On June 24, 2007, the local bomb squad was summoned to a suburban home near the campus of UCLA. Once there, they removed a petrol bomb from beneath a car parked next to the house. A faulty fuse had kept it from detonating.
It was the home of Dr. Arthur Rosenbaum of the Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA. Three days later a message appeared on a militant website:
"He and his wife...are the target of rebellion for the vile things he does...Rosenbaum, you need to watch your back..."
On June 30, 2006, an elderly woman living in Bel-Air discovered a molotov cocktail on her doorstep. Fortunately, it didn't explode, either. It wasn't even meant for her. It had been intended for a neighbor some doors down the street, another researcher at UCLA.
This attempted murder was also followed by a message from a radical group:
"...we thought we would give her a cocktail of our own a moletov cocktail. We left it on her doorstep but didn't hang around to see if it went off."
Animal Rights groups claimed responsibility for both incidents. According to messages posted on the North American Animal Liberation Press Office website (NAALPO), the attempted murders were in protest of lab experiments performed on live animals. A shifting constellation of shadowy groups is increasingly threatening and carrying out violent acts, claiming to work on behalf of kittens whose eyes have been sewn shut by researchers, or primates forced to accept injections directly into their eyes.
I love animals- I share my home with two cats, both foundlings-and I deplore animal cruelty. I don't eat meat, either. But this post is not about vivisection.
It is about terrorism.
Although overshadowed in the press by better-funded, more widespread Islamofascist terrorism, animal rights terrorism is increasingly ambitious and aspires to be equally deadly. The NAALPO website is managed by Dr. Jerry Vlasak, a trauma surgeon living in the Los Angeles area. When it comes to animal rights terrorism, the surgeon doesn't mince words; in a 2004 interview with the London Observer, he said:
"I don't think you'd have to kill too many [researchers]. I think 5 lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million nonhuman lives."
and later, in a web posting:
"The use of force saves lives in a way that can be readily documented. It has saved the lives of humans and it has saved the lives of non-humans. When it becomes dangerous to be a vivisector, vivisection will stop."
Comments such as these got Dr. Vlasak and his wife (animal rights terrorist Pamelyn Ferdin) banished from the United Kingdom in 2004. They then set up shop in the United States.
Like al-Qaeda, Lashka e Toiba and other Islamofascist groups, animal rights terrorism is an alphabet soup of interchangeable names: ALF, SHAC, ALB. And like Islamofascism, animal rights terrorism has it's preferred training ground: the United Kingdom. Vlasak had planned at least one trip there in 2004 to "instruct" British animal-rights terrorists, and it was in Great Britain that the violent wing of the animal rights movement first began to take shape. Jeffrey Stinson of USA Today has quoted Frankie Trull of the National Associaton for Biomedical research as saying "A lot of activists here (in the USA) go over there for training."
Spokesmen for these groups try to discredit the terrorism label:
"If they think Shac is a terrorism organisation then they should get out a bit more. It's a funny terrorist organisation that has never killed a human, never harmed a human and does not want to bring down the government."
But it's hard not to believe that such groups don't want to "bring down the government" when they used phrases such as this:
"I told the folks in Eugene that I came from a long line of cop killers. I told them that had it not been for my ancestor's willingness to kill their oppressors I might not be alive today
"Every time a protestor is beaten cop cars should burn. Every time an activist is pepper sprayed tires should be slashed and windows of the offending agencies should be broken."
These sentiments come from an essay called The High Price of Pacifism, written by Rodney Coronado, which appears on the NAALPO website run by Dr. Vlasak.
Mr. Coronado is not breaking new ground with these ideas. In a BBC interview in 1987, Tim Daley, then a leader of the British Animal Liberation Front, said:
"In a war you have to take up arms and people will get killed, and I can support that kind of action by petrol bombing and bombs under cars, and probably at a later stage, the shooting of vivisectors on their doorsteps. It's a war, and there's no other way you can stop vivisectors."
This is war.
Like history's successful generals, leaders of animal rights terrorism have deployed their forces in a pincer action: on one side they publicize horrifying decriptions of lab experiments on live animals, and on the other, they declare that only violent action will stop the experiments. Any middle ground between is crushed into silence.
Don't like the idea of blowing up scientists? Then you must think it's ok to torture helpless animals. Object to firebombing clinics? Then you're complicit in the mutilation of nonhumans.
Which means you should die, infidel.
Let's kill people who kill animals to show that killing animals is wrong.
All terrorist movements either begin with or develop a messianic belief system. Call it the Paradox of Extreme Virtue: having ascended to a higher moral plane, the terrorists are now entitled- no, enjoined- to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice among us lower beings. It becomes their priestly calling. They don't consult other people to see if they agree with their definition of Virtue; Virtue does not consult. Virtue exists for itself and is so obviously superior that it compels obedience.
So the Virtuous Terrorist begins to make decisions. Selective ones. This should be smashed. That should burn. Like herding cattle, the terrorist seeks to shape the path of society with clear and forceful examples. Ideally, after much careful correction, just the snap of a whip next to an ear should be enough to direct the herd.
"When it becomes dangerous to be a vivisector," Vlasak has said,"vivisection will stop."
Like a catchy tune, this phrase bears repeating.
"When it becomes dangerous to be a vivisector, vivisection will stop."
"When it becomes dangerous to be a homosexual, homosexuality will stop."
"When it becomes dangerous to an atheist, atheism will stop."
"When it becomes dangerous to be an unveiled woman, unveiling women will stop.'
"When it becomes dangerous to be a Muslim, Islam will stop."
When it becomes dangerous to be a peaceful moderate, Western civilization will stop.
Or is that when true moral courage and civility will start?
I wish I knew.
Britain Battles Animal Rights Radicals/USA Today (by Jeffrey Stinson)
Monkey Madness at UCLA/LA Weekly (by Patrick Range McDonald)
Meat is Murder/Los Angeles CityBeat (by Annette Stark)
Burning Rage/CBS News (by Graham Messick)