Three Gibson guitar factories in Tennessee were raided last week by armed federal marshals. The Justice Department ordered the raid as part of its investigation into the company’s alleged purchase of illegal wood from Madagascar and India. According to Gibson CEO Henry Juszkiewicz, the company has not been charged with anything yet, so they have no legal recourse for the millions of dollars that have already been lost while the government shut down their facilities during the raid. The wood in question is said to have come from trees that are protected under the Lacey Act. Gibson Guitar denies any allegations that the wood was purchased illegally. See full story on NPR.
I don’t like what the government is doing here. I hate to see trees chopped down as much as anyone, much less rare hardwood such as that protected by the Lacey Act. However, what better usage of wood than to make a beautiful instrument that will last for generations and that has the potential to inspire and console. Plus, they’re guitars, not houses. How much wood could it possibly take to build a guitar! It is a simplistic view, I know. But if its true that Gibson is importing illegal wood in violation of the Lacey Act, it’s too bad the government couldn’t just avert their eyes and let this one go.