Douse the insinuations

By Jayson Jacoby, The Baker City Herald

The ashes were still warm when at least one media outlet speculated that some disgruntled logger, millwright or rancher might have torched the Forest Service office in Enterprise.

This connection annoys us not so much because it's premature, published before fire investigators have even determined whether the blaze was arson, but because, even by the meager standards of insinuation, it's lacking in logic.

The facts show that, in cases when arsonists target a Forest Service facility, the felons' motivation is apt to be opposite what's implied in a story posted on The Oregonian's Web site.

For instance, the people convicted of burning two Forest Service

offices in Western Oregon in the late 1990s were affiliated with groups

that detest the agency not because it allows too few trees to be cut,

as was implied in The Oregonian story, but rather too many.

The bottom line here is that we don't know what caused Sunday's fire in Enterprise.

Speculating that somebody deliberately ignited the fire is reasonable.

But it's unfair to suggest, as The Oregonian did, that the supposed

arsonist was angry about mill closures, wolves or ATV limits. Just as

it would be unfair to imply, based on their prior bad acts, that

environmentalists must have lit the match.

The Baker City Herald
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Friday October 21, 2016

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