Educate Yourself (Part 2, a visit with the dictionary)

At the time of the writing of this section tensions are very high in the American West. The “stand off” in Oregon that includes the armed occupation of a federal building on federal land and the destruction of federal property, we feel that visiting a dictionary is warranted.

Many interests that have historically  pounded the range to dust by the cloven hooves of public land ranchers are increasingly upset. Some of the most pacifistic people are beginning to respond in kind to the bully of public land, in speech, not action.

To the vast majority of Americans this issue is just reaching their “living room.” Those of us that advocate for environmental issues, have lived this reality for a very long time. Frustrations run deep with the slow pace of change to create any equity of voice. As progress gets made we often see it over turned through intimidation tactics that lead to closed ranges being opened, funds intended to protect the landscape used to create “cow chow,” and even rulings of federal court Judges rendered meaningless by lobby efforts in Congress that create “slight of hand” maneuvers that continue to allow gazing permits with rangeland assessment.

There are huge distinctions in language, legal and otherwise, that work to create the realities we live in. As advocates for wild horses and burros we feel that these definitions are key to create the kind of changes we seek, and the world we hope to live in. “Right and wrong” are realities we create every day. The end does not justify the means if the reality you seek to create carries words like “equity and justice.”

We simply offer the following definitions for you to add to your thought process:

Advocate; (

verb (used with object), advocated, advocating. speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly:
He advocated higher salaries for teachers.
2.a person who speaks or writes in support or defense of a person, cause, etc. (usually followed by of):
an advocate of peace.
3.a person who pleads for or in behalf of another; intercessor.
4.a person who pleads the cause of another in a court of law.

Equity; (The thrust of advocacy for environmental concerns including wild horse and burro advocacy. Equity in process must occur in order to preserve and protect the environment and the rights of all Americans, not a select few)

noun, plural equities.
1.the quality of being fair or impartial; fairness; impartiality:                                                  2.something that is fair and just:
the equities of our criminal-justice system.
3.Law.Also called chancery. the application of the dictates of conscience or the principles of natural justice to the settlement of controversies.
Also called chancery. a system of jurisprudence or a body of doctrines and rules developed in England and followed in the U.S., serving to supplement and remedy the limitations and the inflexibility of the common law.
an equitable or legally valid right or claim.
equity of redemption.

Some legal definitions, (The First Amendment does NOT protect speech and actions that cause imminent danger to others, incite illegal activity, etc) :

Incitement — The act of one person causing another to consider committing a crime, regardless of whether in fact the crime was committed. Incitement is the attempt to draw in another person as a conspirator or an accomplice. The Supreme Court has held that, to be a crime, incitement must go beyond mere advocacy of illegal actions to cause “imminent lawless action.” In other words you can make a comment that something unlawful should happen, but you can not then follow it up by saying “Go and act.”

Reckless disregard — In New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964), the Supreme Court defined actual malice as a state of mind in which a person or publication makes an untrue and defamatory statement about a person “with knowledge that it was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false or not.”

True threat — A real threat to a person’s safety made by another person. The Supreme Court in Watts v. United States (1969) said threats to personal safety are not protected by the Constitution.

Clear and present danger — In Schenck v. United States (1919), Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes articulated this test, which said that the government may suppress speech that presents a clear and present danger, as long as the government can show that that danger is both real and imminent. (If you want to understand this concept more and how the balance between freedom of speech and creating a real threat to other evolved go here: