We are all Grandma Red

virginiaThe government wants to take your property to give it to a private business. You protest the move by setting up camp on your own property.

Naturally, you end up being charged with trespassing.

This is actually happening right now in Roanoke County, where Theresa Terry, “Grandma Red,” is joining her daughter, also named Theresa, in a protest on their property, trying to block the Mountain Valley Pipeline, which obtained an easement to run its natural gas pipeline through the Terry family’s property.

The protest continues, as law enforcement hopes the stalemate ends peacefully, with mother and daughter surrendering, but there’s no guarantee of that happening. Meanwhile, the pipeline company has asked a federal judge to declare the Terrys in civil contempt, exposing them to potentially enormous fines.

There is something contemptible about the proceedings, and it doesn’t involve the actions of the Terrys.

It’s their property, and the government is taking it from them against their will, and for a supposed public good that will undoubtedly have significant negative environmental impacts.

Gov. Ralph Northam, for his part, is punting, saying there’s nothing his office can do, because the project has won federal approval, doubling down on the equivocation last week by offering the idea that the only fair course at this point is to let state and federal regulators do their jobs.

Ah, yes, letting the government folks do their jobs, which isn’t at all how we got to this point.

And people wonder why there’s all this mistrust of government and cynicism about how big money games the system to its advantage at the expense of the little guy.

Well, they can’t arrest us all, and maybe it will have to come to that sometime soon.

Column by Chris Graham


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