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Re: SVP statement on Dr. Rensberger-Burke Museum

yes. agreed! but how many private collectors have been prosecuted for doing the same thing? I know of commercial/private collectors that have either by sale or donation made available illegally collected/exported materials to institutions, and it has not prohibited any legal acion against them. And while some of these materials were known to have had legal issues before being sold or donated, the vast majority of them were sold or donated in good faith, and thought to be 100% legal.

My point is the laws are there for a reason. All this man had to do was apply for the permits. As I understand it, he simply didn't, and there is no way that he didn't understand that what he was doing was illegal. And not just once did he break the law, apparntly he did so DOZENS of times.

If I walked into a grocery store and stole food for myself, I will be prosecuted. If I turned around and took that stolen food and donated it to the food bank, I don't doubt that I would still be prosecuted.

So, if this man knowingly broke the law on multiple occasions, for no other reasons than laziness or possibly ego, why should he be above the law in being made responsible? regardless of his intentions?

Good intentions are no excuse for knowingly and repeatedly breaking the law.

If he is not prosecuted, it simply creates the impression that the laws are there for some, but not for others.

----- Original Message ----- From: "Tim Williams" <twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com>
To: <dinosaur@usc.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2006 11:48 AM
Subject: Re: SVP statement on Dr. Rensberger-Burke Museum

Michael Schmidt wrote:

The lack of interest, Bob, I believe is simply embarassment on belalf of the academic community.

Maybe, maybe not. It may have something to do with this...

"...but the SVP Ethics Education Committee concluded that the fossil collections resulting from Dr.
Rensberger's fieldwork are properly deposited in a public institution (the Burke Museum) and have
been well curated by Dr. Rensberger and the current curatorial staff of the Burke Museum."

Which, to me, says that these discoveries were not for personal monetary gain, and the specimens in question were/are available to science. These discoveries remain "properly deposited in a public institution", rather than gathering dust in a private collection or ending up on eBay. That counts for a lot in my book. I shudder to think how many invaluable fossil discoveries never get to see the light of day because the collector(s) sell their collections privately for a fast buck, or keep them stashed under the porch.



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