I’m not a cop …

Friday night, on the way home from a gathering of old time big sur women (that ought to set the spine a tingling) I found some campers on my road. Now, my road is closed. They went around a barricade. No camp fires, thankfully, but still, they went around a barricade. So, I did what any Big Sur mountain woman would do. I confronted them. They confronted me back, so I informed them I would be calling the cops if they did not leave. They refused. I called the cops. I went back down to give them the opportunity to leave before the cops got there. They refused. They tried to intimidate me. Leaned against my driver’s door, shined bright lights in my eyes, and sundry other intimidation tactics. Hey, a gun MIGHT work, but these tactics? I’ve been here too long. So, this is what we are dealing with, folks. No camp fires, but lit cigarettes, cars parked on grass, and they really do NOT get it.

Any bets about whether the same MCSO officers who arrested us, intimidated us, threatened us, even respond?

One thing I did not notice when I took the picture above, is that among the goods in the back of the truck is a box which, while partially obscured, says in all probability “oak hardwood firewood.” If I’d seen that, I would have gone even more ballistic than I did. But, I did get the license plate, clearly and visibly, and a couple others of some of the people there, before they started shining flashlights into my lens and standing in front of my camera.

10 thoughts on “I’m not a cop …

  1. Hi Kate – Waiting breathlessly here for the conclusion! Do Big Sur mountain women carry an ax and six shooter – or is it all in the steely-eyed gaze?

  2. Good Lord KK…from lawyer to photographer to writer to vigilante! Take care dear Kate, I understand your willingness to do these things, but having lived in the Sierras, there can be strangers that do not understand. My friends and neighbors there didn’t understand my hiking around without protection. Perhaps we both need a lesson???

  3. I’m with Mama Z on her point of being prepared to meet up with people like that. A nice container of pepper spray sounds good to me if you don’t like guns, as well as a camera phone to take pictures like you had.

    Had I seen that box of wood, i’d probally gone balistic too. I’ve gone balistic over our nextdoor neighbors rock firepit 1 foot from our fence (here in Pacific Grove) fully in flames and sparks flying up into the oak tree thats popcorn dry several days ago after they banned open fires. And those neighbors think we are the crazy ones.

    When I was living on the mountain across from Featherbow (up in Cachagua) decades ago, I had some guys drive up onto our gated private property with GUNS out prepared to hunt anything they came across. It was 2:am. They were drunk and up to no good. 🙁

    After several verbal warnings to leave and they wouldn’t, my double barrel shotgun fired over their heads did the trick.

    I was alone with my 8yr old daughter at the time, no phone back then, and our nearest neighbor was 1/4 mile away. I walked in the dark with my daughter on the mountain path to our closest neighbors who had a phone and called the sheriff. It took Deptuy Dog 2hrs before they caught the men just down past Rex’s (still with their guns visable).

    We were very lucky we weren’t killed.

    I hope your story turns out btter than mine?

  4. Fire — A Mother’s Point of View
    From Big Sur California

    Center, Balance, our core, whatever you want to call it, we seemed to have lost it in this Country. Currently in 2008 the state of California is experiencing the worst wildfire crisis in modern state history. Why are we experiencing this significant event? There are many, many factors but probably the one at the top of the list would be because we have created designated Wilderness’s in and around many of our Forests. They have been protected & not allowed to burn for over 50 yrs. This in turn creates what we are now experiencing! I call it the un-contollable burn factor. Because the Wilderness has been allowed to grow is some areas for 40 to 50 yrs. 80% of the US Fire Resources for Firefighting are deployed in California right now! In June 1700 Wildland Fires were burning. An estimated 600,000 acres have burned so far. The Big Sur “Basin Complex” Fire is now the 6th largest in State history. There are ways to prevent these types of fire from occurring again and bringing the Forests back into balance. This would in turn prevent people from losing their homes. If we take a look back in time you will see that the Old Time Families like the Harlan’s, Trotter’s & numerous other property owners used to do control burning. I can remember specifically Don Harlan utilizing this to control the over growth of brush.

    I am deeply saddened by the loss of so many homes & the effects on our wildlife. I know that Big Sur folks rally around each other & will help everyone re-build. This does indeed speak to our center & our core, the spirit of the community. Last but not least, there were NO Lives Lost! You can re-build a house but you can’t replace a loved one.

    I have also read the blogs with the question “why didn’t the Forest Service stay with specific properties”?? The answer is in the first couple of weeks of fire season. The “Summit Fire” in Santa Cruz was coming to a close but on it’s heels were all of those other fires……. The “Indians Fire” started us out next, then the “Trabing Fire” up by Watsonville, followed by all of those Lightning Strikes! What happened to make this different? Fire Crews on the “Indians Fire”, “Trabing Fire” & a couple of other fires got “Burnt Over” inflicting serious injuries to those crews. The Season had started off with a Bang which could only be described as the “Perfect Storm”. Un-seasonably hot weather, mixed with tinder dry brush & sudden oak death laden trees blew up like a fire bomb! The situation was so bad that Administration from the different Fire Agencies ordered a “Stand Down Day” The Firefighters were there & they wanted to do their jobs but someone at the top said “You will NOT lose Your LIFE protecting a structure”. This was a Very Wise Wake up call & all mothers applauded it. I have 3 Friends whose Sons work for Cal-Fire & I know that they would not want to get that call in the middle of the night saying that your Son didn’t make it. I also have 2 Sons & a Daughter-IN-Law who are all Firefighters & if you have done your seasonal fire clearance on your property & it can be protected without jeopardy to life, they too, will stay with it. My Sons have been Firemen for 10 years & have work ethics that would put most to shame. They have each worked for 3 weeks at a time without a day off to keep Fire Houses & Engines staffed.

    We did lose one Fireman to a heart attack in Butte County. We also lost a whole crew down on the “Esperanza Fire” in 2006. We take these lessons & try to learn from them. I know that the Monks in Tassajara would have felt very bad if some kid died trying to protect their structure. Someone asked why the Forest Service didn’t stay with this one too?? The Forest Service did go in & Prep the property & put “Thermogel” on the structure. I did look at the picture of what the Monks wanted help defending & saw the box canyon it was in. That in itself tells me why they would not permit a crew to stay with it. Would you want to be the Commander who commmited a crew to die? If you are an Adult & you make the decision to stay with your property than that is your right. But if you are making the decision for someone else & they die then that is totally different.

    We as Mother’s know instinctively most of the time when & how to look out for our Children. Whether it’s looking out for our Children, our Community, or our World, we all need to do it from a fair & balanced point of view. If we would all remember to ask ourselves” Are our motives: Thoughtful, Honest, Intelligent,Necessary, & Kind? maybe we could bring our World a little closer to center! PS.Kate: Luke was there to help put out your fire.

  5. My fire? You mean the Plaskett II fire, Sandy?? Yes, I know. Our local firefighters, USFS and BSVFB have ALWAYS been here for me, in the 1996 Wild Fire, the 1999 Kirk-Hare Fire; the Plaskett I & II fires. I remember during the Wild Fire, getting up at 5 am every morning to make GALLONS of coffee for the hot shot crews coming out and going in each morning. I have always believed in our firefighters and have been in awe of how hard they work, for so little reward, including your sons, whom I have watched grow into such fine young men.

    Have you read firefighterblog.blogspot.com? He is a retired Capt. who has some interesting takes on some of the things that have happened during the Basin Complex fire.

    Since the Plaskett II fire of 2000, I have watched the fire load on Plaskett become completely out of control, with all the dead (SOD) Oaks up here and throughout the Monterey District of the Los Padres National Forest. It is scary. I know the USFS has a lot on its collective plate, and often times they are tied by fiscal realities, environmental concerns, staffing problems, and many other difficulties of which we lay people are unaware.

    Once human beings interrupt the balance of Mother Nature, we continue to do so, as we learn (or try) to be as smart as our Mother. We are still learning.

  6. I’m with this person who posted on the “Real-Scoop” blog:

    “Have some respect.. said…
    Yes…welcome back…but:

    I would hope that people coming to Big Sur to ‘see’ what happened would be respectful of the ‘aftermath’ mode that the land and the people are in there. I have heard from two people who were dealing with the aftermath of the fire in their personal lives who had ‘looky-loos’ drive up and try to engage them in conversation..asking questions, taking pictures, etc.

    By all means, visit Big Sur, have a burger, take pictures…but please respect what the residents are going through and give them room to grieve and begin the recovery effort. Better yet, nicely ask if you can help in any way, and if not, get out of the way, and give the area a chance to recover.

    And…if a road has a sign that states: ‘road closed’, ‘keep out’, ‘private’ or ‘no trespassing’ then DON’T drive there! These signs mean something. Respect that. Some signs are there for YOUR protection…the road may be dangerous. So, don’t become a nominee for a “Darwin Award” by being stupid or acting ‘entitled’ to entry. Besides, the land needs to recover as well…give it a chance.”

    This may not address the exact nature of your post about the people who went around the barricade, but here’s my take on that:

    I find that a lot of people have a sense of “entitlement”, and will go where they want and do what they want, especially if they think they are in the Wilderness. And technology (GPS, Cell phones, high tech gear, etc.) have given these type of people even more of a FALSE sense of security and “entitlement”, and brings more people ‘outside’ than would normally be there….or SHOULD be there!

    In my many years of wilderness living, I have seen…and continue to see…a growing ‘dis-connect’ in the mentality of people in regards to Nature.

    I am in the process of helping the Forest Service clean up a local wilderness road here in Ashland, where someone has decided to set up a shooting range…hundreds of shotgun shells and other bullets (polluting the ground), trash, matches (!), dead animals, etc. One part of the ‘range’ is a small wetlands, where Orchids and Lilies and other great plants like to grow. These people have shot up the plants, built fires (illegal – but no patrols), polluted the stream, and left pounds and pounds of shot-up bottles (broken glass). of course, shooting is LEGAL in this area…RIGHT NEXT TO THE ROAD!! I don’t get that!

    Anyway, my point is: a lot of people are stupid and self-centered when it comes to Wilderness behavior. I have always thought it should be required for anyone going into a Wilderness area to take some sort of Wilderness safety, awareness, and behavior classes. Maybe before they’re issued any pass when required…..but that won’r get the ones who ignore passes anywway.

    I too await the ‘outcome’ of your encounter. I have had many encounters of my own with folks like that…unsettling and disgusting.

    The link below is of a Wilderness Awareness school..

  7. Similar nightmares happened to me after we had our road paved (1983). I would come home to find people having a picnic on a knoll in the 2nd swithback, walking around on the deck, looking over the garden and lawns. When I asked them to leave, I’ve suffered from the abuse atop their initial intrusionl. Attitude with a cap A. When pointing out the fire danger, I got blank looks. They really DO NOT get it. I cringed when I heard that the Big Sur Chamber of Commerce had enabled the opening of the road so soon. Yet I know the businesses in Big Sur are suffering. It’s a tough call.

  8. So did the cops ever come? What was the outcome?

    I too have had many experiences with people who have no respect. Makes you wonder how they were raised. I would never go through a closed & locked gate or around a barricade. I have been in town and found them sitting on my deck like they lived there when I got home. And reacting to me like “why are you so upset?” A few weeks ago I had a guy walk right into my house yelling hello as he did. I was laying on the bed taking a nap. Scared the crap out of me. He too had an attitude when I went off on him. Sheeesh!

  9. I’d say they world is a crowded place, and you can’t REALLY own anything CAN you? I’m not saying they were right to squat on your land, but would you be gratified if they drove home drunk and all died?

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