Anti-SUV radicals say `we know where you live' - nation in brief - activists target sport utility vehicle owners
You've got to figure that Porsche knows something about what the car-buying public wants. The automaker is not exactly giving vehicles away; we're talking big bucks here. And Porsche has just announced it will field the fastest sport utility vehicle (SUV) on the road. So, what the public wants, apparently, is a very expensive gas-guzzling hybrid Sherman tank, bank vault and upscale cocktail lounge on wheels that will cruise at 180 mph.
These are perilous times and you have to be prepared for anything. And owners of the new Porsche SUV best had be prepared to be numero uno on the hit list of the crusaders against SUVs who currently are handing out "tickets" that look very official. This is definitely the kinder, gentler approach compared to a number of reported arson attacks on SUVs, including an incident last year in Oregon where 30 vehicles were torched on a dealer's lot.
The Cambridge, Mass.-based activist group Earth on Empty Artists in Action has been running a sophisticated nationwide campaign recruiting activists to pass out their "tickets." The cards prominently feature the word "Violation," and go on to rant about air pollution, global warming, "gasoholic tendencies" and all the rest of the environmentalist rap. The group sells the tickets to interested activists in bunches of 25 on up to a 9,000-ticket packet that also includes instructions for organizing a "guerrilla art strike" maps and press kits.
Recipients of the tickets are not taking the matter lightly, if responses posted on one Website are an indication. A New Hampshire SUV owner advised: "Go preach to the Left Coast. You will have a more obedient mindless audience." Some negative comments sent in to the Website (www.earthonempty.com) were less restrained.
In notes that are not posted on the Website but were reviewed by the New York Times, the more printable variously labeled the activists as tree-huggers, socialists, elitists, litterers, leftists, losers, homosexuals, Democrats and filthy people, among other things. Other respondents tried to reason with the opposition, mentioning safety factors or their need for a vehicle that can transport a large family, dogs and bicycles.
Earth on Empty is but one of a growing number of anti-SUV groups. Friends of the Earth has launched a "Roadhog" campaign, with a Website at www.suv.org. The group sells bumper stickers, including one that says SUV owners are supporters of OPEC, implying an exclusivity that is really only a matter of degree. The Friends outfit, at least in its overt statements, merely is out to change fuel-consumption standards for SUVs. Others are out for destruction.
Far more radical is the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) whose spokesperson conveys a message purportedly from the arsonists who torched the 30 SUVs in Oregon. ELF posts arson tips on its Website. The group's standard line is that "The ELF has never harmed an individual in its history." Anyone with half a brain can predict that ELF's history will not repeat itself forever. The only question would be whether the first injured or dead will be a firefighter, security guard, good Samaritan or one of the gas-can-toting lunatic fringe.
The individuals who did an estimated $1 million in damage at the Oregon dealership have not been apprehended, but two men who attempted similar acts of arson on behalf of ELF at the site now are serving long prison terms. One of them, a vegetarian anarchist by the name of Craig "Critter" Marshall, claims he acted in order to punish automakers and consumers. In a statement on a sympathetic Website he says, "I believe it is my duty to destroy as much capital as is necessary to bring the current ecocidal domination to an end."
Then "Critter" gets down and dirty, noting that the perpetrators of this domination have names and addresses. "So let's go get these motherf--s; we know where they are."