Inside the Eco-Terrorists

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The online excerpt that Rolling Stone provides is far less than half of an extremely well-done, gripping and thorough masterpiece of extended investigative journalism by Vanessa Grigoriadis, "The Rise and Fall of the Eco-Radical Underground," which is unfortunate. But I highly recommend you check out the print edition (in the issue with Jimmy Page and Robert Plant of the 26 years gone Led Zeppelin on the cover) for the full, vivid tale of the dark and unfortunate places that a combination of street punk bravado, revolutionary fervor, and deep ecological thinking can lead a cabal of friends (most based, natch, in Eugene Oregon) willing to do anything for their political beliefs.

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  1. I visited Eugene, Oregon once. Just once.

  2. Nothing brings me more joy than to see the suffering of hippies. God, I fucking hate hippies.

  3. Yep, the Das Kouch crowd down in Eugene were a little bit jumpy after the last round of arrests. And it looks like they nailed the right ones, too. Not too many innocent people hang themselves before they’re arraigned.

  4. I’m willing to stipulate that they’re idiots, but life+1000yrs for non-fatal arson? The government’s even more batshit fucking insane than ELF.

  5. The only thing more annoying than ecoterrorists is Led Zeppelin.

  6. I visited Eugene, Oregon once. Just once.

    Lucky for you, jerk, some of us went to college there.

  7. kohlrabi,

    No. Led Zeppelin friggin’ rules. No, that’s not an opinion. That’s fact.

    Timothy, wasn’t Animal House filmed there or based on that school? I have a vague memory.

  8. I’m willing to stipulate that they’re idiots, but life+1000yrs for non-fatal arson? The government’s even more batshit fucking insane than ELF.

    So, as a hypothetical, if someone takes down a 110-story office tower with no loss of life, you’d say that they should only get a normal arson sentence?

    These bastards destroyed massive amounts of property, with very little regard for the risk of human life along the way, and full of self-justification (which supports the perception of a risk of recidivism).

    Let ’em rot in jail for the rest of their miserable lives.

  9. Oh, and while I can’t really speak to the Federal Governments trend for overzealous prosecution (that whole thing muddles the sentences these whackos will probably get) I’m not sure I agree with the tone of this piece.

    It resorts to the tired, old “who can be against the environment?” tactic. I know these people were passionate, so what? I live in the Northwest and so I’m well aware of these crackpots. It’s one thing to make an impressionist painting of these people and color them as ‘passionate environmentalists’, but that often tells a tiny bit of the story. Many of these nut-jobs openly advocate a return to a ‘hunter-gatherer’ society. They also beleive that the ‘sustainable’ earth population to be around 100,000 to 200,000 people. I think the issue is here, that once you start setting potentially fatal fires, it’s not a huge leap to start setting explosives. Then, we start deciding which human beings are valid targets.

    These people often have creepy anti-humanist philosophies and pine for some kind of plague to take everyone out (except them, natch). They envision an elitist society where a few ‘stewards’ of the environment would oversee all life and resource use on the planet– and manage this ‘hunter-gatherer’ society so it doesn’t grow beyond the bounds of its artificially set limitations. Limitations set by the leaders of this so-called movement.

    So forgive me if my sympathies are a bit muted. Calling these people ‘passionate environmentalists’ is like calling the Nazi Party “passionate protectors of German culture.”

    Yeah, Godwins Law invoked. My bad.

  10. My sympathies are muted too… and you can call me a softie if you like, but I’m uncomfortable at the notion of handing out what are effectively capital sentences for non-capital crimes. Most murderers get less time – you are effectively arguing that destruction of property, in a sufficient amount, deserves more punishment than the destruction of a human life. Would the same logic apply to theft or fraud – say, a really big corporate scandal? (The “semi-educated wanker” who wrecked Barings, as PJ O’Rourke termed him, would certainly have been put up against a wall.)

  11. Convinced that even the most modest human habitation was too much of an imposition on the Earth, he took to living out of his silver-blue Toyota truck, a present from his parents. He even preached against domesticated pets and houseplants, explaining that humans could never fulfill the true desires of cats and ferns.

    Bugger him, I say. Had he really lived the life, he would have gotten rid of his truck and lived off the land. Bicycles and walking should be the order of the day.

  12. The only thing more annoying than ecoterrorists is Led Zeppelin.

    Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.

    Yes, there are two paths you can go by. But in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.

  13. Timothy, wasn’t Animal House filmed there or based on that school? I have a vague memory.

    PL: Many of the exterior shots in Animal House and some of the interior shots were filmed on or around the University of Oregon campus. The administration building for Faber is the actual administration building for UO, the food-fight scene was shot in part of the student union, and the Delta house was an actual frat house (condemned and abandoned by the time I was at Oregon). A lot of the other frat houses were also real frat houses near campus.

    My favorite scene in Animal House, though, is the golfing scene where they put a ball through Dean Wormer’s office from that hill sort of on the other side of Hayward Field. Number one, it’s a long damn way to hit a golf ball, and two, the angle is pretty wrong. If you go here and click on the UO map, then zoom in a touch you can see how far it is from Hayward to Johnson Hall. Further, if I remember the shot correctly, they’d have been in a position where they’d have to have hit the ball over Esslinger and Hendricks, both of which were around in 1978 when the film was made.

  14. 1. I’ve never favored the “discounts” that get offered to murderers.
    2. These people are (as Paul noted) only on a ramp upwards to the point where people die. They risked the lives of emergency responders, and frankly could not have known for certain that the structures were all unoccupied when they attacked.
    3. I’d be glad to see effective life sentences handed out to those who, with “malice aforethought” engage in large-scale fraud.

    Throw the book at them, and never let them see the light of day again.

  15. While I’m not sure what the full difference in reading of tone one would get from the online excerpt v. full version, just wanted to note in my reading “sympathy” is not the linchpin of this story at all, certianly not what I responded to in it. Just great, deep storytelling about a bunch of strangely driven people with strange ideas, the intersect with some of the political ideas of relevance to REASON.

  16. Deep inside the forest there’s a door into another land.
    Here is our life and home.
    We are staying here forever in the beauty of this place all alone.
    We keep on hoping.
    Maybe there’s a world where we don’t have to run.
    Maybe there’s a time we’ll call our own, living free in harmony and majesty.
    Take me home. Take me home.

    Oh, and burn the fuckers who disagree with us, la, la, la.

  17. Timothy the Delta Tau Chi (???) house should be a shrine for college students throughout America. What a shame. I know we worshiped Otter and the rest when I was at Florida.

  18. CH – Well, as long as our positions are internally consistent, that’s all I ask… the only other things I’d add are a) that I also am uncomfortable with punishing people for what might have happened in the future. If prosecutors can prove that the arsonists took insufficient precautions to prevent loss of life in the attacks that occurred that’s one thing, but the “upwards ramp” argument strikes me as an opportunity for all kinds of prosecutorial over-reach. (That’s what RICO and the PATRIOT Act are for, dammit!) And b) I agree with Brian D. – even in the online excerpt I didn’t sense any ‘sympathy’, beyond what I felt myself, that the government’s dropping a nuke on these people where a daisy-cutter would do.

  19. So when exactly are these skinny, Vegan white boys going to be arriving on my cell block?

  20. If prosecutors can prove that the arsonists took insufficient precautions to prevent loss of life in the attacks that occurred that’s one thing, but the “upwards ramp” argument strikes me as an opportunity for all kinds of prosecutorial over-reach.

    As I said earlier, I’m not going to speak to the exact sentences and prosecution these guys are getting from the feds. Ultimately, there are facts of the case and legal precedent at stake here. But I can say that the law does not look kindly upon someone if a fireman is killed in an otherwise empty building. The Pang warehouse fire comes to mind. The issue at hand is you just don’t know if a building is truly empty. A bookkeeper in a third floor windowless office pulling an all-nighter. Or a janitor might be doing late night duty. Or an employee got in a fight with the old lady over the meatloaf and is sleeping at his desk. Firefighters don’t take that risk, and will enter burning buildings to insure they’re truly empty.

    While yes, the E.L.F. wankers might take precautions which result in them BELIEVING the buildings to be empty to the best of their knowledge, one just doesn’t know.

  21. Timothy the Delta Tau Chi (???) house should be a shrine for college students throughout America. What a shame. I know we worshiped Otter and the rest when I was at Florida.

    PL: Yeah, the house they used for that is abandoned now, as far as I know. But, the tradition lives on at the Oregon Commentator: Free Minds, Free Markets, Free Booze since 1983.

  22. “These bastards destroyed massive amounts of property, with very little regard for the risk of human life along the way”

    Not that I support their actions, but one of the pillars of their philosophy is that these actions have to be planned to assure that there is zero risk to human life in any direct action.

    “They risked the lives of emergency responders, and frankly could not have known for certain that the structures were all unoccupied when they attacked.”

    In this you are correct. But the “malice aforethought” aspect of their plan did not include an intent to harm humans (just poor ability to recognize the risks).

    I don’t think property crimes should be equated with murder. Their sentence is out of bounds, IMHO.

    Some fun for the bored.
    http://www.ocjc.state.or.us/SG.htm

  23. So is Rolling Stone off the shitlist for that Kennedy election shit now?

  24. Few knew his real name. He went by Avalon, which came from The Mists of Avalon, a novel about matriarchal pagans fighting the oppressive forces of phallocentric Christianity. Avalon was hoping the name would help him connect with the soft and feminine side of his personality, at least enough to get him a girlfriend; he was the only one in his ELF cell who couldn’t get a date.

    Really, I think if the government legalized and subsidized prostitution half the extremist political movements would dry up over night. It doesn’t take much prodding to uncover the sexual frustration that usually motivates these kinds of people.

  25. As despicable as ELF and ALF are in their disregard for human liberty and human life, there’s just no way they’re the biggest domestic terror threat. Back in the ’60s and ’70s, I could MAYBE see left-wing terrorism as a serious issue in the US, but since the 1990s, the biggest threat is coming from the extreme reactionary right, with a little bit from deranged islamic converts in the US. The Unibomber was probably the last left-wing terrorist to actually kill somebody, certainly the last one that actually made it onto my radar.

    Look at the attacks that have actually caused death and injury, and who perpetrated them. McVeigh and Rudolph, and to a lesser extent the DC Snipers are the face of murderous domestic terrorism, not a bunch of pansy-ass vegans. The ELF/ALF guys may want to see a plague wipe out the human scourge, but so far they haven’t shown much willingness to start killing people.

  26. I am a civil fraud prosecutor, and I have zero sympathy for the ELF nutzoids, but I do think this sentence is out of line. The reason we don’t impose the same sentences for property crimes as for crimes in which a person is injured is precisely to encourage criminals to avoid injuring people. Even the average bankrobber understands that he’ll do a lot more time if he shoots the witnesses than if he just leaves with the cash.

    ELF seems to have an explicitly anti-human philosophy. Consequently, I think there is more than the ordinary danger that by making the penalties for arson so severe, we could perversely encourage them to hurt someone the next time. These kids weren’t the Unabomer, despite their sympathies for his particular lunacy. I’d like to keep it that way.

  27. I have a hard time believing that a bunch of ostracized environmental cultists who want to see a massive reduction in the number of humans actually take any sort of great care to make sure that no one is around when they go out and set stuff on fire.

  28. I love the smell of napalm and burning human flesh in the morning. It smells like. . .hickory.

    Killing for Gaia and for the trees is not evil. It’s a divine mission. Damn those right-wing fundamentalists!

  29. I have a hard time believing that a bunch of ostracized environmental cultists who want to see a massive reduction in the number of humans actually take any sort of great care to make sure that no one is around when they go out and set stuff on fire.

    …other than to try to minimize their time with Tiny, in the event that they were caught.

    I think that I now better understand the point that you’re trying to make, peachy. I’m uncomfortable, though, with simply discounting the motivation for a crime in assessing the need to keep its perpetrator off the streets.

    Unlike, say, an insurance-fraud arson, these punks made it crystal clear that they were acting on their core philosophical beliefs, and so, it may be fairly predicted that they’d return to engaging in property destruction upon release from prison.

    Their nihilism makes them an ongoing menace to the peaceful existence of the rest of society – so how do we address that?

  30. The members of Al Qaeda are passionate about their cause, too. Passion is not a good excuse for doing something that hurts people or their property. It’s just terrorism.

  31. Sometimes all of our thoughts are misgiven.

    Yes, there are two paths you can go by. But in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.

    Huh. Now that you put it that way, Led Zeppelin is more annoying than ecoterrorism.

  32. Send them on a one-way trip to Mars? Mars is pristine and virtually unsoiled by the unnatural human touch. And they’d be doing us a favor by establishing a permanent presence on Mars.

  33. I’ll state again, I don’t equate what they’re doing with murder. But at the same time, sentences often do equate with the amount of financial damange and sheer scope of the criminal act. For instance, we put away all manner of white collar criminals for twenty or more years and they never killed a soul, or even endangered anyones life. They were just greedy bastards who stole or swindled people out of a lot of money.

  34. I disagree the sentence is necessarily harsh when one views the very simple fact that they would willingly do it again.

    On the face of it – arson of an empty building certainly shouldn’t carry the same penalty as murder – but if the perpatrator said openly he’d burn more buildings – what choice is there but to remove them from society?

    Don’t we remove repeat burglars from soceity as well?

  35. I, for one, have no problem with burning a few humans if it saves the trees. Humans–in fact, most animals–are a menace. We flora were doing fine before you mobile scum came around. Losers. What kind of name is “fauna”, anyway? Sounds gay to me.

  36. Animal House, believe it or not, was based on the experiences of one fraternity at Dartmouth.

  37. I, for one, have no problem with burning a few humans if it saves the trees. Humans–in fact, most animals–are a menace. We flora were doing just fine before you mobile scum came around. Losers. What kind of name is “fauna”, anyway? Sounds gay to me.

  38. Animal House, believe it or not, was based on the experiences of one fraternity at Dartmouth.

    I guess those stuck-up ivy-leaguers and their bow ties didn’t want to film it there, then. That’s not how we roll in OR, though. No sir.

  39. mediageek-

    Some of them probably don’t care if they hurt people. Nonetheless, Karen makes a good point about the incentives in the law. Not every criminal will respond to incentives (if they did there would be no crimes), but nonetheless some of them do, so it’s worth differentiating between those who injure people and those who damage property.

    If thieves faced the exact same sentence as multiple murderers, I suspect that more thieves would kill their victims to get rid of witnesses.

    OTOH, I can see why white collar crimes can potentially carry sentences comparable to a murder conviction: If the sentence didn’t increase with the amount of money stolen, that would mean that the risk wouldn’t be keeping pace with the reward.

    Sure, there will always be people who decide that the reward is worth the risk, but the point of deterrence is to set up incentives for the marginal cases, where incentives do work.

    So we have a perverse question here: If we care about preserving incentives to deter criminals from escalating their crimes, then we’ll base the punishment on the crime. Then again, criminals are, almost by definition, the people who didn’t respond to incentives. If you find somebody who’s particularly unlikely to respond to incentives in the future, why not just give the maximum possible punishment to keep them out of circulation?

    But if you apply that reasoning too frequently, then the incentives change. Criminals may figure “Oh, I’m screwed no matter what, might as well go all the way.”

    No easy answers here.

  40. I had a roommate from Washington University in St. Louis, and he told me that some of the movie was based on a fraternity there (I think Ramis went there).

  41. SixSigma: Valid point, particularly in light of the potential threat the actions pose to human life. Light enough fires, and someone is going to get hurt. But Karen has an excellent point too–if the penalty is basically the same as for murder, why be careful about whether there are any people in the buildings you are igniting? –Ron

  42. re: whether the punishment fits the crime.

    My solution, envisaged years ago during debate with Earth First-er:

    rub them down with ‘concentrated scent of rib-eye’, drop them naked into the african veldt 200 miles from any shelter.

    Maybe if they make it they’ll at least recognize that Mother Earth is a real short-tempered bitch.

    This thought was inspired by the mega-ass-kicking film, The Naked Prey =

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0060736/

    over an hour of no-dialogue action cinema. brilliant stuff.

    JG

  43. If someone actually gets killed, then you can get depraved heart murder or the equivalent. And if someone is killed in the commission of a felony, I assume the felony murder rule could apply. You can also probably get attempted murder if someone was actually in the building, whether or not they were injured. I’m a long way from my Criminal Law I days, so I may be mucking this up.

    In any case, I agree with Karen. You have to withhold some of the punishment; otherwise, the bad guys have nothing to lose. It’s like executing people for robbery. If you do that, then why wouldn’t the robber just pull the trigger and kill the witness? Besides, the punishment should fit the crime. If the arsonists act in reckless disregard for whether someone is in a building they burn, they should get enhanced penalties, but they shouldn’t be treated the same as actual murderers.

  44. I’ve been an avid fan of Reason for several years now, but I never thought I’d be so close to a H and R thread. Turns out, I know Kevin “the dog” Tubbs pretty well. I’ve probably known him for six years now.

    While I don’t agree with what he did, at all, I have to pipe in to say that in all his other dealings with me, or with people I know about, he was quite the stand-up individual. We actually did MDMA together a few times, with his girlfriend. He liked to borrow books of mine, especially the loompanic books on underground economies, etc. He was a seriously nice individual.

    I remember having several conversations with him about politics. He knew I leaned libertarian on most issues, and he’d express his much more anti-technology and anti-business philosophy without getting upset or insulting. I even expressed dislike for the actions of the people who burned up the SUV’s in our town, and it turns out he was the one who did it. heh…

    He worked at a local porn store, oddly enough. My friends and I would occasionally get free stuff there. He has a beautifull and fragile girlfriend named michelle who is going through rough times right now.

    I guess what I’m saying is that even though you may disagree with his actions, he’s a human being. He’s also one of the nicer human beings I’ve had the pleasure to encounter. He just plead to 14 years in prison.

    It’s easier to condemn someone you don’t know, I suppose.

  45. Ron –

    Yeah – I agree there are no easy answers. I would say in reality, they would want to reduce killing innocents because they are attempting to make a political statement. As soon as they are done making a statement and begin to exterminate the enemy (if that ever happens) will be giving murder sentences anyway…

  46. Even nice people can do bad things.

    I don’t like these people mainly because they’ve done serious damage to their own cause. It’s the same reason I don’t support PETA; they’re so out of touch with the culture at large that they make non-radicals who care about animal rights look bad.

  47. While I don’t agree with what he did, at all, I have to pipe in to say that in all his other dealings with me, or with people I know about, he was quite the stand-up individual.

    It’s easier to condemn someone you don’t know, I suppose.

    With that, I suppose it is. Which, conversely is why we don’t allow friends of the accused on juries. The crime is the crime, regardless of how many times he lent you a smoke when you were out of cigs.

    People sometimes seem to be able to live a kind of duality. They aren’t always the essence of the crimes they commit. Which is why peope who were unaware of the crimes the accused were committing have trouble seeing beyond the ‘nice guy’ they knew.

    Why I remember recently a group of thugs in Tacoma beat an 80 year old man to death simply because he was in the park at the wrong time. Family members of the accused (and yes, guilty) rushed in to say all kinds things about how wonderful, kind and caring these kids were. And even launched into a diatribe as to how there’s ‘nothing to do’ in Tacoma to keep these kids from ‘getting into trouble’.

    I grew up in a place where there really WAS nothing to do, and murdering an eighty year old man never really crossed my mind. But going back to the point of the post, had a friend of mine done that, it probably would have strained my relationship with him.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not comparing the ELF fruitbats with a group of roving thugs, beating people to death in Tacoma parks– they’re not even in that class. But I suspect that your friend made the smart move by pleading the 14 years. If he really is a good boy, he’ll be out in five.

    And my guess is (given the stories that have followed the arrests of some of these kids) that they’ll realize real quick how over their heads they were and probably won’t reoffend. Put these narrow assed white kids in a supermax prison for a few years and, well, I’m sure their ‘passionate environmentalism’ will have cooled a wee bit. Hell, the thought of prison has kept me from acting on my emotions plenty of times. So speaking for yours truly, prison IS a kind of deterrent.

  48. I certainly understand that I did not witness the fullness of his personality. I truly consider what he did to be wrong, and worthy of jail-time. Personally, I think 14 years is too much when he admitted what he did, and helped the prosecution with some of the other convictions. As I understand the federal truth in sentencing deal, he’ll actually have to do the entire 14 years. No good time in the fed pen, from my understanding. I know he’ll change his tune, as I’m sure he already has, concerning the wacky eco arson thing.

    The thing that gets me, is that if he had killed someone, he’d probably be out before 14 years. It’s partly a political conviction. I think he should do a few years, have to repay the damages, and do community service. Seems fair to me. 14 years is a loooong time.

  49. The thing that gets me, is that if he had killed someone, he’d probably be out before 14 years. It’s partly a political conviction. I think he should do a few years, have to repay the damages, and do community service. Seems fair to me. 14 years is a loooong time.

    I agree..14 years with no possibility of parole…hmm…

    Unfortunately, due to our patchwork of contradictory laws, sentencing guidelines and mandatory sentencing rules there are all kinds of whackiness when it comes to time for the crime. Murder a guy on the street you don’t know because you like his shiny watch, do a few years.

    Murder someone you don’t know because you like his shiny watch and shout the ‘n’ word at him while you do it, you’re going down for a long time (hate crime).

    The list goes on.

  50. Good Trivia for Animal House
    (Alpha Delta Phi at Dartmouth – which is funny, for the “Alpha” chapter (1832 as the first “three letter” fraternity), Hamilton College – the “ADs” were like the Omegas 🙂

  51. Good Trivia for Animal House
    (Alpha Delta Phi at Dartmouth – which is funny, for the “Alpha” chapter (1832 as the first “three letter” fraternity), Hamilton College – the “ADs” were like the Omegas 🙂

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0077975/trivia

    (sorry if this double posted – forgot to put the IMDB reference in)

  52. From the above, I see: theres a lot of college kids here, AND- theres a strong notion that “thought crimes” are a legitimate concept.
    Both revalations are depressing.

  53. From the above, I see: theres a lot of college kids here, AND- theres a strong notion that “thought crimes” are a legitimate concept.

    Yep, see ‘hate crimes’. What did you think of the person you murdered???

  54. I’m sorry, but “nice people” don’t go around committing acts of mayhem. Many very bad people were and are quite polite in person, well-mannered, pleasant conversationalists, etc… but their acts are still horrendous. As an example, I’ve read that Ted Bundy was quite well-spoken, and didn’t give off Kaczynski nutjob vibes.

  55. As an example, I’ve read that Ted Bundy was quite well-spoken, and didn’t give off Kaczynski nutjob vibes.

    Oh he was charming, the ladies love him (to death) and even the press was a bit smitten with him. Trivia: A friend of mine was his neighbor when they were adolescents (Ted and my friend). A little girl disappeared from that neighborhood and they never found the killer. She wonders to this day…

  56. or what were you thinking when you didnt murder anyone?

    From the above, I see: theres a lot of college kids here, AND- theres a strong notion that “thought crimes” are a legitimate concept.

    Yep, see ‘hate crimes’. What did you think of the person you murdered???

  57. Paul:

    I lived two doors down from the Bundys when I was going to college. The older fellow who lived in between us told me all about missing cats and dogs, but nothing about a little girl. Hmmm…

  58. Since we’re talking personal anecodotes…

    Back in 2001 these ELF folks burned down Merrill Hall, a facility just off campus at the Unversity of Washington. I happened to see it by chance the next morning while riding my bike and remember thinking “What the shit happened here?”. Merrill Hall was the location of the Center for Urban Horticulture, a flagship program of the College of Forest Resources. The ELF torched it because of the mistaken belief that one of the professors occupying the building was doing research in genetically manipulating poplar trees. The professor afterwards denied that this was the case, that no genetic manipulation was involved. (I assume, incidently, that this case is what the Rolling Stone article refers to as ‘university bioengineering labs’ as one of the ELF targets. If so, it’s wrong.) I think there was also a seed bank and some other standard plant related studies housed there.

    So basically the ELF was screwed up in their assumptions, and burned down a facility and destroyed research done by people that, in all probability, shared a lot of their own professed environmental convictions. The College of Forest Resources people tend to be pretty ‘green’, any way you look at it. They’re certainly not a bunch of ‘evil’ loggers, cowboys, or developers.

    Anyway, the building suffered 70% damage. It got torn down and rebuilt with a new, bigger facility, at a cost of $7 million plus. Barring insurance, most of that comes one way or another from tax dollars (there were some private donations) plus the tax dollars of any public research that was lost. And, of course, it was perfectly possible that they could have killed someone during the process. All for a mistaken idea. Ironically, the new building was used as a target for eco-friendly construction techniques, and was awarded a silver medal rating by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

    These ELF ideologues are dangerous idiots. I have no sympathy for them.

    Convinced that even the most modest human habitation was too much of an imposition on the Earth, he took to living out of his silver-blue Toyota truck, a present from his parents.

    I wonder what his emotional reaction would have been to someone torching HIS truck….

  59. So is Rolling Stone off the shitlist for that Kennedy election shit now?

    No, they stay on the shitlist for the Led Zepplein cover. Come on, Rolling Stone, at least pretend to care about modern pop culture.

  60. Three-fourths of Led Zeppelin friggin’ rules. The other fourth is that screechy guy that sings about hobbity shit.

  61. Heck, I’ll take Led Zeppelin over modern pop culture. Whatever that is.

  62. GUS
    Welcome to Bumbase Alpha, the biggest hobo jungle in the quadrant.

    BENDER
    I’ve seen bigger. Oh wait I’m thinking of Eugene Oregon.

  63. The incentive issue reminds me of an old story…

    There was a king whose chief advisor believed that if even minor transgressions were savagely punished, the people would be deterred from misbehaviour.
    One year, the monarch declared war on a neighbouring kingdom and called up the peasants to join the army. As a group of them were slogging slowly through a rainstorm towards the capital, one asked “What’s the penalty for being late?” “Well, death,” another replied. “And what’s the penalty for rebellion?” “Death, of course.” The first peasant looked around the group, and finally said “Well, I’ve got news for you – we’re going to be late.”

  64. Don’t we remove repeat burglars from soceity as well?

    I think the difference is that a repeat burlgar is someone who actaully did burgle more then once as opposed to someone who says they will burgle again.

    On that note I am going to kill my neighbor…right after I rape his wife.

  65. It doesn’t take much prodding to uncover the sexual frustration that usually motivates these kinds of people.

    I am sexually frustrated…and i am pretty sure i can offord a hooker and get away with it…yet somehow I do not get a hooker or burn down buildings at UW.

    Hookers should be legal but not for the crazy incoherant reason you stated.

  66. Most murderers get less time – you are effectively arguing that destruction of property, in a sufficient amount, deserves more punishment than the destruction of a human life.

    How many lives would it take you to acumulate 7 million dollars worth of UW forestry building?

    Anyway i pretty much agree with you only that you should not devalue property rather i would like to see the punishment for murder to rise. (but only if it is as low as you claim which i suspect that it is not)

  67. Since the possible sentence cited in the article is life without parole plus a thousand years, I suspect more than half of convicted murderers are sentenced to less, even if you strike off the extra millenium and assume all time given is actually served.

  68. Led Zeppelin? Those thieving white boys don’t deserve any covers!

  69. One famous example of an “anti-property” protest that went fatally wrong: The Sterling Hall bombing at the University of Wisconsin, aka the murder of Robert Fassnacht.

    Anyone interested in taking the kind of “direct action” that these ALFers and ELFers were into had to either be totally clueless to the possibility that they could have harmed someone, or they just didn’t care.

    On a lighter note, here’s one of Chris Miller’s Tales Of The Adelphian Lodge from theNational Lampoon.

    Kevin

  70. Hey The Real Bill, how is PETA out-of-touch? You simply don’t find many single-issue political organizations that count celebrities as different as Morrissey and Pamela Anderson as vocal supporters.

    Their brand and advertising are among the best of any group (only Apple’s are stronger). PETA’s ads are clever and spot-on: surely you can’t say that a billboard with naked supermodels is out-of-touch unless you live in Alabama.

  71. I lived two doors down from the Bundys when I was going to college. The older fellow who lived in between us told me all about missing cats and dogs, but nothing about a little girl. Hmmm…

    Scooter.

    Interesting. It’s possible she was confused, wrong, or was talking about a different era. All I know is, the story she told me was that this would have been when Ted was a young adolescent. For what it’s worth…

    Unfortunately I don’t have contact with this person anymore so, it’s all lost to the shifting sands of time.

  72. Paul & Scooter:

    My mother-in-law grew up with Ted Bundy, and went to school with him through high school. A girl did go missing in the neighborhood (he was her paperboy) when he was 12 years old.

    A couple weeks ago I asked my grandmother-in-law (?) if Ted Bundy’s parents moved away and changed their names, but amazingly they still live in the same house! She said they are still active members of the local community, too. Crazy.

  73. Too many times in my life I have heard someone described as “nice.” It’s got to be about the most over-rated and/or meaningless value in a human being. It’s hardly synonymous with ‘good’ or ‘moral’ but when someone is described as ‘nice’ that’s usually what they mean. But I learned the hard way that a charming or flashing smile, an ability to make jocular and witty conversationl, to say the right and appropriate things reveals very little about someone’s true character. I’d take someone who bristles when his values are called into question but who continually tries to do the right thing over someone who is so socially smooth and competent that he always makes you think he’s your friend but is ready to stab anyone in the back to get his way. I’ve seen ‘nice’ people though just get a pass or have their faults overlooked, people who abused their power in various jobs in industry and in universities, who used people less powerful then they are to get their way or keep their power over others, but whose faults were not seen by even higher ups not as close to the situation because these ‘nice’ people had such a grand sociability about them.

    So Kevin Tubbs might be a very pleasant person, a very nice person, but anyone who would burn down other people’s homes and cars is just one hop step and jump away from the most savage of animals. In fact we all are and it’s partly the awareness of this (along with an attachment to a sound moral system) of our fallibilty and potential corruptibility that helps to keep our baser instincts in check. Once you start thinking it’s enough to be just nice, where ‘nice’ has replaced more important values or been confused with ‘the good’ and that your own moral system gives you justification to treat strangers like garbage, you’ve jumped off the human ark of civilization into barbarism. That’s the best I can think of these people – nice barbarians.

  74. Of course my previous rant isn’t meant to be a rejection of niceness and the social graces – civility can be important. Charm is pleasant. Just that it should be remembered it really is only on the surface and what’s more revealing is what people actually do. Being nice is just a thin veneer but too often I’ve seemed people who really were not good people get a pass because they wore this mask of niceness so well. But damn if that doesn’t work to get you elected into the highest office in the land.

  75. “I’ve seen”

    Have to fire that editor of mine.

  76. …anyone who would burn down other people’s homes and cars is just one hop step and jump away from the most savage of animals

    And yet exploiting other animals for fun and profit is considered civilized.

  77. I could go more in depth, but I was just using nice as a catch-all phrase.

    Kevin was empathetic, helpfull, went out of his way to assist people in need. He is accused of burning up a couple of SUV’s, and of burning down a remote ranger’s station. That’s the only thing he was involved in. Wrong? yes, completely. Does this mean he’s a monster? No, just someone who let his politics confuse his sense of morality. He wasn’t involved in all of the actions listed, and they generally didn’t discuss all of the actions amongst themselves. It’s not a very cohesive group. Just some people who knew each other from their activism. He would have gotten much less time if he’d molested some kids, or gotten drunk and run over and killed several pedestrians. People seem to keep pointing out that “just because he’s nice doesn’t make what he did right”. I never, ever claimed that. I claim that we should make the punishment fit the crime. Also, Ted Bundy being “nice” and slaughtering women left and right isn’t the same as someone truly caring for people, and taking a completly wrong approach in an attempt to better the world. What he did was stupid, but he actually felt he was making the world a better place.

  78. Hey The Real Bill, how is PETA out-of-touch? You simply don’t find many single-issue political organizations that count celebrities as different as Morrissey and Pamela Anderson as vocal supporters.

    Morrissey, Pam Anderson, and super models are The Culture of America? I don’t know if I’m more saddened by your ignorance or disgusted by your shallowness.

    Their brand and advertising are among the best of any group (only Apple’s are stronger). PETA’s ads are clever and spot-on: surely you can’t say that a billboard with naked supermodels is out-of-touch unless you live in Alabama.

    Well, that’s your opinion. Most people I know are offended by their ads and antics.

  79. “Three-fourths of Led Zeppelin friggin’ rules. The other fourth is that screechy guy that sings about hobbity shit.”

    Leonard Nimoy?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCecnhJ3LUw

  80. Old joke about the Ch’in government in China.

    “Guys, what’s the penalty for being late?”
    “Death.”
    “What’s the penalty for insurrection?”
    “Death.”
    “Guess what; we’re late.”

  81. … now I see that Peachy posted the same damn joke. I knew I should have read more than half of the comment thread.

  82. It’s not like these companies don’t receive government subsidies or don’t risk others’ lives. Many of these companies are engaged in agggression on massive scales. Remember Bhopal. Ethical concerns won’t stop them but nonlethal reprisals might stop them.

    What’s your alternative? Allowing unchecked pollution? (death’s a nasty externality). Increasing government regulation?

    What’s their alternative? The E.L.F. is basically asserting the old common-law right to destroy a nuisance.

  83. Peachy and JPL: Montesquieu actually made that point in the Persian Letters. He argued that European kinds were safer than the Persian ones, because they had less power. If you looked at the Persian ruler wrong, he’d probably have you killed; once you were there, you didn’t lose anything by trying to assasinate/supplant him. European kings, on the other hand, couldn’t kill you for most stuff, and so it was hard to get in so far that assasination looked like the safe option.

  84. What friggin’ lefty moron site did we link to this time, Brian? Who let all the moonbats from the ELFBrigade in here?

    The E.L.F. is basically asserting the old common-law right to destroy a nuisance.
    Jacob–

    Yeah, I bet that was just their motivation. They picked up some English Common-Law and Locke and said “Hot damn, lookit that”.

    ProPETA — How do you “exploit” something that doesn’t have rights to begin with? When the cows get around to writing “Declaration of the Rights of Bessie” then I’ll listen.

    And I loved this argument:

    Slick (but annoying) Ads + Hot Celebrities = Good Argument and Good Cause!

  85. I used to listen to Led Zeppelin, then I turned 12.

  86. Look at the attacks that have actually caused death and injury, and who perpetrated them. McVeigh and Rudolph, and to a lesser extent the DC Snipers are the face of murderous domestic terrorism, not a bunch of pansy-ass vegans.

    Don’t forget the anthrax meshuggenehs. I think actually catching those people would do a lot more for the cause of deterrence than the additional margins of thought crime punishment that T. considers and Clean Hands luvs.

    Catching McVeigh’s accomplices wouldn’t hurt none neither.

  87. And yet exploiting other animals for fun and profit is considered civilized.

    Correct. Animals aren’t people.

  88. ProPETA,

    I think their ads are kinda cool, it’s their POINT that’s out of touch. PETA’s problem with the average Joe IMO is that it goes from “bashing baby seal heads is bad” — something that gets fairly wide agreement, to “chicken farming is cruel” — something that gets shrugs, to “fish have feelings — go vegan” that gets laughs, to “having pets is cruelty” — which makes people think that PETA has not a frickin clue (I’d trade lives with my dogs tomorrow). They ARE out of touch with most people when they reductio themselves to absurdum.

  89. Remember Bhopal.

    Why, yes, that was the plant that was sabbotaged by a disgruntled employee. The sabotage created a leak of poisonous gas that killed thousands in the adjoining town.

    Union Carbide, the minority interest holder in the plant, has paid out millions in compensation intended for the victims.

    The Indian government, the majority shareholder, has control of that money and little of it has ever gotten to the victims for which it was intended. That old government regulation sure worked good, didn’t it.

    The fertilizer plant was part of the “Green Revolution” which has enchanced the lives of millions of Indians.

    A little knowledge of the facts might help people like you reach conclusions other than moronic crap like, “The E.L.F. is basically asserting the old common-law right to destroy a nuisance.”

  90. These guys must be the worst terrorists on the planet. I couldn’t even find evidence of anyone getting a skinned knee!

    I’ll just note that the people who are so certain, so absolutely certain, that this large-scale vandalism must inevitably lead to mass murder are the same folks telling us that we must give up our civil liberties in order to be secure from terrorist attacks.

    What’s the difference between “eco-terrorism” and people panicking about terrorism? The latter has a body count.

  91. ProPeta,

    How does PETA propose to establish law and rights in the animal kingdom where murder, theft and gang violence is common?

    If “exploiting other animals for fun and profit” is criminal, then how do you prosecute predatory animals?

    Fool.

  92. Hundreds of large-scale actions over a couple decades, and not a single casualty. But mediageek and Clean Hands, for example, know – just know – that these people aren’t exercising caution, and that their proclaimed refusal to take human life is bogus. And, therefore, their sentences for destroying property need to be jacked up beyond what a second-time murderer gets.

    Why? Because of their political philosophy.

  93. Stan: But, Mr. Garrision, if we change our mascot, that means the eco-terrorists win!
    Mr. Garrison: That’s right, Stanley, the eco-terrorists win.

  94. Joe, I thought risk of recidivism had something to do with it. So, yeah, in a way because of their violent political ‘philosophy’.

  95. kohlrabi,

    Ken lay’s motive was to make money. Lots and lots of money.

    It is highly unlikely that his desire to make money would go away – far less likely, in fact, than that any one of these eco-“terrorists” would continue to support their radical agenda a decade of two hence. Yet no one was suggesting that Ken Lay had to be permanently removed from society for his (much more extensive) property crimes on that basis.

  96. joe, while I’m on record above saying that the punishment should be in proportion to the offense, I do think that you’re minimizing the callous disregard for life shown by arsonists (whatever their reasons for arson). People get killed all the time in arson cases, which is why it is punished way out of proportion to other property crimes. And, of course, there’s always the risk that the fire won’t obediently remain in the building it was started in. No. You play with fire or other radically dangerous “weapons”, you pay with a long prison stay, though one shorter than if you’d actually killed someone.

    As for Willie Dixon,

    At least Led Zeppelin stole good music. The covers (and “samples”) you hear today are often of bad songs. Go figure. The Stones stole well, too.

  97. Pro Lib,

    This is obviously not a case of common arson.

    It simply is not conceivable, given the scope and duration of this campaign, that the absolute, complete lack of harm to any person is a coincidence.

    Nonetheless, I support sentencing these people as if they’d committed an ordinary arson. What I don’t support is sentencing them as if they’d blown up an occupied building, or unleashing the security state on them, as well as other environmental groups, under the rubric of anti-terrorism.

    I’m not saying they’re harmless pranksters. I’m saying they’re not terrorists, and that the FBI, ATF, marshalls, and other law enforcement/security/intelligence organizations should not be treating environmentalism as the equivalent of Islamism or White Power in the name of anti-terrorism.

  98. No argument here. They should be punished for what they did, not for their politics or their “terrorist” designation. Except as it is relevant for determining requisite intent and their likelihood for recividism, what they were thinking when they committed the crimes is irrelevant. The same philosophy holds with hate crime legislation, which is similarly unjustifiable, even though we may despise the beliefs behind the crime.

    Here’s a question: Why life plus1,015 years? Why not 1,015 years? And if we discover an elixir of immortality during their lifetimes, do they really have to serve the full sentence (or the century or two necessary to get parole)?

    Incidentally, I recall that Mike Tyson only served three years for raping a girl. One would think that that would be worth a few hundred years, if arson is worth a millennium.

  99. Pro Lib,

    I agree it is wrong to increase a sentence because you object to the political philosophy of the perpetrator, but that’s not what hate crime enhancements are about.

    Hate crimes carry with them a potential for harm beyond the act perpetrated, which is a legitimate aggravating factor. We have a history of gay-bashings, lynchings, and other nasty racial/ethnic/bigoted problems. Hate crimes are an attempt to throw gasoline on this fire, and they often work. Racists on the other side of the country are motivated to go get revenge for “their own” when a hate crime is committed. People in neighborhoods 1000 miles away from the crime look at their neighbors differently, or don’t go out as much, when something like that hits the news. If you look at the “spark the race war” rhetoric of many haters, this is exactly the point. That is why hate crimes require harsher penalties – because they do all the damage of a similar crime absent the hate, plus some more.

  100. MUTT: that sounds a bit like sour grapes with college.

    Thinking about “The Chicago Outfit” by J. Binder. It’s about organized crime in Chicago.

    What’s the rule about killing there?

    “It’s just business”. Viola – no hate.

    But that’s irrelevant. Since murder is a crime, and that’s the result, you work on that. And those criminals get prosecuted.

    You can’t prosecute based on the hate/no hate, but you can probably say, “Matthew Sheppard” (rip) and “druged out freak killing for money to get another fix” are different in motivation. But again, the differences are largely irrelevant, since the end result, the violent end of a human life is a serious crime.

    But there are differences in prosecution, so the violent end of a human life does get judged differently. Manslaughter. Murder one. Special circumstances. “In cold blood”.

    So, there are subjective differences applied.

  101. Lotta phoney indignation here – our country and culture was built on the idea that violence and destruction is okay if it furthers a political end.

  102. “our country and culture was built on the idea that violence and destruction is okay if it furthers a political end”

    No need to make any qualifications about what sort of “political end,” eh?

  103. joe, couldn’t the same rationale be applied to people like ELF? Especially if someone got hurt?

    I think murder gets punished pretty harshly–as it should be–and additional enhancements for the defendant’s evil thoughts (over and above the evil intent to kill) don’t make much real difference. And I oppose the idea, anyway. Where does thoughtcrime end? Today it’s crimes against people because of their identity. Tomorrow maybe it’s crimes against America–who knows?

  104. Pro Lib,

    Is there a lot of environmentalist-on-righty violence in your area? Or the inverse?

    The justification behind hate crimes is that the phenomena of violent racism, misogyny, homophobia, anti-Semitism, religious bigotry, and the like actually exist, and are actually a problem that can be, and are, made worse through deliberate provocation.

    Also, most hate crime prosecutions don’t involve murder, but lesser violent or threatening crimes like assault or intimidation.

    “Thoughtcrime” doesn’t even begin. Violent crime, on the other hand, is prosecuted when a person’s rights and/or bodily integrity is violated. When those prosecutions happen, the kind and degree of the crime are taken into account during indictment and sentencing.

  105. Pro Peta,
    I didn’t say that exploiting animals for fun and profit would be civilized either. Using animals in medical research that could help people is arguably civilized but I guess that depends on whether you think the welfare of humans supercedes that of animals. But how is burning a car helping to protect animals anyway? If anything the horse and oxen are better off since the creation of the automobile.

    I also wouldn’t argue that these crimes should be prosecuted more seriously than assaults or murders. Yet, the criminals should not be gotten off lightly simply because they sometimes might help the old lady next door cross the street. A civilized and prosperous society depends on feeling safe and secure from tribes of people taking it upon themselves to determine who lives or dies, whose property gets preserved, taken, or burned. Besides, people themselves could very well get hurt in an arson beyond the financial suffering they must go through for their loss.

  106. joe, I don’t agree, of course, but I understand the rationale. I guess my bias in this is that I like to minimize subjective judgments in criminal law. Determining whether there was the intent to commit the crime in question is tough enough without looking into whether the person had some sort of prejudice as well.

    I’ve heard of hate crime cases where the crime itself had no evidence whatsoever of being a “hate crime” but where evidence of past statements, etc. were brought in to allege that a hate crime was committed. For example, if Mel Gibson got drunk and ran over Jerry Seinfeld by accident, he could be prosecuted for a hate crime based on his recent statements (which would be used to establish his hateful mindset). That argument shouldn’t work, but it certainly could succeed in some jurisdictions.

    I see all of this as a dangerously complex web to negotiate, which is my principal reason for opposing it. Let’s limit our crimes to actions against people and property–accepting that we need to look at the defendant’s intent–without bringing a whole lot more to the table. If the KKK wants to go on a killing rampage, murder and conspiracy to commit murder are always available, as are the vague federal criminal laws (“I’ll do you for treason!”). Besides, if I’m harmed or killed for money or at random, I’m not going to be much less upset than if I’m hurt or killed because I’m a southern WASP 🙂

  107. “I’m not saying they’re harmless pranksters. I’m saying they’re not terrorists, and that the FBI, ATF, marshalls, and other law enforcement/security/intelligence organizations should not be treating environmentalism as the equivalent of Islamism or White Power in the name of anti-terrorism.”

    Joe, I am on record saying their sentencing is out of line, but I think your position logically inconsistent, and probably based on your sympathy for their aims (as compared to the aims of the KKK or AQ). As ProL pointed out, if the argument for hate crimes is appropriate it applies to ELF/ALF…but even given that, there is a need to discriminate between murderous actions and property crime.

    Side observation: ELF/ALF are part of a movement among greens to use market forces to change behavior regarding the environment. In their case the goal is to raise the cost of certain types of economic activity, and thereby discourage those activities. Many would prefer this occur through a change in the tax structure (something sure to endear them to the libertarians), but they recognize that this is unlikely in the near term, so they take it into their own hands.

  108. And joe, I fear we may be at a stalem?nd on this issue 😉

  109. The fact that PETA doesn’t believe animals should even be kept as pets is a pretty good indication that they are out of touch. And when celebrities like Pam Anderson, who once held a wedding ceremony for her lap dogs, become PETA spokespersons, it doesn’t say very good things about the accuracy and/or honesty of PETA’s messages to the public. What is Anderson even a spokesperson for? Does she even know what agenda is of the organization she supposedly represents? It’s pretty pathetic.

  110. Eat me, PETA, I’m Hamburger Man!

    Ha, ha, ha, ha!!!!

  111. Pro Lib,

    “Let’s limit our crimes to actions against people and property–accepting that we need to look at the defendant’s intent–without bringing a whole lot more to the table.”

    Please stop saying this, it’s getting frustrating. We are both talking about crimes agaisnt people and property. That’s what hate crimes are – crimes against people and property DOT DOT DOT that are aggravated by blah blah blah. No one is talking about prosecuting people for their thoughts.

    But I will agree that there are potential problems with subjectivity. My reaction, as usual, is to take this objection as a warning and limit the law and its application. I don’t think it’s wise to throw it out completely, because it is important that our society be seen addressing these types of provocations and denouncing them, not only as the underlying crime, but also as the provocations themselves.

    Mainstream Man, it isn’t that I sympathize with (some of) ELF’s values that causes me to distinguish between these acts and a hate crime. It is the absense of provocation. These crimes simply do not set off anti-environmentalist revenge killings or other backlashes and reactions, the way religious, ethnic, racial, or gay bashings do.

  112. Scenario 1: I bitchslap Paris Hilton because I think she’s a fool.
    Scenario 2: I bitchslap Paris Hilton because she didn’t give me some money.
    Scenario 3: I bitchslap Paris Hilton because I’m depraved and make a habit of bitchslapping any person I meet.
    Scenario 4: I bitchslap Paris Hilton because she’s a woman, and I hate women.
    Scenario 5: I bitchslap Paris Hilton because I hate heiresses.
    Scenario 6: I bitchslap Paris Hilton because she’s a friggin’ American, and I hate Americans.

    To me, all of those scenarios deserve the same punishment. Namely, I go to jail and/or pay cash for committing the crime of battery. For most hate crime laws, only Scenario 4 gets enhanced punishment. Yet five and six are quite similar, and the “evil” of the crime lies much more in the battery than in what my motivation for committing the battery was. The absolutely insurmountable problem with hate crime legislation is parsing out which form of hate is okay and which isn’t. Technically, Scenario 6 is punishable, but, in practice, the hate enhancement is only found when certain groups are the object of the hate.

    Like I said before, we can punish the criminal plenty right now for the crime itself. If the crime is part of a greater organized effort to commit crimes against X group, then that’s a conspiracy and is separately punishable.

    On the flip side to this, there have been laws on the books for a long time that get you pegged with an “aggravated” label if you use force against certain people–like cops and senior citizens. That’s arguably the same thing (though you could argue that senior citizens are physically more vulnerable and deserve added protection), for what it’s worth, though it’s solely the identity of the victim and not the assailant’s motivation that is at issue.

  113. See, I thought that slapping Paris Hilton would get you an award, not a punishment.

    At the very least it would get you a lot of publicity.

  114. To me, the most appropriate sentence for these folks would be some kind of productive forced labor to help pay back the damage they’ve caused. I don’t know that subjecting them to the whims of Tiny does much good for anyone but Tiny.

  115. I’m not saying they’re harmless pranksters. I’m saying they’re not terrorists, and that the FBI, ATF, marshalls, and other law enforcement/security/intelligence organizations should not be treating environmentalism as the equivalent of Islamism or White Power in the name of anti-terrorism.

    Joe, it is terrorism. No they haven’t killed anyone, and their sentences should, in my opinion reflect that. Oh, for the record I think the Patriot Act should be revoked, our current ‘War on Terror’ is misguided. I feel that this thread is getting to the place where anyone who thinks these E.L.F. crackpots are, crackpots, you’re lumped in with being a Bush supporter, approving of limits to civil rights, and might even have ties to the K.K.K.

    And joe, think about it, have you ever thought about burning a building? I mean, just as an exercise? See my post above about the diffficulty of guaranteeing an empty, injury free act. Once the match is lit, man… can you absolutely guarantee it’s empty? I merely contend that thus far they’ve been lucky that at minimum, a firefighter hasn’t been injured or killed. See the Pang warehouse fire link I posted above: empty building, firefighters died.

    As for their philosophy, that’s a tougher call. We persecute and prosecute people based on their ‘pholosophy’ all the damned time. Two kids with mullets kill some other kid who was gay in a town no one ever heard of, we hear about it on a weekly basis on NPR, hollywood makes movies about it, and senators grumble about passing legislation. Philosophy plays a major role in deciding the level of punishment in a crime. Sure, members of the Sierra Club are going to think that these kids were ‘misguided’ but ‘passionate’ about a real, present problem that must be stopped! They just went a little too far.

    I’m sorry, I don’t buy it.

  116. Oh, and one last thing to all who keep harping on the fact that that no one has been killed. I have one response to that:

    The burning of black churches in the south.

    Now, this is a crime which tends to create GREAT consternation amongst the chattering classes. It is generally viewed as an act to generate ‘terror’ and is perpetrated by, according to the Washington Post: generally white, male and young, usually economically marginalized or poorly educated, frequently drunk or high on drugs, rarely affiliated with hate groups, but often deeply driven by racism

    Now I pick this subject precisely because it is an easy comparison. People burning down buildings and destroying property who are guided by a given philosophy. One of the ‘kids’ who burned one of these black churches received a sentence of 95 years.

    Tons of ink has been spilled in the MSM over these burnings- the significance of them and much handwringing has ensued. All because of a bunch of mouth-breathing drunks with mullets get to feeling froggy on a hot summer night. But yet still, we take this crime with a certain seriousness and as such, sentences are… harsh. Sentences of 20 years to life are not unheard of. And, much to the shock of many, some of the church burners were just college kids on doing this on a lark– with no underlying racist tendencies. In this last case, the college kids were charged with a crime which carries twenty (20) years. So let’s just all chill out on our shock and dismay over the sentences being handed down to ‘passionate activists’.

  117. thoreau, that’s bitchslapping. A subtle distinction, yes, but a distinction, nonetheless.

    Oh, I left one out:

    Scenario 7: I bitchslap Paris Hilton because she likes it like that.

    Indubitably.

  118. Life without parole plus 1,000 years for not phycially touching or harming any person (or even animal for that matter) while my state website has a website where you can see where the hundreds of child molesters, rapists and aggravated sodomizers live, since they served sentences of a few months to a few years before being released from overcrowded prisons where dope users spend decades, and apparently arsonists now spend millenia. Say what you want about how bad these guys are (ELF, et al.)…I’d rather risk them on the street than a predatory child molester. How does that stack up? Unless you are going to torture, slowly kill, revive and kill over again murderers and other criminals, how is a lifetime in jail for arson fair? Let the punishment fit the crime. These guys should get maybe 5 years in prison, or the relative punishments for various crimes are just too out of whack

  119. PL-

    I just assume that Paris Hilton can afford enough security that slapping is not something she has to worry about. So if she does get slapped, it’s because she wants to get some publicity (kind of like how videos of hers “accidentally” go online at key moments to generate publicity for her career).

  120. Let me see if I understand. If I successfully bitchslap Miss Hilton, then I can expect to see myself in a video on the Internet and certain television shows moments later? That, in fact, I would only be a small cog in the PR machine?

  121. Say, Charlie’s got a good point. Is there anything much more reprehensible than sexually molesting a child? Why do we let those people back out on the streets? And they are notorious recidivists.

  122. On Kevin Tubbs being a “nice guy” despite torching a few strangers’ SUVs:

    Just about every human being, I think, has a certain inclination for “tribalism.” By this I mean the feeling that “I feel emotional attachment and loyalty to my friends and family; for strangers and people far away whom I’ll probably never meet, not so much.”

    I have seen, in my own life and personal circle acquaintances, a fairly extreme form of tribalism: Once you have been introduced to them, and you are a friend of a friend, they are as nice to you as they could possibly be. Welcome to my home! Can I get you a beer? Need to borrow anything — I’d be happy to lend it to you! And feel free to crash here for the night. Leaving so soon? Great to meet you. Hugs!

    But to strangers, on the other hand, these same nice folks don’t even seem to recognize as fellow human beings. They cut cars off in traffic, deliberately, and don’t give a shit. They shoplift — which doesn’t hurt nobody, ‘cept big faceless companies . They commit petty theft and vandalism against people in their neighborhood whom they don’t know, and they think it’s funny. You go out to dinner with them, and they interrupt your meal conversation with a rant about the “niggers” who just came in the door. (And then they insist on picking up the check.)

    These might be “nice” people in some contexts, but overall, they are not nice people. And if a “nice guy” told me he torched a few strangers’ cars — not as an old mistake he feels remorse for, but as an ongoing avocation — he would cease to be my friend.

    What if you’d mentioned that your car had been torched by some vandal, and your new friend had laughed and said, “Oops! That was me!” Would you still be friends?

  123. Stevo,

    Hitler had a family. I bet they thought he was a nice guy. “Oh, that Adolf–such a kidder.”

  124. I’m picky about who I’ll do hallucinogenics with. If I discovered someone I’d done MDMA with was an eco-terrorist, I’d be both disappointed and creeped out. Especially if I had found it a very enjoyable experience (MDMA does not make me “love” everyone I encounter while on it).

  125. For one, MDMA isn’t a hallucinogen. For another, I was just describing how close we were at one point. For another, I was quite disturbed when I found out what he had been doing. My point, throughout all this is that we need to understand that not all the people who do these things are criminally insane, some just made major mistakes, and as such, need to be treated with regard to how much damage they have done, and how likely they are to do it again. If someone burned down my house because they didn’t like me, they would almost certainly get less time than Kevin will get. I don’t agree with that. Make him repay the damage he caused, put him away for a couple years, and have him do community service. Seems more reasonable than forcing someone who could be usefull to society to be a drain on society for 14 years of their life.

  126. If someone actually gets killed, then you can get depraved heart murder or the equivalent.

    Er, what exactly is “depraved heart murder” — other than a really good name for a band?

  127. >For one, MDMA isn’t a hallucinogen.

    OK. I wasn’t positive about that one. But I’m not sure what it is classified as either. It certainly affects my thinking more like a hallucinogen does than, say, a depressant would.

    I would not say that such a person is criminally insane. I’d say such a person is a criminal whose crimes are based on an irrational and misanthropic paradigm. The misanthropy of the beliefs is what would creep me out if I’d ever had the experience of feeling particularly close to such a person.

    I do think that life + 1000 years is overkill. Nevertheless, it’s difficult to me to muster up sympathy over it. I think Paul said it pretty well when he described these folks as “dangerous idiots.”

  128. Oop, just found out it is an American legal term. I thought you made a typo.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depraved_heart_murder

    I still think it would make a great name for a band.

  129. I made a misattribution. It wasn’t Paul who said that, it was “just another lurker.”

  130. “Depraved_heart_murder”

    I wondered about that too. It has a poetic quality to it.

  131. Oh man. The sentence in question is 14 years. That’s probably overkill too, but not necessarily by much. If the issue is correcting the differential between the sentences of rapists and murderers and arsonists, I’d say that rapists and murderers should get longer sentences.

  132. Im glad to see so much back and forth on this subject.
    If you click on my name, it will take you to a web page I put up.
    Now we are looking at people who got sentences that, if they were Mob arsonists, would have been 5-7 med sec.
    They got 25- to life, in Supermax.
    BECAUSE of what they were THINKING.
    Ray is out now, the only serious Left US PP to make parole. Richard died of medical neglect. Tommy is seriously crippled from savage beatings while he was chained. Last I knew, Jaan was in seg.
    Because of what they think.
    They went to prison for what they did, & they dont back from that. But the sentences, & the treatment, are for who they are, not what they did.
    Now, Im figuring most folks reading this will NEVER turn thier thoughts to any kind or real action. But some people do.
    Fracture my skull to rob me? Fracture my skull coz Im a cracker?? same crime, same sentence.
    But maybe I take this “freethinker” stuff seriously.

    Ill let his words speak for themselves.
    Libertarians?? Talking in favour of hate crimes?? Jesis friggin murphy: must be the college kid influence.

  133. Yup, it was me. And I purposely termed them ‘dangerous idiots’ because, from what small info I had about the Merrill Hall case, I thought they shot themselves in the foot, so to speak. Here was some self-professed uber-‘greenies’ torching a place used by other ‘greenies’.

    I’m don’t know exactly what research the professor was conducting on poplar trees. Maybe it was to increase commerical yields or something, since it’s a fast growing softwood. But I know that they’re also being looked at as attractive plants for bioremediation. Plant ’em in contaminated areas and they suck up the toxins and clean the soil. Once again, ironic research to target if you’re really an environmental activist.

    It’s like another case that I read about where the ALF targeted a mink farm here in Washington state– up north, in Carnation or something. They raided the farm at night, opened all the cages, ‘freed’ hundreds of them. The vast majority of the minks died within a few weeks afterwards, hit by cars, killed by dogs and other predators, or just starved to death. Pretty stupid and wasteful. But of course, the ALF MADE A STATEMENT and SENT A MESSAGE by their actions. That’s really what this is about. You have an ideological justification for doing cool stuff like burning things down, blowing shit up, destroying the property of people you are allowed to hate. Fun, man.

  134. For one, MDMA isn’t a hallucinogen

    Bullshit! If you take enough (which is really a lot), you have hallucinations that are much more realistic than those caused by LSD.

    (Don’t ask me how I know.)

  135. First, we need to remember that seperate groups conduct seperate actions and claim theses as ELF actions. There is no center giving orders, nor dies it have an intelligence/counterintelligence network. The ELF has developed an ethic of avoiding injuring people (as opposed to structures). The ELF should develop an ethic of carefully choosing targets, and always making sure only to target the worst of the worst.

    If the ELF fixes its intelligence collection/target selection problems, is there any problem with using force against prior aggressors (including severe polluters)?

  136. Joe,

    “These crimes simply do not set off anti-environmentalist revenge killings or other backlashes and reactions, the way religious, ethnic, racial, or gay bashings do.”

    Look into the re-introduction of the Mexican Wolf in NM and Arizona. There was much violence, and more threats, between the opposing sides of this environmental debate. Accusations of hate crimes occurred on both sides. Smaller scale maybe, but certainly the same phenom…

  137. Sorry for dropping legal terms without explanation. Though Depraved Heart would be a good name for a band. As would Ferae Naturae.

  138. I think Paul had a great point about the burning of black churches. That was just property, right? And I’ll bet some of those arsonists treated their friends and neighbors with the greatest respect – pillars of the community even. The same for cross burners. Just as long as you were in their tribe, you probably never had to worry about a thing.

    The KKK weren’t necessarily criminally insane either. As I said, many were pillars of the community, some of the town’s leading citizens. When not wearing the white hoods and terrorizing the countryside they were running the general store, stopping the Dukes of Hazzard from speeding, stopping by your house for a spell, having lemonade on the porch swing, running church council meetings, attending town socials, presiding over city hall, etc.

  139. The targets matter. If the target has not aggressed, then *any* damage is unjustified (until paid for). If the target has aggressed, then *proportionate* damage is justified.

    There are at least three ways to limit damage to targets which have not aggressed. (1) Attack the ELF, protecting both targets which have not and which have aggressed, and condemning both people who have ever attacked non-aggressing targets and people who have never attacked non-aggressing targets. And strengthening the police state too. (2) Provide better intelligence to ELF groups so they can avoid non-aggressing targets and hit only aggressing targets. (3) Provide recovery funds to non-aggressing targets but not to aggressing targets, so that mistakes don’t hurt.

  140. I’m trying really hard not the laugh at the attempt to claim equiavlency between the racist violence and violence between greens and anti-greens. One is a serious problem in this country that claims dozens to hundreds of lives in this country every year, and has claimed millions in other places and other times. And the other…let’s just say you won’t find any monuments to the victims of the Great Eco-Massacre of Aught Six.

    Paul, destruction of property can be terrorism, if its purpose and effect is to intimidate or coerce. In this case, neither applies – the effect and intent was to cause economic damage.

    Arson is indeed dangerous, and can very easily cause unintended harm. In order for me to believe that an act of arson is not a violent act, I would need to be convinced that special precautions were taken by criminals to make sure that they were only harming property. The danger posed to human life in such a situation would justify a reckless endangerment charge, not terrorism or attempted murder.

    Pro L, I’m goint to explain this one more time. If you still pretend not to get it, I’m not going to reply anymore:

    The aggravation involved in bitchslapping Ms. Hilton during a hate crime has nothing to do with the harm done to Ms. Hilton herself. The harm done to her is exactly the same. It is the secondary harm done to society as a whole that warrants further punishment, harm that is not done if you bitchslap her because the two of you got into a drunken fight. I have explained what this harm is a number of times now, and I’m not going to repeat myself. That Ms. Hilton suffers the same hurt in both cases is not a rebuttal to this point.

    Mainstream Man, I’ll grant you this: violence that singles people out for their politics should be treated the same as violence that singles people out for their race or religion, because it is certainly possible for it to produce similar backlashes and reactions.

  141. Not trying to whip a dead horse here,but…

    “Mainstream Man, I’ll grant you this: violence that singles people out for their politics should be treated the same as violence that singles people out for their race or religion, because it is certainly possible for it to produce similar backlashes and reactions.”

    What about violence that singles people out for the economic activity? Doesn’t it come with the same risks?

    Let me note that there is some merit to your position, I am just skeptical that it can be applied fairly across the board. It can easily lead to laws banning political affiliation, for instance, since the stated philosophy of the political group can be seen to produce societal backlash. Punishing the acts themselves seems sufficient.

  142. Libertarians?? Talking in favour of hate crimes?? Jesis friggin murphy: must be the college kid influence.

    MUTT, exactly which Libertarians are talking in favor of hate crime legislation in this thread?

    The only person in this thread talking in favor of hate crime legislation is joe and if you call joe a libertarian you’ll likely get his Irish up. 🙂

  143. Paul, destruction of property can be terrorism, if its purpose and effect is to intimidate or coerce. In this case, neither applies – the effect and intent was to cause economic damage.

    Jesus, Joe, what, if not the intent to intimidate and coerce, is burning down any property associated with the so-called destruction of the environment? The purpose is to intimidate and coerce. If that isn’t so plainly obvious, this discussion is lost.

    Oh, and MUTT, you must have missed my church burning post: Long sentences for a simple property arson based upon ‘WHAT THEY WERE THINKING WHEN THEY LIT THE MATCH’.

    Thus endeth the sermon.

  144. joe
    One is a serious problem in this country that claims dozens to hundreds of lives in this country every year, and has claimed millions in other places and other times.

    Each case is held in a vacuum. One group of people who burn down empty churches can’t be tied in with other crimes which have taken lives. That’s the point that’s being made with the complaint that these eco-whackos are getting overly harsh sentences. Some of the posters here are equating the arsons with other non-related crimes which have come from the same mindset. See where this is going?

    Tons of churches were burned in the south with no destruction to life and limb. Yet long sentences were handed out because it was equated with bahavior relating to a larger problem. Your justification of those long sentences because they’re part of a ‘serious problem’ is the EXACT SAME argument being made in favor of long sentences for vegan SUV torchers. One is your serious problem, the other is someone elses serious problem.

  145. Joe,
    You claim that dozens to hundreds of lives are lost every year in racist violence. But we were specifically talking about church arsons – the burning of property.

    Do eco-terrorists attract copycats? Sure, if they go unchecked more people would want to joint their movement. After all, it’s cool to be a radical green. And who could be against the environment?

  146. i stand corrected: I have to read slower, I think, & not go off half cocked, or baked, as Im sure some would have it.
    I watched with complete dismay the Campus in Madison enact crazed “hate speech” rulings, to the broad support of college kids, some of whom I was working with on political projects. They were clueless about essential liberties.
    Couple that with a hitch w/ the Weathermen, after I got out of the Service, & its sorta made me pretty skeptical where college kids are concerned.
    Very interesting place, this. .

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