People sometimes do foolish things, may it be out of curiosity or out of boredom. People get away with their antics at times, but this is not the case for David Grundman. What happened to Grundman and the Saguaro Cactus?
In 1982, David Grundman used his shotgun to take down a protected saguaro cactus. He was crushed and impaled to death as the cactus collapsed on him. His demise served as the inspiration for a song by the Austin Lizards.
David Grundman’s Unfortunate Encounter
In 1982, David Grundman decided to pack his shotgun and venture two miles north of Arizona 74, just west of Lake Pleasant, into the desert. He had the fantastic idea of shooting potshots at the saguaro they discovered growing there. His foolishness kicked in, or perhaps it had something to do with the weird man-like shapes these monstrous plants can grow into.
Grundman repeatedly shot a miniature saguaro in the trunk, knocking it to the ground. He then chose a specimen that stood 26 feet tall and was believed to be over a century old. He blasted a few holes in the enormous trunk of the old saguaro.
He was only a few feet from it, perhaps around 10. Before the ringing in his ears subsided, Grundman was crushed by a four-foot spiny arm cut by the blast. Grundman died after being impaled by the saguaro’s nail-like spikes and was unable to shout for help. (Source: Snopes)
Grundman’s bizarre tragedy inspired the song Saguaro, written and performed by the Austin Lounge Lizards, an eighties Texan band. (Source: Academic)
Why is Saguaro Protected?
There is no more iconic specimen in Arizona than the saguaro cactus. These are the tall, slender cacti that come to mind when you hear the name cactus. Native American mythology talks about the saguaro cactus’ origins, including humans converting into saguaros. These cacti possess a magical and unique quality that amazes people even to this day.
The saguaro cactus is more than a Western icon. It is the very essence of the Sonoran Desert. Additionally, the interior of a saguaro provides shelter, and desert creatures rely on this cactus for survival. (Source: Hike Phoenix)
While these cacti are not endangered, they only grow in the Sonoran desert, adding to their uniqueness. Unfortunately, humans are the primary threat to saguaros, from real estate to vandalism. As a result, laws have been enacted to safeguard these beloved saguaros.
The Native Plant Protection Act protects saguaros. If someone is caught cutting down a saguaro, they face a felony criminal damage charge, which carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. Any other form of vandalism, theft, or attempt to transplant the cactus may result in costly costs and possible jail time.
Landowners have the right to destroy or remove plants growing on their property, but they must notify the Department twenty to sixty days before destroying any protected native plants. Additionally, the landowner has the right to sell or give away any plant growing on their property. However, protected native plants may not be legally owned, collected, or transferred from where they grew without permission from the Arizona Department of Agriculture. (Source: Jose Knows Trees)