Veteran and lifelong activist Roland Micklem had a hearing at the Boone County courthouse this morning regarding the September 2009 blockade of Massey Regional Headquarters in Julian, WV. Micklem took action with three others in protest of Massey’s destructive mountaintop removal mining tactics. Magistrate Charles Burnside sentenced Micklem to 20 days of jail on charges of conspiracy and trespassing.
Leaving the courthouse, Micklem said, “I didn’t expect any more and I didn’t expect any less.”
THE WORLD AND NATION……………
Well, folks, the other shoe has finally been dropped. After
waiting for almost nine months to the day since I and three fellow
activists were arrested for blocking a road to the HQ of Massey Energy
a few miles from Charleston, I had my day in court, and was sentenced
to 20 days in the regional jail in this corner of West Va.. The
sentence is to begin June 14, and I’ve been allowed to return to our
base camp here in Rock Creek to get my affairs in order, and to report
to the jail on my own on the designated date.
Jail, however, is the least of my worries. Since April 20, When
the drilling rig exploded in the Gulf and oil began gushing into the
water, I have become gravely concerned, not only over the fate of the
Gulf of Mexico and it’s rich economic and aesthetic resources, but of
the entire Atlantic coastline, which will be decidedly at risk unless
the spill is contained.
And while British Petroleum is being vigorously pilloried because
of the laxity which led to the accident, other near equally culpable
parties may be seen by simply looking into the mirror. As long as
we—John and Jane Q Citizen—remain addicted to the cheap energy to
be derived from fossil fuels, continue to demand it, and actively
persecute any public official that suggests we curb its use, we can
expect ongoing environmental abuse–such as mountaintop removal–and
periodical catastrophes, some on a potentially larger scale than the
one we are trying to deal with off the coastlines of five of our
But with collusion between the power structure and corporate
America, which has thwarted efforts on all fronts to successfully
address environmental issues crucial to the sustainability of the
global ecosystem, civilization is in peril, and we activists, as well
as all people of good will, must reorder our priorities. More than at
anytime in our history as a species, we need to build strong,
supportive, all inclusive communities, reaching across every racial,
religious, ideological, or other artificial barrier that heretofore
has divided us.
Wherever we are, whosoever we chance to meet, we must set aside
differences, seek a common ground, and recognize the humanity and
goodness of this other person. The promotion of our personal political
agenda—be it climate change, abortion, mountaintop removal, peace,
etc., etc. must be subordinate to the necessity of acknowledging that
of God in each of us.
This counsel is neither easy—or new. Cynics will scoff, those
who want to believe will recognize it as the near impossible challenge
that it is, and those who try it will fail time and time again. It
will require a stupendous leap of Faith, and the reliance on a Higher
Power that has for long been missing or marginalized in the lives of
so many of us.
At any rate this is a direction that—with God’s help—I will
commit myself to, whether in jail or out, whether with comrades or
with strangers, whether under duress, or whether at peace.
I can do no more…..