He was protesting the auction and hoping to block the sale of drilling rights on pristine public lands, some of which were located near Arches and Canyonlands National Park in Southern Utah. On Tuesday, he was sentenced to 2 years in jail.
On Wednesday, CommonDreams.org posted Tim DeChristopher’s response to the court and judge about his sentencing. DeChristopher mentions how he raised the down payment on the land and offered to pay it to the BLM, and how the auctions were later cancelled by the Obama administration because they were deemed illegitimate.
My favorite part is the end –
I’m not saying any of this to ask you for mercy, but to ask you to join me. If you side with Mr Huber and believe that your role is to discourage citizens from holding their government accountable, then you should follow his recommendations and lock me away. I certainly don’t want that. I have no desire to go to prison, and any assertion that I want to be even a temporary martyr is false.
I want you to join me in standing up for the right and responsibility of citizens to challenge their government. I want you to join me in valuing this country’s rich history of nonviolent civil disobedience. If you share those values but think my tactics are mistaken, you have the power to redirect them. You can sentence me to a wide range of community service efforts that would point my commitment to a healthy and just world down a different path. You can have me work with troubled teens, as I spent most of my career doing. You can have me help disadvantaged communities or even just pull weeds for the BLM. You can steer that commitment if you agree with it, but you can’t kill it. This is not going away.
At this point of unimaginable threats on the horizon, this is what hope looks like. In these times of a morally bankrupt government that has sold out its principles, this is what patriotism looks like. With countless lives on the line, this is what love looks like, and it will only grow. The choice you are making today is what side are you on.
The reason I like this paragraph so much is because there isn’t a feeling of defeat in his words, but a feeling of hope and motivation. Just because he is going to jail doesn’t mean that anyone is planning to give up “defending a livable future.” This is especially evident in a video of DeChristopher taken outside the courthouse after the verdict, and if you want to get fired up about taking action, you should definitely watch this (from Bidder70).