Vail Arsonists To Plead Guilty

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SAM Magazine-Eugene, Ore., Sept. 29, 2006-Chelsea Gerlach and Stanislas Meyerhoff, accused of involvement in arson that destroyed Vail's Two Elk lodge in 1998, have cut deals with prosecutors in exchange for consideration in their sentences and cases pending against them. Both individuals were part of a group of 13 individuals responsible for 18 separate attacks committed between 1996 and 2001, including the Two Elk fire.

Meyerhoff pleaded guilty to 54 charges related to seven separate attacks in a plea deal that should result in a sentence of 15 years and eight months in prison. As part of the deal, authorities in Michigan, Arizona, Washington, Wyoming and California will not prosecute potential cases against him.

Prosecutors have asked that Gerlach receive a 10-year sentence as part of her deal, which also includes non-prosecution of potential cases in t Wyoming, Washington and California. Gerlach pleaded guilty to 18 charges in five separate attacks, including the Vail arson.


Getting off easy

Considering the damage that Gerlac, Meyerhoff et. al. did, the sentences are amazingly light. A bank heist of comparable value would generate more time in the Graybar Hotel.

It's good news that these people are going to jail. But anyone who runs a finger around their collar and breathes a sigh of relief is fooling themself. Terrorism is currency in today's media environment - a guaranteed story, and it doesn't matter if it's environmental terrorism or something even more nefarious.

Those who use terrorism as a tactic understand what makes news, and why. That's why modern terrorism works. Ski resorts need to understand this, and plan accordingly.