I would hope it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: I do not condone the acts of the ALF or, to the extent it’s extant, the ELF. Arson is a crime and should be prosecuted. Flooding, vandalism — not cool. Graffiti, well, it’s a menace.

To deem one’s cause more worthy than a living, breathing human being is the ultimate in jackassery. As yet, ELF has not gone there.

But destroying people’s stuff is also jackassery. A distinctly lower-order form of jackassery, but jackassery nonetheless. Only a jackass indulges in jackassery.

And let’s face it. Somebody’s going to get hurt. The more the feds inadvertently (?) publicize ELF, the more ELF will attract attention and self-proclaimed membership. Eventually it will attract a crank who will injure or kill someone. My sympathy for that crank is nil and I’m all for throwing the book at him.

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My concern is not whether "eco-terrorism" should be morally or legally condoned — it obviously shouldn’t. My concern is whether it is particularly significant, in terms of threats to the health and welfare of Americans. It seems to me the Bush administration is using it quite crassly, for political purposes, in a manner all out of proportion to the real danger it poses.