Enviro-terrorism must be stopped

By Scott Tibbs
web posted July 10, 2000

Across the country, domestic terrorism in the name of the environment is on the rise. Groups like the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) spike trees, burn down homes, destroy construction equipment, destroy ski resorts and engage in other acts of terrorism to inflict "economic damage" on people they consider to be doing damage to the environment.

In the past week, there have been two highly publicized incidents of tree spiking in Indiana. The ELF has claimed responsibility for both incidents. Craig Rosebraugh, national spokesman for the ELF and its sister terrorist group the Animal Liberation Front, argues these acts of terrorism are acts of self-defense against those who would damage the environment.

Hogwash.

The ELF and groups like it are thugs, pure and simple, and Rosebraugh is a cowardly publicity hound who hides behind the veil of secrecy that surround ELF terrorists to further his own extremist agenda. The ELF said in a statement that they are determined to protect "every square inch" of forests in the United States, and will continue to destroy property until no more logging takes place.

The most recent tree-spiking incidents illustrate the folly of the ELF's actions. Officials with the Indiana Department of Natural Recourses have stated that the trees now have to be cut down, because if logging is to occur in the future, the spiked trees cannot be allowed to stand as they could cause serious injury or death when a chain saw hits the spike. The ELF is cutting off its nose to spite its ugly face.

It is illegal to spike trees, but the penalties are far too lenient. Tree spiking is attempted murder, pure and simple, and should be treated as such. Enviro-terrorists know the danger a spike presents to loggers when they place them, and do so with complete disregard for human life. The ELF's "warning" to loggers that the trees have been spiked is a feeble attempt to cover up this fact. What would happen if a breakdown of communication had occurred, the logging had proceeded, and someone had died? Could Rosebraugh and the ELF live with themselves knowing they had caused the death of another human being?

Spiking trees is the coward's way out. If the enviro-extremists were truly committed to their cause, they would march into the forest and commit civil disobedience by placing themselves in the way of the logging equipment. I might be able to have a little bit of respect for them if they were willing to put their time, finances, reputations and bodies on the line for their cause, and be willing to face the repercussions of their actions like real men and women. Instead the cowards in the ELF move under cover of darkness and commit acts of terrorism.

What is worse is the increasing number of people who see the ELF as a legitimate group we must initiate a dialogue with. Some people see the terrorist actions of the ELF not as a crime wave that must be halted, but as the actions of well-intended people who are frustrated by the fact that "The System" does not listen to their concerns. If only we would listen to the environmentalists, we would not have to deal with the ELF.

Sorry, but that argument just does not hold water. We have been "listening" to the environmentalists for over thirty years. Legislation has been passed, and continues to be passed, at the national, state, and even local levels in the name of protecting the environment. President Clinton has signed numerous executive orders placing huge parcels of land off-limits to development and logging, and the environment seems to be an issue in every election year. If the ELF would expend half the energy they expend terrorizing the American people into campaigning for candidates who share their views, lobbying Congress and state legislatures, organizing letter-writing campaigns and trying to swing public opinion to their side, they would get a lot more accomplished.

But why doesn't this happen? The answer is simple. Members of the ELF are not political activists. They are thugs, criminals, and terrorists, what Rush Limbaugh accurately calls "human debris".

The time for talk is over and the time for action has begun. Law enforcement must make every effort to find these terrorists and put them away. And it is also time to hold the so-called "legitimate" environmental groups accountable for their support of terrorism. We owe it to the victims of these terrorists to put and end to the ELF.

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