Tim DeChristopher: Bidder 70 - Part 70
On December 19, 2008 Tim DeChristopher, a 27 year old graduate in economics from the University of Utah, became infamously known as “Bidder 70” - Tim DeChristopher: Bidder 70 introduction. Right after his last final exam DeChristopher went to downtown Salt Lake City with plans to protest against the bidding of 77 pieces of land that were going to be mined and excavated for oil. When he arrived, he instead partook in the bidding and claimed 22,500 acres of land worth approximately $1.8 million dollars, with no intent of actually paying for the land. He intentionally tried to interrupt a government auction. As a result for his actions he was charged with two major felonies: violating on federal on shore oil and Gas leasing reform act and making false statements. What motivates DeChristopher to do these crimes? In the article, “The trails of Bidder 70” ,Abe Streep writes, that DeChristopher’s goal was to “end mountain-top removal coal mining in his native West Virginia”. DeChristopher claims that he wanted to protect nature and fight against pollution in the environment that causes global warming. Is he truly an environmental “savior”, or is there underlying motive for these actions. I am going to go into DeChristopher’s life to try to psychologically find out what truly motivates him to not surrender and become the “martyr for nature”.
Could it be that DeChristopher really did just have a pure love for nature and the land around him? After dropping out of Arizona State University DeChristopher got odd jobs as an outdoor guide in Missouri and later on as a guidance counselor for troubled teens in Uhta. While he was working these jobs, he lived in the wilderness in a cabin or under tarp. During these times, DeChristopher could have sought comfort with his surroundings hence, learning to love nature around him. That land where he lived, worked and grew to love is the same land that was being sold. Perhaps DeChristopher had a deep emotional attachment to that land and did not want to become an oil rig. According to the article, DeChristopher attended a speech by Terry Root, a Stanford biology professor. During the conference, “Root argued that many of the worst effects of global warming- drought, food shortages, extinction — were already unavoidable.”(S treep) This would only feed DeChristopher’s anger against the crimes against nature. While reading the article I noticed how it made DeChristopher seem selfless and truly passionate about nature due to his past experience of living and guiding people in the wilderness. By simply reading about DeChristopher the article can lead people to think that he selflessly fights for nature.
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Looking at his personality could it have been DeChristopher’s ego that motivated him to become the infamous man he is now? During an interview with DeChristopher Streep wrote that “if you disagreed with Tim, you didn’t have a place in the group”. It seems strange for such an influential man to try and find a solution to get rid of pollution without taking into consideration the argument of the opposition. With no one around him to disagree with him it possible to say that DeChristopher has a “god complex” in which he believes that all the ecologists need him to fight pollution and that he has to fight for what is right. This could have started when he first worked with kids DeChristopher claimed “I started feeling like I was helping them adjust to something that shouldn’t be adjusted to” (Streep) when he was working with the troubled kids. He’s seems to be boosting his ego as he is implying that he has exceptional skills. Throughout the article the words Hero, revolutionist and other praising words are to describe DeChristopher. DeChristopher being the youngest child could have wanted attention this whole time. With all these people constantly praising him and not questioning him he does get the attention he needs. DeChristopher just wanted the attention of the public to feed his “god complex”.
Could there be an even deeper psychological reason in his life that could be the root of all of his decisions and plans? I believe DeChristopher is subconsciously rebelling against his father. Though In the article DeChristopher said that he was never bothered that his father worked for a natural-gas industry but what DeChristopher is fighting against is exactly
what his father worked for. Also Streep writes that DeChristopher’s father “believes strong in the rule of law” which is another thing DeChristopher is fighting against. One would assume that his father is fully against all that DeChristopher is doing. The idea that his father would not approve of his actions could have DeChristopher subconsciously that was motivating him. DeChristopher did get his father’s attention but all in the wrong way.
Another psychological aspect is that DeChristopher could have simply been nurtured into thinking what he has been doing was right since he was little. His mother was the cofounder of the Sierra club, in which they sat on dirt roads to protest. DeChristopher could have seen this as a pure example of what to do to fight against pollution. Being a kid and seeing this image of the protest would have grown into something more radical as he became an adult.
In the end DeChristopher went to jail with no problem or morose. Tim DeChristopher just claimed to the court “you have authority over my life, but not my principles”. Could his strong motivation be from the love of the land, his ego or just childhood nurturing? Though
With his unbendable nature he went to jail peacefully and even telling other protestors to keep what they do even though he was being put to jail. Though he seems like a peaceful person I feel he’s more vain and is trying to get the attention the public instead of trying to find a solid solution to pollution