Reader and commenter, Wild Iris, has provided us with some first-hand information on the ugly practice of tree spiking and the black-hearted Earth First!ers who are compelled to indulge in this gruesome method of killing people who make a living in the lumber industry.
Wild Iris definitely has the experience to speak to this issue. He says,
[A commenter] made this point…
“…a spiked tree as it can cause severe damage to a tree logger with a chain saw. The chain can snap off when it hits the spikes and seriously maim the person handling the chain saw, and in worst case scenario kill him, just like an IED in Iraq could kill and maim an innocent person.”
Like the commenter, I also thought it was the loggers who are at risk. However, Wild Iris says loggers are safe enough. It is the sawyers at the mill who face death by the wreckage caused from those deliberately planted spikes.
Wild Iris’ report:
As someone who was a logger off and on for seventeen years, I can vouch for a fact that the comment above is not the case.
Over the years I hit more rocks with a chainsaw than I can count. I’ve even managed to hit the tracks on a CAT, the forks on a loader, choker-bells, the stakes on a log truck and cable rigging. Hitting some steel with your chainsaw just totally trashes some of the teeth on the chain, but this is hardly a show-stopper.
It is understandable that people not familiar with logging would make this assumption, so it is not my intention to be critical here. However, it is important to correct this point so that Gates of Vienna readers will continue to be the most fully informed of all.
Earth First!ers know why they spike trees, but they have never, to my knowledge, shared their intentions with the public. It is the sawmill that is the target of tree spiking and it is the sawyer and off-bearer that are most at risk of being maimed or killed by this practice of tree-spiking.
Here is a You Tube video of a sawmill operation. It isn’t the most professionally run operation I’ve seen and it is small by old growth standards but it does show the potential problem with tree spiking:
The guy in front is the off-bearer. It is his job to make sure that as the slabs come off the head rig, they fall onto the conveyer and are moved out of the way before the next pass of the head rig. Right behind him you can see the bandsaw. Bandsaw blades are 0.25” to 0.5” thick, 1 to 2.5 feet wide and 2 to 3 stories high; if they hit anything buried inside of the log being cut the bandsaw blades will shatter. Shrapnel goes flying everywhere, while the remaining sections of the bandsaw blade peel off of the saw and go flying around the cutting floor.
This particular sawmill is an old fashioned one so there is another crewman known as the setter riding the carriage in the background. He would also be vulnerable to the effects of tree spiking. The sawyer is not visible in this video. In this particular mill operation, he would be to the right of the off-bearer, out of view of the camera.
Earth First!ers went out of their way to place their spikes higher up in a tree, precisely so that fallers would not hit those spikes with their chainsaws and as a result discover the spiking.
However, mills learned to deal with these planted IEDs…
– – – – – – – – –
Mills began using metal detectors to scan logs before they went into the mill. Earth First! responded to this by going to ceramic spikes.
Real nice folks these Earth First!ers, aren’t they?
I hope this helps people understand some of the issues behind tree spiking.
The Earth First! individuals that I encountered during my years in the woods were scary folks. On a couple of occasions, the presence of certain Earth First! people made my skin crawl, as if I had just encountered pure evil in human form.
Given my experience with Earth First!ers, both in the woods as a logger and again in town as a college student, I have no doubt that they have taken on the same mental pathologies that drive Al Qaeda terrorists and Islamic suicide bombers.
I am also convinced that there is only one thing keeping many Earth First!ers from acting out in the same manner as Islamists. It is the remnant of Judeo-Christian morality that still permeates our culture, no matter how attenuated this moral sense may have become.
Release that moral brake and the eco-suicide bomber would be the same as Al Qaeda terrorists, killing the innocent in the name of their idolatry: Earth itself.