I've decided to take a break from my old timer's tips series to deliver some bad news and a rant. I really hate being the bearer of bad tidings but in this case it's warranted because things aren't looking good for suction dredgers in California. It's already been SIX long years since dredgers in the once-golden state were free to dredge for gold, and things seem to be going downhill despite the valiant fight put up by the New 49'ers, the Western Mining Alliance (WMA), Public Lands for the People PLP), and individual miners themselves.
Is the Writing on the Wall?
Again, even if you live in another state or out of the United States altogether, don't think for a moment that this same sort of negative trend targeting small-scale gold miners can't affect you, because it can and most likely will somewhere down the road. Take that from someone who knows. As I've said before I've seen this trend building since my dredging days in California back in the 1980s and we (small-scale gold miners and dredgers, that is) didn't take it all that seriously at the time. Sure, it angered us when the Sierra Club and other so-called green groups tried to run us off California's gold-bearing streams back then but we just went back to work thinking that these messianic environmentalist types were just pissing in the wind as far as getting their anti-dredging, anti-mining agendas across. Boy, were we ever wrong.
(The end of suction dredging?)
The latest news from the WMA indicates that Judge Ochoa in San Bernardino, California has denied the organization's injunction to allow suction dredging. This after past indicators suggested that Ochoa might rule in favor of California's dredging community and all the hard work, money, and struggle that the WMA and the other mentioned groups have put into this fight for the past six years. Why am I not surprised? In case you're wondering, the WMA took their fight for the right to dredge to the Southern California courts because they thought (and probably rightly so) that the legal system down south might not be so prejudiced against miners as the courts in Northern California. Dave McCracken of the New 49'ers knows only too well how difficult it's been to get any favorable dredging rulings from Siskiyou County and even now his club members are being threatened and issued citations for trying to pursue the letter of the law from past decisions from the courts which hemmed and hawed trying to play both sides against the middle in this small-scale miner versus green cult member struggle. Ultimately, the powers aligned against small-scale gold miners in California and especially suction dredgers are proving too strong, methinks. Again, I don't like admitting defeat but I do believe that the writing's on the wall for all to read.
I Would Hazard a Guess
I used to love my home state, the place I was born and where I was raised. I was proud being from such a place of beauty. But despite the solid goodness of most people there, California has been turned over to weak-willed and weak-minded politicians who play the "which way the wind blows" game all too well and are adept at lining their pockets with folding green thrust at them by powerful, well-organized, and richly-funded environmental and other "progressive" interests. Just in case you didn't know, progressive is a self-descriptive term used by wannabe socialists, left-wing agitators, effete university and college intellectuals, "diversity" trumpeters, self-congratulatory liberal demagogues, ivory tower Hollywood "save the fishies" types, and virtually every other sort of social aberrant, deviant, and dope-smoking deadbeat you could gather together within the boundaries of a single U.S. state. I would hazard a guess that most, if not all, of the aforementioned have never worked a full day of real work in their entire lives and have no concept whatsoever of fending for themselves without government grants, stipends, welfare, or other hand outs coming their way. Thus, they have no affinity for the working class heroes they so loudly proclaim to love and who are ostensibly the sole reason for their messianic mission. What hypocrites they are. To paraphrase the Good Book, "Oh, ye nest of vipers!"
Keep Thinking That
Now those of you reading this post who don't live in California or the United States take heed here and now. Don't sit there smugly thinking that your rights as small-scale gold miners or dredgers can't be taken away too. They can and most likely will at some point unless this trend of the rule of the many by the few is stopped dead in its tracks. You see, the progressives and the greenies have much in common. What they want ultimately is power, absolute power so they can dictate to each and every one of us through their puppets and talking heads how we will live under the umbrella of their world view. They've already managed to break down much of the value system in this country that taught right from wrong and have instilled in the young a disdain for hard work and a view that society and the world at large owe them whatever their little hearts desire. No worries, Big Brother will take care of you. The Dear Leader has your best interests in mind. Do what feels good, do what you like no matter what, and never concern yourself because someone else will take up the slack. This is slavery masquerading as freedom. No more, no less.
Too heavy handed, am I? Extrapolating too much and making a mountain out of a molehill? After all, we're only talking about suction dredgers in California not being able to do their thing, so why get so far out there, right? You keep on thinking that way while they tell you that plastic bags at the grocery store are a no-no, that you can't smoke in public places, that you have to buy this type of light bulb because it's "environmentally" friendly, that your kids have to accept "diversity" in all it's questionable glory, and on and on and on. Keep thinking that when they tell you you can't use a sluice box or even a gold pan anywhere any longer. Yep, keep on thinking that while your freedom of choice gets chipped away bit by bit until you have no choice at all.
I find it quite appropriate I'm writing all this the day before our Independence Day. Think on that. And while you're at it, keep prospecting and mining while you still can...
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2015
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org