The radical green movement is rapidly trying to distance itself from Discovery Channel gunman James J. Lee. That will be difficult to do.
An armed Lee walked Wednesday afternoon into the offices of the Discovery Channel, took hostages and demanded that the TV network alter its programming to suit his demands as laid out in an 11-point manifesto. The incident ended when police shot him dead.
Lee called for saving the Earth by getting rid of people, whom he referred to as “filth,” and stopping global warming. He called for TV programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility, and exposing civilization’s “disgusting religious-cultural roots and greed.”
“All human procreation and farming must cease,” he raved, because “the planet does not need humans.”
Curious to see how the greens would react to the incident, I visited the Grist.org web site, perhaps the most popular green website, where I found an article by Grist senior editor Lisa Hymas entitled, “Discovery hostage taker is a population-obsessed eco-wacko.”. I read on as I had never seen one green refer to another as an “eco-wacko.”
Although Hymas wrote that, “Lee is giving us sane and humane enviros and child-free people a bad name,” her effort to distance her cause from Lee was soon challenged. The first comment following her post stated, “So, what is wrong with [Lee’s] logic that he deserved to be shot? He wasn’t wrong.” Two comments later, a commenter stated, “I pretty much agree with what he said… In reality, at this point, the human race is like a growing fungus covering and consuming a grapefruit.”
Like Dr. Frankenstein trying to escape the reputational stain of his eponymous monster, the radical green movement cannot runaway so easily from Lee.
While Lee clearly popped his cork, the comments to Hymas’ article indicate there are apparently others out there whose corks are under similar pressure — thanks to green publications like Grist and green personalities like Al Gore, whose movie, An Inconvenient Truth, Lee reportedly credited for “awakening” him to global warming.
Gore, Grist.org and others have urged their followers to civil disobedience. Grist staff writer Jonathan Hiskes says he’s all for the easy stuff first (like weatherization and energy efficiency), but if that doesn’t work, Hiskes calls for civil disobedience and ensuing prison, if need be. Ironically, Lee tried civil disobedience with the Discovery Channel in 2008 and wound up inprison. His probation from that incident ended just two weeks ago.
Greens have tried using civil disobedience (even if it involves criminal trespass) to shut down coal mining, coal-fired power plants and gas stations. None of these efforts have succeeded. So what’s next when civil disobedience fails? More James Lees?
Some greens have already leap-frogged over civil disobedience and moved straight into terrorism. In the wake of fire-bombings at new housing developments, car dealerships and a ski lodge, the FBI has labeled the Earth Liberation Front as a domestic terrorist group. Then there’s sawmill worker George Alexander who was almost decapitated in 1987 when his saw blade hit a tree spike embedded by the California chapter of Earth First.
The greens would also like to harness the power of the state to do violence to their opponents. About so-called global warming “deniers,” Grist writer Dave Roberts wrote in 2006, “we should have war crimes trials for these bastards — some sort of climate Nuremberg.”
It’s true that James Lee was a psycho, but he was just taking radical environmentalism to its logical conclusion. People threaten planet and, if they won’t stop voluntarily, then they must be made to stop. Lee believed that because he steeped himself in today’s radical environmental movement.