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Letter: Time to stop protester's unlawful criminal activities

As protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline continue to unlawfully vandalize private company machinery and occupy land that they have been ordered to remain away from, my social media accounts continue to spotlight these acts of masked men and women. Not only are these people continuing to hide from any sense of law and order by anonymously committing these crimes without any repercussion, they are also hiding from the very identity that they are claiming to be fighting to protect.

The fact of the matter is that by masking their faces, these men and women are proving that they are simply looking for attention, and so they break down fences, spray-paint equipment, and firmly claim that somehow they are peaceful and the victim of law enforcement violence.

The protesters are ironically illustrating to the public their position as mere puppets for out-of-state, anti-energy firms that are attempting to control this fight far away from the protest site or any accountability of their own.

When this protest is all said and done and the protestors tire of their crusade, it will be time to take off the masks, go back to work, and realize that the correct way to handle issues is not to hide anonymously behind a mask and avoid all accountability for vandalism, but to stand up and vocalize concerns in a lawful, civil manner, as such processes are intended.

It's time to stop these unlawful criminal activities. It's time for these protestors to realize their position in this fight and allow the pipeline to benefit our state's and country's infrastructure. There is no pride in hiding behind a mask.

Don Steig,