MY VOICE: Plenty of victims in shooting
I shot seven trespass cows from my driveway on Glass Hill Road. I shot them to stop them from grazing a sensitive riparian area within the Union County livestock district (closed range) that I had spent considerable time and effort restoring. I understand that my actions were irresponsible and that the victims and consequences are numerous. I wish to acknowledge publicly that I acted outside of compassion and of the law, and to make apology and amends to all who have been hurt.
The first victims are the cattle. I dispatched them with the same regard for life that I show for game animals. However, they did not deserve such. I have a deep respect for all life and will practice this daily.
The second victims are the owners of the cattle. As reparation, I am in the process of reimbursing the owners to their full expectation.
The third victim of my actions, the one closest to my breaking heart, is my wife. She is enduring an enormous amount of stress and embarrassment as a result of me. I will never be able to make full atonement to her, but I will spend my life trying.
The fourth victim of my actions is the law. I acted in ignorance of the law, which is undermining to the laws that help maintain a civil society. I have a newly deepened appreciation for local law enforcement, the complexity and difficulty of the jobs that they do, and the political pressures that they operate under. They have my complete respect.
The fifth victim of my actions are my patients, some of whom may lose trust in me. To all of you, I apologize. As a practitioner specializing in addictions and detox treatment, I hope that the new level of empathy and understanding that I have gained of how my patients may interact with the legal system will improve the effectiveness of my clinical work.
The sixth victim is the very thing that I sought to protect, habitat conservation. I have tried to protect and enhance critical habitat for threatened and endangered species in areas around the Grande Ronde Valley, while at the same time, allowing public access for hunting and recreational use of these lands. I hope that my current actions will not detract from my own or other’s efforts to continue to provide protections for the diversity of life that enriches all of our lives.
To these and any other individuals who I have hurt by my thoughtless actions, I express my apology and intend to make amends in whatever ways that I can.
I ask only one thing of the people of Union County. If you have bitterness, judgement or resentment in your heart towards me as a result of my actions, please do not generalize these to my wife.
She is an innocent victim and her heart is made of gold.
Joel Rice, 57, of La Grande is a psychiatrist. Rice is board certified in psychiatry and addiction medicine, according to his profile with Blue Mountain Associates and Grande Ronde Recovery.
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