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Domestic Terrorism in Santa Cruz, CA

John on August 4, 2008 at 11:00 am

Next time you hear some liberal politician talking about anti-science Republicans, you might want to bring up this:

Two University of California-Santa Cruz research scientists were targets of firebombs early Saturday, which authorities called a troubling sign of escalating violence against university researchers who use animals in their labs.

Santa Cruz police labeled the incidents “acts of domestic terrorism.”

In the off-campus incident, a well-known molecular biologist and his family, including two small children, were forced to escape a smoke-filled house using a second-story ladder after a firebomb was intentionally set off, police said. One family member sustained injuries requiring brief hospitalization, and police are calling the firebombing, which occurred shortly before 6 a.m., a case of attempted homicide.

About the same time, a car belonging to a researcher parked at a home on campus also was firebombed, destroying the vehicle.

The violence occurred four days after a customer at Caffe Pergolesi, a downtown Santa Cruz coffeehouse, found fliers listing the names, home addresses, home phone numbers and photos of 13 UC-Santa Cruz science researchers and professors. Police believe unidentified animal rights activists created the fliers, which were made to appear as “wanted posters.” They warned: “Animal abusers everywhere beware; we know where you live; we know where you work; we will never back down until you end your abuse.”

This is not the first such incident:

The FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are leading the investigation. They were also called in after another UC-Santa Cruz scientist’s family was terrorized. In late February, six masked intruders broke into the home as the family celebrated a daughter’s 8th birthday.

“The pattern and string of attacks has been escalating against the research and science community here as well as at other University of California campuses,” Clark said.

Those responsible haven’t been identified, but at least one group seemed to take credit for the bombings:

While a spokesman said he didn’t know who committed the act, the Woodland Hills-based Animal Liberation Front called the attacks a “necessary” act, just like those who fought against civil rights injustices. Spokesman Dr. Jerry Vlasak showed no remorse for the family or children who were targeted.

“If their father is willing to continue risking his livelihood in order to continue chopping up animals in a laboratory than his children are old enough to recognize the consequences,” said Vlasak, a former animal researcher who is now a trauma surgeon. “This guy knows what he is doing. He knows that every day that he goes into the laboratory and hurts animals that it is unreasonable not to expect consequences.”

Dr. Vlasak is a former surgeon who has become the mouthpiece for these groups. He has been convicted once and served jail time for “targeted protesting” and he is on record supporting the murder of researchers:

I think there is a use for violence in our movement. And I think it can be an effective strategy. Not only is it morally acceptable, I think that there are places where it could be used quite effectively from a pragmatic standpoint.

For instance, if vivisectors were routinely being killed, I think it would give other vivisectors pause in what they were doing in their work — and if these vivisectors were being targeted for assassination … — and I wouldn’t pick some guy way down the totem pole, but if there were prominent vivisectors being assassinated, I think that there would be a trickle-down effect and many, many people who are lower on that totem pole would say, “I’m not going to get into this business because it’s a very dangerous business …

[Hat tip: See-Dub @ Michelle Malkin]

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Category: Science & Tech |

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