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FED'S RECORD POOR AGAINST ECOTERRORISM
By Dennis Roler
Hopefully, the torching of dozens of expensive homes near Washington, D.C., on Monday December 6th, will light a fire under federal investigators to make arrests in crimes committed by radical environmental groups.
As of Thursday, the Earth Liberation Front and its ilk hadnít claimed responsibility for the fire, which destroyed 12 homes and damaged 14. However, all the signs point to that direction. Prior to the arson blaze, environmental groups criticized the development as "sprawl" and said it threatened a fragile wetland and historical sites.
The FBI has had a poor record in making arrests in the approximately 600 attacks ELF and the Animal Liberation Front, a companion group, have claimed credit for the past 16 years. That record is downright pathetic when it comes to crimes committed in the West.
For example, there were no arrests in the torching of the offices of then Superior Lumber Co. in Glendale in 2001 or the burning of the headquarters of U.S. Forest Industries in Medford in 1998 or even the $12 million in fire damage to a ski resort in Colorado in 1998.
The FBI has a grand total of three arrests in all of the environmental vigilantism in the West, and one of the apprehensions wouldnít have occurred if the suspect had been a decent shoplifter. Instead, Michael Scarpitti (who says he changed his name to Tre Arrow at the request of the trees) was caught trying to steal bolt cutters in Vancouver, B.C. That was in March of this year. He still has yet to be extradited back to the United States.
The only person unlucky enough to get caught and convicted in the West by the FBI was Jacob D.B. Sherman, who admitted to burning log and cement trucks in two incidents in northern Oregon in 2001. Scarpitti is charged in the same crimes, as are two others, who the FBI hasnít managed to locate yet.
The third person the FBI has stumbled across in the West is William Cottrell, whoís accused of torching and vandalizing more than 120 sport utility vehicles in August 2003 in West Covina, Calif.
However, the fire of ecoterrorism is burning out of the woods and into cities and to the East Coast, so the FBI and other federal investigators might finally feel the heat. Environmental radicals have been busy in the New York City and Richmond, Va., areas the past four years.
Timber companies, developers, homeowners and others go through the long, prescribed processes to legally conduct their business, create jobs and make dreams come true, only to have terrorists who refuse to accept the results destroy their work.
Well, the long fuse of ecoterrorism has burned to within 25 miles of the nationís capital now. The result will, hopefully, be a long overdue explosion of law enforcement against these domestic terrorists.
© 2004 - Dennis Roler - All Rights Reserved
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Dennis Roler has been editor of the Grants Pass (Ore.) Daily Courier since 1990 and has worked in newspapers for a total of 30 years.
The FBI has had a poor record in
making arrests in the approximately 600 attacks ELF and the Animal Liberation
Front, a companion group, have claimed credit for the past 16 years.