Scott Tibbs
Published in the Herald-Times, 7-12-2002

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Blame, criticism unfair

To the Editor:

The Herald-Times is right in its July 2nd editorial that political rhetoric, even harsh criticism, is not the cause of terrorism from the likes of the Earth Liberation Front. I have seen blame placed on the pro-life movement as a whole too many times for acts of anti-abortion terrorism, and just as the pro-life movement is not responsible for anti-abortion terrorism; the environmental movement is not responsible for eco-terrorism. We must concentrate on personal responsibility and place blame the only place it belongs: with the thugs who commit acts of terror.

But while it is unfair to place the blame for eco-terrorism on environmental activism, the vicious and hateful personal attacks against Steve Smith were uncalled for and should be condemned on their own merits. Smith may have made a mistake, but the venom directed against him personally for that mistake is unworthy of a "safe and civil city".

However, environmentalists and elected officials must strongly and unequivocally denounce and distance themselves from the participants in the near-riot last summer at a County Council meeting. Tolerating that shameful act, much less supporting the participants of it, sends a disturbing message that more severe acts will not be taken seriously.

Finally, the H-T was irresponsible in a picture caption on July 3rd with the text "vandalism condemned". This isn't spray-painting we are dealing with. Someone's home was burned to the ground and a firefighter nearly lost his life fighting the blaze. To label the arson as "vandalism" trivializes a serious act.