Biology Medicine Science

Animal rights terrorists firebomb a researcher’s house

It’s happened again, only this time it’s escalated. Sadly, this escalation was predictable.

Remember back in February, when I discussed how animal rights terrorists had been harassing a researcher at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC)? At the time, protesters attempted a home invasion of a researcher, leading to a police response where a home was searched by the police. This time around, however, these thugs have turned violent:

SANTA CRUZ — The FBI today is expected to take over the investigation of the Saturday morning firebombings of a car and of a Westside home belonging to two UC Santa Cruz biomedical researchers who conduct experiments on animals.

Santa Cruz police officials said Sunday the case will be handed to the FBI to investigate as domestic terrorism while local authorities explore additional security measures for the 13 UCSC researchers listed in a threatening animal-rights pamphlet found in a downtown coffee shop last week.

“The FBI has additional resources and intelligence into groups and individuals that might have the proclivity to carry out this kind of activity,” police Capt. Steve Clark said. “The FBI has a whole other toolbox of tools for this kind of investigation.”
The front porch of a faculty member’s home on Village Circle off High Street was hit with a firebomb about 5:40 a.m. Saturday, police said. The bomb ignited the front door of the home and filled the house with smoke, police said. About the same time, a Volvo station wagon parked in a faculty member’s on-campus driveway on Dickens Way was destroyed by a firebomb, police said.

Clark described the bombs as devices, which he said investigators have seen used by animals rights activists in the past, as “Molotov cocktail on steroids.”

Here’s more:

Sophie Salama, who answered the phone at Professor David Feldheim’s home Saturday and said she lived there, declined to describe what police said was a harrowing pre-sunrise scramble down a fire escape ladder with two young children. Feldheim’s name and address had appeared on the flier.

Once more, cowardly animal rights thugs, unable to persuade using ideas, resort to violence. That no one was seriously injured or died is incredibly fortunate. Naturally, this was the culmination of a campaign of intimidation:

This appears to be the latest in a string of incidents targeting UCSC researchers and others in Santa Cruz.

Fliers identifying 13 UCSC scientists, some of whom use mice, fruit flies and other nonprimate creatures in their research, were discovered at a downtown coffee shop Tuesday. The fliers say, “Animal abusers everywhere beware; we know where you live; we know where you work; we will never back down until you end your abuse.” The names, home addresses, home phone numbers and photos of researchers were published on the fliers.

Drosophila? How messed up do you have to be to threaten violence over Drosophila experiments? They’re fruit flies!

Right on cue, as he almost always does, that disgrace to surgeons everywhere, that lying scum of a spokesperson for the Animal Liberation Front whom I like to call “Sgt. Schulz” for his amazing ability always to be around or associated with acts animal rights violence but who always claims that “I know nuttink; I see nuttink” when asked if he knows who did it, that man who induces in me a strong urge to vomit every time I see or hear him, Dr. Jerry Vlasak, popped up to spew his venomous hate:

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.”

Isn’t he nice? He doesn’t care about anything other than his cause, and if a researcher’s children happen to die in one of his buddies’ attacks, well, to him it’s regrettable but all just collateral damage. Anything for the cause. Indeed, here’s an old quote from him:

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 call it political assassination or what have you, I think if — 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 and there’s other things I can do with my life that don’t involve getting into a dangerous business.” And I think that the — strictly from a fear and intimidation factor, that would be an effective tactic.

And I don’t think you’d have to kill — assassinate — too many vivisectors before you would see a marked decrease in the amount of vivisection going on. And I think for 5 lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human animals.

And I — you know – people get all excited about, “Oh what’s going to happen when – the ALF accidentally kills somebody in an arson?” Well, you know I mean — I think we need to get used to this idea. It’s going to happen, okay? It’s going to happen.

Early Saturday morning at UCSC, it almost did, and Vlasak (I refuse to call him “Dr.” anymore; he long ago proved himself unworthy of the title) applauded this attempted murder of a researcher and his family in a statement issued by the ALF:

Animal Liberation Press Officer Jerry Vlasak, MD states: “UC Santa Cruz may consider themselves an institution of higher education, but they are also an institution of animal torture and killing. Their research is a colossal waste of taxpayer money, and is considered unethical and fraudulent by most physicians interested in research that might help their patients. These animals are terrified and abused beyond belief in these experiments, and this continued depravity by cruel wanna-be scientists simply cannot be justified any longer in a civilized society. This is historically what happens whenever revolutionaries begin to take the oppression and suffering of their fellow beings seriously, whether human or non human. It’s regrettable that certain scientists are willing to put their families at risk by choosing to do wasteful animal experiments in this day and age.”

No, it’s “regrettable” that Vlasak’s friends are violent, immoral, and stupid scum and that he’s a mouthpiece for terrorists.

Also, comparing animal rights terrorists with civil rights advocates in the 1950s and 1960s is an insult to the memory of those nonviolent protesters who, sometimes at great personal risk, spoke out against injustice. Vlasak’s cowardly little band of animal rights terrorists are far more akin to the Ku Klux Klan and white power rangers who used violence to try to stop the civil rights marchers. They’re far more akin to the criminals who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church in 1963 and other thugs who tried to stop the civil rights movement through violence and terrorism. They are scum.

Here’s hoping that whoever is responsible for these attacks is found, arrested, and locked up for a long, long time. Even better would be if any concrete link to Vlasak could be found. He’s been clever–very clever–until now, always maintaining a distance from his terrorist buddies, but he’s not perfect. One day he will slip up, and on that day I will be most pleased to see police wipe that self-righteous smirk off of his face by throwing him into maximum security prison with other terrorists.

News stories on the attack:

  1. Police: UCSC researchers targeted in firebombings this morning (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
  2. Firebombs hit home of UC Santa Cruz professor, car of researcher (Contra Costa Times)
  3. Firebombs target UC-Santa Cruz scientists who use animals in research (Mercury News)

The local chapter of ALF gloats while disavowing knowledge:

Home, Auto of UC-Santa Cruz Vivisectors Set Ablaze

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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