Two US Boy Scout leaders on Friday said they have received death threats after a video of them toppling an age-old rock formation in the western state of Utah went viral online. Nearly 2 million people have watched the video of Glenn Taylor pushing a massive 170 million-year-old red rock over in Goblin Valley State Park, filmed by fellow Scout leader Dave Hall.
The pair, who celebrated by doing high-fives after the rock fell, said they pushed it because it was loose and they feared it could topple onto a visitor.
However, facing possible felony charges, they admitted they probably should have found a park ranger before taking action themselves, regardless of whether it was filmed.
“I think we made the right decision, but probably the wrong method,” Hall was reported as saying in the Salt Lake Tribune. “We take full responsibility for whatever mistake we made and we’re open to whatever that means from the state, from the Boy Scouts’ [of America] office, etc.”
The YouTube clip of the pair cheering and laughing after Taylor used his body to lever the huge rock has gone viral since being posted earlier this week.
“I’ve got over 100 death threats on the Internet already,” Hall said. “I’ve got people all over the world telling me they are going to kill me because I made the decision that lives are more important than this rock staying here a few more hours.”
They had been leading a small group of Scouts in studying and playing amid the eerie and spectacular rock formations.
Utah State Parks spokesman Eugene Swalberg said criminal charges were being considered.
“This is not behavior that is appreciated or should exist in state parks,” he told the Deseret News. “This has been formed for literally millions of years and it’s supposed to last for a long time. It doesn’t need individuals doing the work of Mother Nature.”
Boy Scouts spokesman Deron Smith condemned the action.
“We are shocked and disappointed by this reprehensible behavior,” he said in a statement. “For more than a century, the Boy Scouts of America has been a leader in conservation, from stewardship to sustainability.”
“The isolated actions of these individuals are absolutely counter to our beliefs and what we teach,” Smith added. “We are reviewing this matter and will take appropriate action.”
In the video, the two men are seen clearly excited by their feat.
“Some little kid was about ready to walk down here and die,” Hall said as he filmed. “Glenn saved his life by getting the boulder out of the way.”