Valinda Jo Elliott shows her true colors in her Sunday Aug. 4, 2002, letter to the Arizona Republic. She's the perfect poster-child of the "victim-mentality" society. Her "apology" is both surly and hollow.
She claims that anyone in her position would have done the same thing, and that anyone who claims otherwise is a liar.
Her claim is similar to someone rationalizing why he or she was involved in a bar fight, refusing to admit that they should never have been where they were or doing what they were doing in the first place.
Most people I know in Arizona keep an emergency supply of food and water in their vehicles. I don't know anyone who ventures into the forest without a compass, adequate food and water, some first-aid supplies, proper attire and sturdy hiking shoes.
When the forest was closed - despite the fact that I live within walking distance of the forest, I, and almost everyone else I know of, except the clueless Valinda, obeyed the mandate to stay out of the forest. And those who didn't were sanctioned heavily by the Forest Service.
No Valinda, I would not have done the same thing in your position because I have sense enough that I would never have put myself in your position. However, if some bizarre turn of fate had put me where you were, like anyone with any sense, I would have walked out the way that I drove in, flip-flops or no flip-flops.
I understand that the Apache tribe is considering filing civil charges against Valinda. Unfortunately, there is no law against either unconscionable stupidity or surly denial of responsibility.
Valinda and idiots like her, who choose to plunge into the wilderness equipped only with the survival gear of cigarettes, matches and flip-flops, are cordially invited to stay out of the forests surrounding Payson.
Mark Terry, Payson