Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Criminal Animal-Rights Activists: Terrorists?

If the action of the person was driven by the desire to intimidate others with the threat of physical harm, is that not terrorism?

Yet, not one of these actions have resulted in the physical harm of anybody.

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Equating animal-rights activism with terrorism increases the penalties for offenders and will please many of their victims. But it is not in the interests of science.

Terrorist is not a word you throw around lightly. And it is certainly not a word you apply to anyone with whom you would like to have a civil conversation.
They are criminals, to be sure. Their arson cost millions of dollars and destroyed scientific work in progress. But although some of their more knuckleheaded actions could easily have accidentally hurt someone, their ethos was to damage property, never to hurt or kill.
many people have personally felt terrified by the actions of the most extreme. But 'terrorist' is a word so debased and loaded by political use that, if it has any meaning at all, it is counterproductive.
We should avoid building an unbreachable wall between criminal activists and their victims
We must all speak more objectively and calmly.

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