Cheat-Seeking Missles

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Quiet Violin Teacher Or Domestic Terrorist?

Is Briana Waters (center) "a quiet 32-year-old violin teacher" as Salon describes her ... yes ... but is she something more, an eco-terrorist, as well?

A jury could have said no with a standard no higher than "reasonable doubt," but it didn't, finding instead that Waters served as lookout for a seasoned and destructive cell of Earth Liberation Front (ELF) terrorists as they burned down the Center for Urban Horticulture building on the University of Washington campus in 2001.

No one died. Indeed, ELF took its usual cautions to reduce the risk of inadvertently killing someone, timing their incindiary device to go off at about 3 a.m. -- the same time of night when an incendiary device went off in a University of Wisconsin building some 30 years earlier in another protest, killing my second cousin.

ELF and the liberal left howl about being called terrorists, railing against stepped up federal powers over their ilk. As Salon explains:
Historically, the crime of terrorism has required civilian deaths. In fact, the State Department defined terrorism as "premeditated politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatants." But the USA Patriot Act created a new category of domestic terrorism, which is defined as an offense "calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government" or "to intimidate or coerce a civilian population." Under this broad definition, eco-saboteurs become terrorists if their crime seeks to change government policy or action.
The Salon definition is bizarre and revisionist. First, an intent to cause civilian deaths was often sufficient before 9/11 to cause an act to be considered terrorism. Indeed, international law contains no legal definition of terrorism.

Second, Salon makes it sound as if any action designed to influence the conduct of government or intimidate or coerce the population is illegal under the Patriot Act, while in fact violence is required. The point is a simple one: America provides many opportunities to state your case, but in the end, if you are not persuasive in a democratic forum, you do not have the option of blowing up things or people to prove your point.

And that's for good reason, as ELF itself proved. They burned down the urban horticulture building because they thought genetic research was going on there, and they thought that could result in doctored genetic material being released into the environment, and they thought that would be a bad thing.
As it turned out, the University of Washington Horticulture building was a poor target for arson. Among the items destroyed were hundreds of photographs documenting plant regeneration on Mount St. Helens after the volcanic eruption, research on wetlands and prairie restoration, and a collection of rare showy stickseed plants that were being raised to replenish dwindling wild stocks in the Cascade Mountains. Bradshaw, the targeted professor, has said that although he had considered doing genetic engineering, he was not at the time of the fire. Rather he was conducting basic research on hybrid poplars, a fast-growing species that could reduce the pressure for logging in natural forests.
This is why we have an open government and public processes. Had ELF brought a public action against the horticulture operation, and in the process evidence could have been presented that would have deterred their action (assuming ELF idiots would believe anything the establishment would say in its own defense).

Instead, Briana Waters and four others planned and carried out an arson attack that very well could have resulted in deaths, in an effort to change things in a way the democratic process had not.

Salon raises questions about the case against her, but in the end she was convicted under the scrupulous provisions of our legal system which are designed to protect the innocent from false prosecution, and she is now branded a convicted terrorist.

It's nice that she teaches kids to play violin. It's not nice that she thinks she knows more than everyone else in America, that her views trump our legal system, and that violence is a justifiable means to an end in a democratic society.

Slam the door, lock it, and let her think about her crime for a minimum of five years in prison.

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