Oh yeah. Just what is this that I'm talking about? Simple.
One of six people arrested in a string of ecoterrorism attacks in the Northwest is also suspected in half a dozen other cases, including the 1998 firebombing of a Colorado ski resort that caused $12 million in damage, a federal prosecutor said Tuesday.
[Chelsea] Gerlach, 28, was among six people arrested in five states last week on indictments alleging they set fires and damaged property between 1998 and 2001 in Oregon and Washington. The Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front took responsibility for the crimes. [Ed: Added first name for clarity.]
Yup. They think they found one of those that set that big fire in Vail 7 years ago, even though the federal Public Defender assigned to Gerlach says the evidence is "sketchy." And it was definately an eco-crime, even in the opinions of other ecoterrorist organizations like Earth First! and the Animal Liberation Front. And, to read what they said about it, one that set their agendas back by a few decades.
I would rather see Vail Resorts, through all their duplicity and greed, destroy the Two Elk Roadless Area, than have some cowardly actions and threats erode the growing opposition to Vail's rapacious plans and the increasing support for protection of Colorado's forests and its wildlife.
--- Earth First! member Mike Lewinski [link]
Well, far be it for me to disagree with an EF! member.
This, and many other actions like it, are the reason why the word "environmentalist" has become such a negative buzzword for Republicans. For that matter, it's a negative for just about anyone who is not an environmentalist. Anything this side of the generally genteel activism depicted in this book will be detrimental to any attempt to be a mainstream environmentalist in this country. Extremism, of just about any stripe imaginable, tends to turn the majority against it through their actions.
Want an example? Good. I have one ready-made for such a question.
Tell me if you'd really heard much about this guy before a certain day in September, 2001? Unless you were a severe international relations geek, the odds are quite slim that you were even a tenth as educated about him as you are now. Indeed, the odds are quite slim that you even knew he existed. And now, he is the most wanted man that the United States has ever known.
Sort of brings things into perspective, doesn't it. Just as this March, 1999 article in Mother Jones magazine said:
"If the individuals who did this can somehow hear me, I say, 'Get the hell out of Colorado! Indeed, vanish altogether! Just go away!'" Berman told the group, which included several TV and newspaper reporters. "Your actions have only created sympathy for Vail Resorts at a time when they are undertaking one of the largest logging operations in Colorado."
It's a fact of life. Victims are always the ones that recieve sympathy from the undecideds out there. No one in the mainstream of American society paid any attention to the World Trade Organization until those anarchists made a collective decision to riot in Seattle, did they? (Yes, the oxymoron was intentional.) And now support of the WTO is still one of the positive hot-button issues for the GOP, precisely the opposite effect that the anti-WTO crowd intended. And for a much smaller issue, look at the support of the breed-specific bans out there since two pit bulls mauled an Aurora boy last month. The stories had always been out there, but few people gave it much thought until it happened in their own back yards.
Yes, I am an environmentalist. Even though I smoke tobacco, eat meat, and wear a leather jacket, I can say that with a straight face, much to the probable dismay of any dyed-green eco-nauts out there. Part of the reason why I love living here in the Front Range is that I can breathe the air without getting my FDA-recommended supply of 12 essential minerals and toxins like I had to do back in the armpit of the L.A. Basin. (Admittedly, I could do without the mind-numbing cold that goes along with the clear air here, but I'm desert-bred.) I considered it to be among the top 5 issues for determining my political affiliation way too many years ago. (Yes, I tried the Green Party at one point in time, and considered them nuttier than last Christmas' fruitcake and got out before the guys in white coats showed up.) (And yes, I'm still feeling my birthday, thank you very much, and I can't stop waving the candles from my cake in front of my face.) And I believe strongly that we need to preserve what examples of Nature we have left, whether via the Endangered Species Act or the National Park Service or Insert Government Service Here, for future generations of Americans. (One of the few reasons why I'm not actually a big-L Libertarian, seriously, is my belief that more-than-absolute-minimum-government is a good thing.) So yes, I am a small-e environmentalist rather than a big-E Environmentalist like the ones suspected of setting the Vail fires.
And as a small-e environmentalist, I can only hope that, should Gerlach be one of those that set that $12 million blaze back in '98, she is found very guilty and have the book thrown at her, even though I doubt that ecoterrorism was grandfathered into the tougher antiterrorism legislation passed after 9-11. She, like many others that monkeywrench their way across the Pacific Northwest and central Rockies, do more harm to the basic environmental movement than they have done good, regardless of the political calculus involved. Violence rarely solves anything, regardless of the justifications. All it does is a) make those doing the violence feel better and b) generally piss everyone else off.
Consider me one of the latter in this case.