Back to opinion page.
"Animal rights" terrorism out of controlThe Animal Liberation Front has claimed responsibility for a May 3rd terrorist attack in Bloomington, in which a Sims Poultry truck was set on fire. ALF members seriously damaged the truck in question, and rigged other trucks in an unsuccessful attempt to set them on fire as well.
In an interview with the Indiana Daily Student, ALF spokesman David Barbarash claimed that the tactics were "non-violent." One wonders where Barbarash gets his definition of "violent", considering that the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines violent as "marked by extreme force or sudden intense activity". Merriam-Webster further defines violence as "exertion of physical force so as to injure or abuse." Common sense dictates that arson would meet these two definitions.
Barbarash defends the arson on the premise that no human or animal was injured in the fire. That may be, but only as a result of blind luck, as there are homes nearby. Firefighters on the scene were put in danger by ALF thugs in putting out the fire. What if the ALF had succeeded in catching all the trucks on fire, as was clearly their intent? What if the fire had caused the fuel tank in one of the other trucks to explode when firefighters were on the scene?
Across the Atlantic Ocean, animal-rights terrorists are even worse. Volkert van der Graaf, an animal-rights extremist active in a group called "Environmental Offensive", murdered a prominent politician in the Netherlands. Speculation has since arisen that the reason Pim Fortuyn was targeted is due to his views on animal rights. In the United Kingdom, animal-rights extremist David Blenkinsop was convicted of a brutal assault on Huntington Life Sciences executive Brian Cass. Blenkinsop beat Cass with a pickaxe handle, leaving Cass with a three-inch head wound. Cass has said he has lived in fear of violence against him since animal-rights extremists targeted his company, but that he will not back down in the face of terrorism.
Fortunately, things have not risen to that level in the United States, not yet anyway. But AR and eco-terrorism casts a shadow over Monroe County and the local law enforcement community needs to concentrate an all-out effort on stopping these extremists.
One wonders if Sheriff Steve Sharp has the wherewithal to do what is necessary to combat those who would use violence and intimidation to shape policy in the way they want. At a County Council meeting in the summer of 2001, local environmental extremist Lucille Bertuccio rushed the bench and screamed at Council members Marty Hawk and Joni Reagan in an attempt to physically intimidate them after they joined with three other Council members in voting to give tax free bonds to a west-side apartment complex bitterly opposed by local environmentalists.
During this meeting, environmental activists acted like thugs, screaming, chanting and cursing when the vote did not go their way, effectively shutting down the council meeting. The County Council was forced to postpone the rest of its business to a later date. The enviro-thugs also surrounded and screamed at Council member Doug Duncan when he returned to the room to try to speak with them. Monroe County Sheriff Steve Sharp did not arrest any of these thugs even when they physically intimidated his fellow Democrats. Bertuccio was later arrested for illegally crossing a police line when law enforcement was removing tree-sitters from the site where the complex was to be built.
One would think that those who act this way would not be taken seriously, but Bertuccio is now the Democratic nominee for County Council in David Hamilton's old district, having defeated him in the May 7th Democratic primary with support from Scott Wells and Mark Stoops. City Council Democrats like Jeffrey Willsey and Andy Ruff have vehemently defended Bertuccio and criticized her detractors. How can Monroe County tell the ALF that we will not tolerate their terrorism while someone like Bertuccio is considered a serous political figure by many of our Democratic elected officials at both the city and county level?
Our law enforcement community and our local elected officials must show zero tolerance for the ALF-ELF axis of evil, and must use all legal means to bring them to justice and stop the terror campaign they have waged against the people of Monroe County Since January of 2000. Part of that must include a strong denunciation of Bertuccio and her fellow thugs by Monroe County Democrats, and immediate withdrawal of support for her campaign. Local Democrats can repeatedly denounce eco-terrorism, but will groups like the ALF and ELF take them seriously while they support and defend Bertuccio, and others like her?