I've been working a lot lately and also preparing photos for some galleries and haven't posted much Yosemite News lately, but there have been some newsworthy items. There was one troubling incident about a week ago where Badger Pass employees received death threats from some US soldiers on leave.
Every winter, many students from the southern hemisphere spend their summer vacations working at our winter resorts. In Yosemite, most come from South America with a handful from Central America as well. They are typically university students who pay a handsome sum to get a legal visa and a plane ticket. Often, the money they work barely covers the cost of their trip. They come for the cultural experience, to improve their English and to have some fun. Many are students in business, engineering, law and will likely be opinion leaders in their countries in coming years. They are generally excellent employees and, more importantly, fun and interesting people who give a little cultural color to an otherwise culturally dreary winter in Yosemite.
Last week in the Badger shuttle six soldiers, rumored to be returned from Iraq, though that is unconfirmed, started harrassing some of these friends and employees and telling them they had to speak English in the United States and to get out if they didn't want to speak English. When some people on the bus told the soldiers that their behavior was inappropriate, the soliders threatened to kill them and said they could dump the body anywhere in the park and it would never be found and so forth. This was confirmed by several people on the bus. Unfortunately, they were not stopped and caught by the rangers. Some of the people who were involved in the incident, however, said that the following day the soldiers threatened a Mexican and were caught and arrested, but I don't have certain confirmation of that. All I can say is that I hope the judge throws the book at them. I don't know what kind of America they think they are sworn to defend, but it's a lot different than the one that I value (i.e. one that welcomes legal immigrants). Anyway, a sad and disgusting episode that has marred the winter season in Yosemite.