yards of brown bears.
The information alleges that David Engelman, 56, of Sandia Park, New Mexico, and Ronald J. Engelman II, 54, and Steven Thomas, 30, both of King Salmon, Alaska, left the authorized Brooks Falls viewing platform and waded into the Brooks River below Brooks Falls. The three men created a hazardous condition as brown bears were feeding on the falls and in the Brooks River just below the falls. As they waded into the Brooks River the three men came within 50 yards of the brown bears.
If convicted, they each face a maximum penalty of six months in prison, a $5,000 fine and a year of probation. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
Katmai National Park and Preserve in southwestern Alaska protects over 4 million acres of land and coastal resources including the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes and the Brooks River area which is particularly notable for a rich habitat that supports one of the world’s highest concentrations of salmon and brown bears. The park and preserve also protects 9,000 years of human history integrated on the landscape and offers unique opportunities to explore vast wilderness and immense volcanoes, watch brown bears, fish for salmon and trout, and many other activities.
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According to the National Park Service, the national park is a "safe zone" for bears and visitors are required to adhere to certain rules to protect the bears. Though the actions of these three men certainly endangered their own lives, they did nothing to endanger the bears and simply waded into a river to take pictures.
Because they did this, these otherwise entirely innocent men now face the possibility of spending 6 months in a cage and taxpayers are out all the money it took to get to this point. Does this seem like justice to you? Or, does it seem like a massive waste of taxpayer resources being squandered on making an example of three men who made a silly choice? We choose the latter.