"What a bunch of Twinkie eating, stupid, fat idiots," John fumes. Danielle comments a few spaces below, suggesting that the two men be tossed in jail, and not JUST left there to pay their debt to society, but rather, she suggests, the two should be visited in the middle of the night by a fellow inmate with a disturbing kind of love on his mind. There are nearly 1000 comments on the 2 News Facebook page, and those 2 make up the "polite," things people are saying about Dave Hall and Glenn Taylor. Also, the two men have reportedly received death threat. The reaction that the so called Goblin Topplers are receiving is akin to what you might hear people seethe about a child molester, or puppy killer.
I was caught off guard by how vehemently people would react to the actions of the two men who noisily pushed over a hoodoo rock formation at Goblin Valley State Park. The video has, as they say, gone viral, as shows Taylor belly up to a 200 million year old rock formation, wiggle and wrestle the 2 ton sandstone boulder to the ground as his son and his buddy Dave, running the camera, whoop and high five as if Taylor had just won a hot dog eating contest. The two men contend when they stumbled upon a wobbly boulder, that it was just a "gust of wind," away from tumbling to the ground and possibly killing someone. Dave Hall told the Salt Lake Tribune, he was "prompted," into action.
When I stopped Taylor as he was pulling out of his driveway, he was unaware that an investigation into his actions had already been launched. "I thought we were doing a good deed," he murmured sheepishly. It appears the weight of the consequences of that toppled boulder was beginning to rest on him. Since I interviewed him, in subsequent interviews, he has shown weary remorse for his actions.
Dave Hall's is different. On the stoop of his large, newly built mini-mansion, "you know what, I don't regret it one bit," Hall chirped, forearm resting casually on the cherry wood door frame, "would you do it again," I asked, "absolutely," he says with headstrong, unabashed, certaintly, "ab-so-lute-ly," he continues, as if the question is offensive. I half expected him to look into the camera lens, tip his baseball cap, bow, and say with a grin, "you're welcome humankind."
In a country that seems unable to agree on anything, religion, politics, even how to keep the trains running, (see: Government shutdown) it seems we can agree on the conscience altering beauty of nature. Maybe that's why people are having such a primal reaction to the goblin toppling.
Places like the Goblin Valley, weathered, worn, and shifted over 200 million years, unite everyone. If you believe in an all seeing, all knowing omnipotent God, then you can marvel at his, or her majesty. If you believe it is all just a wonderful cosmic mistake, you can shake your head and stare into the draping of stars above you and ponder how it all got there.
I can only image how many lives have been altered, under the night sky, laying beneath a sandstone hoodoo, under a cloak of celestial pinpoints. How many people have been inspired to put on a monk's cloak, sell all their worldly possessions, or commit to gaining everything money can buy?
There is something rather comical about the Goblin formations, they make you think of the drippy, dopey animation in a Dr. Suess book, but there is also something empirically serious about the place, a place that has outlasted presidents, nations, and empires. A place that precedes our species, and people believe it deserves a certain reverence. When Glenn Taylor pulled a WWF wrestling move on that boulder, and his friends whooped clownishly, and flexed their imaginary muscles, some people might think the gaggle looked as if they were at a Super Bowl party, celebrating after a "pick 6," and wondering who will bring the guacamole. The school yard antics don't respect the wonder in which they find themselves. You could say, It's like spiking a football in the Sistine Chapel.
The men believe they saved lives, but some people would likely argue, it isn't up to a salesman for a pre-paid legal company and a person in a souvenir San Diego T-shirt, to permanently alter a piece of nature's masterwork.
In a few days the hub bub about the hoodoos will pass, and Taylor and Hall will return to their lives, and most people will forget about the video, and the faces connected to it. More importantly the Goblins will continue to stand sentry in Emery County, and will outlast us all, depending of course, on what two Highland, Utah residents might have planned for their Memorial Day Weekend.