Expert: Discovery Gunman far from First Eco-Terrorist

james-leeBy James Tillman

James Lee, the gunman who entered the Discovery Channel building and took three hostages yesterday because he thought the TV station should be doing more to combat overpopulation, might be the first hostage-taking environmentalist gunman. But according to John Berlau, author of “Eco-Freaks: Environmentalism Is Hazardous to Your Health,” radical environmentalists have long advocated violence to further their goals.

“People adhering to environmentalist beliefs have certainly been involved in violent actions before,” Berlau, a director at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, told (LSN). They have done many things, he continued, “from spiking trees with metal rods, [which] Earth First! does, to threatening both animal researchers and biotechnology researchers, to calling for violence against them, and to, of course, the Unabomber, who had Earth First! journals.”

Spiking trees, or driving a long metal rod into a tree that might someday be logged, has been illegal since 1988. The year before, a 23-year-old sawmill worker in northern California had his face lacerated, both of his jugular veins cut, and lost his upper and lower front teeth when his saw hit a spike.

At the time, environmentalist David Foreman, a founder of Earth First! who had advocated such tactics in his book “Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching,” said that the injury was “unfortunate” but that “the real destruction is … liquidating old-growth forests.”

Among the Unabomber’s three murdered victims was New Jersey advertising executive Thomas Mosser who the Unabomber said he targeted because he helped Exxon clean up its image after the Exxon-Valdez oil spill in Alaska.

“The FBI has called eco-terrorism the number one domestic terrorist threat,” said Berlau. But from the mainstream media one would think “that people influenced by conservative talk radio would be the number one threat,” he continued.

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