"I do wonder about all of the "condemning to death" talk. It is only 5 miles to the next water for the thief so they didn't need it, but Balls an Sunshine are going to die without it? It seems like folks like being a little overly dramatic."
+1 on that brother! I been finding myself disturbed by some of the tone here as much as the act itself. As you rightly point out, there was never any actual threat to their lives in this case. They could have themselves gone in the (albeit unplanned) direction they said they knew the others had gone, where there was a known water supply, then come back. I'm sure it would be a maddening detour, but not life-threatening - a 1/2 day delay for them. Also, as a bonus, they might have found the perpetrators and given them a piece of their minds.
More to the point I don't think it is at all obvious the mind-set or intent of the perpetrators, in spite of how sure many here seem to be, and I'm disturbed by all the repetition of how despicable and lowest-of-the-low they are. They did a bad thing, but I'd prefer to look on it as a mixture of ignorance and selfish narrow-sightedness rather than a bald-faced strike at all that is holy, at least until we know more. Whoever it was definitely deserves an education on this issue, but I'm not sure it would make the world a better place, or even the CDT a safer place if anyone out there that found them went straight to the yelling, threatening and shunning phase, as it seems many here would be more than willing to do, rather than just talk to them first, find out what they thought there were doing, and if they really even knew how potentially disruptive and even dangerous what they did could have been.