Sunday, July 22, 2007

Radical decline

AP story (the Rocky added the typo in the headline): "Sentences symbolize decline of radical environmentist movement."

Environmentist. [Update: they fixed it.]

More than a decade after they began setting fires across the West, remnants of the radical Earth Liberation Front stood before a federal judge, one by one, to hear her decide: Had they committed acts of domestic terrorism?

First, ["Country Boy"] Stanislas Meyerhoff.

Quiet, shy, his hair turning gray at 30, the slightly built Meyerhoff was dwarfed by the angular expanse of the courtroom.

The little lad!

"I was ignorant of history and economy and acted from a faulty and narrow vision as an ordinary bigot," Meyerhoff said, in May.

No doubt. And?
"A million times over I apologize ... to all of you hardworking business owners, employees, researchers, firemen, investigators, attorneys and all citizens whose property was destroyed, whose holidays were ruined, whose welfare was thwarted,
and whose sleep was troubled."
Thank you, Stanislas. That's goooood groveling. How 'bout "Country Girl" Chelsea Gerlach?

By the time Gerlach was sentenced this May, her tone was contrite and repentant. Like many of her co-defendants, she claimed she had changed her ways.

"It's very clear to me now that if you want to live in a world of peace and equality, you need to embody those qualities in your own heart and actions," Gerlach, now 30, told the judge. "I am grateful I have been given this opportunity to reconcile my past."

Peace and equality. Reconcile my past. She hasn't learned a thing. Oh well. As the AP says, they were only kids--maybe just a little too good, a little too caring:

Bound by youth, idealism and frustration over the ineffectiveness of more traditional environmental protest methods, they had turned to secret meetings, codes and stealth attacks on private and public property, setting fires in the dead of night to draw attention to their cause. . . .

The portrait that emerges is a band of young people, compassionate toward animals, seeking direction in life, looking to impress each other and reinforce their own sense of self-worth as much as they were looking for a cause. Mostly, they were desperate for attention for that cause.

In a word: infantile. But gee, they wouldn't have set fires at all, if only, if only, well, if only the system weren't broken, dammit. But it is, so they had no choice:
"If we were able to affect policy change through more legal means, then certainly that's the way these people would go," [former editor of the Earth First (no exclamation point) Journal Jim] Flynn said. "Nobody enjoys being underground, and that lifestyle."
Brats. No, not brats, brats.

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