So sue me! I’m old fashioned. I still believe words have meanings and, when misused, they create the wrong impression. In this day and age, when we quibble over the meaning of “is,” it isn’t such a surprise when news reports use hot-button words to spin a story beyond mere reporting.

If you read that vandals did something, what mental image do you get? Ruffians, gangsters, tough guys – whatever – doing intentional and great damage to property. Right? The inference is a bunch of lawbreakers doing evil deeds.

In fact, my trusty and Webster’s Dictionary defines vandal as “one who maliciously destroys … public property.” Pretty clear, and to make it even more clear, destroy means to tear down, demolish, wreck, ruin, do away with. It also means, “to kill.”

So if you saw the Sacramento Bee newspaper report which describes that in June and July “vandals crowded around the head gates of the Upper Klamath Lake and broke them open” – what would you think?

I’ll bet your mental image wouldn’t be of a group of middle-aged-and-older farmers gathered around and a few who opened the gates of the canal. There was no wrecking, ruining or demolishing. And they weren’t vandals! What a slander on the part of that reporter and the paper to perpetuate deliberately the image of the beleaguered farmers as doers of destruction.

Frankly, if it really were vandalism, one might wonder why there were no arrests since both sheriffs and local police were there as were armed federal marshals. The farmers, I might add, were not armed. Needless to say, officials weren’t happy the gate was opened, but it was allowed, and the meager trickle of water which came through was merely symbolic of the desperation of those 1,500 farm and ranch families who are being destroyed by their own government.

I’m talking about the Klamath Basin Crisis. Back in April, as a result of an environmental lawsuit, the feds shut off the entire water supply to those farms and ranches, allegedly because the water was needed to protect the bottom-feeding sucker fish in Klamath Lake.

All the water was shut off. You need to understand that. Imagine a farm or a ranch with animals but with no source of water. What do you think would happen? Yes, that’s exactly what happened, and more.

Fields parched, animal food dried up, crops died, income stopped, mortgages foreclosed, loans called, animals died and others moved away, families ruined and lives destroyed.

For what? A fish, and not even one which has an impact on anything. There are plenty of sucker fish, which are considered trash fish in any event.

But the lawyers did their black magic and the judge spoke and the bureaucrats followed orders. They even brought in visibly armed federal cops from the Presidio in San Francisco to stand guard. The message pretty clear. And it was clear what was going on. The very government who enticed homesteaders to come to the land and develop it years ago was now reneging on the deal and pulling the life-sustaining rug out from under the citizens who trusted their own government. They feel betrayed, and justifiably so.

When the gates were opened in July, Washington finally couldn’t ignore it anymore, especially after sending in the troops. Interior Secretary Gale Norton gave the farmers a token – releasing just enough water to last barely a month. It wasn’t even a token.

The peril of the families galvanized sympathizers across the country, and a huge rally is planned for tomorrow, August 21st in Klamath Falls. Three convoys, from Montana, Nevada and California, are headed in with donations of food, hay, relief supplies, money earned at auctions held in towns along the convoy routes, symbolic gallons of water to be poured into the dry canals and lots of spirit to support the devastated families.

There will be a rally, speeches, music, 150 mounted horsemen of the U.S. Freedom Cavalry, the pouring of those gallons of water as well as a tour of the area so visitors will understand what’s going on.

Of course, the feds are a bit wary and have armed officers on guard at the head gates because the rally takes place at the time the current allotment of water is used up. They don’t know what to expect.

I don’t think they realize what has been ignited at Klamath. Those people don’t intend an armed revolution, but they do see the need for a revolution against the tyranny that has been foisted on all Americans under the guise of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Water Act, the Endangered Species Act and all the rest, which, with the clout and dollars of the green crowd, are forcing the government to choose animals, fish and trees over living, breathing human beings – the very people whose hard-earned money is taken in taxes to support the government that is destroying them. Revolutions have been started over less, and I for one believe it’s time for a change.

If you want information about this crisis, check out the volunteer website. Read it and weep. Your tax dollars at work.

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