A sympathetic judge sentenced confessed arsonist Rebecca Rubin to 5 years in prison for her role in four fire bombings in the name of the Animal Liberation Front and the Earth Liberation Front. The judge also ordered Rubin to make monthly restitution payments totaling $13 million. Rubin was on the run for 6 years before turning herself in.
Seeking clemency in a letter to the judge, Rubin offered enligthened reflections about her past behavior:
“The years I spent leafleting, trail building, working in animal sanctuaries, peacefully protesting, blockading, hunger striking, canvassing, and letter writing, all seemed to have accomplished nothing. I let my frustration and desperation override my ability to make well-reasoned decisions; to maintain the calm and patience required of slow, sustained struggle; and I failed to seriously consider the negative consequences of my actions in both the short and long term.”
“Although at the time I believed my only motivation was my deep love for the earth, I now understand that impatience, anger, egotism and self-righteousness were also involved”
“In retrospect, I recognize how immature my actions were. I am now forty years old and have had much time to reflect on and consider the consequences of my choices, and my thinking has become much more coherent. I know now that my actions were not merely destructive of inanimate objects but were also harmful to other, feeling human beings. […] I chose to disconnect from them emotionally and was thus able to dehumanize and vilify them. In doing so, I thoughtlessly disregarded the adverse emotional and psychological impact that would result from my actions.”
“I would never have forgiven myself had anyone been injured, or worse, in the fires, and l am disappointed in myself that I took such a risk. I realize that instead of causing damage and destruction, I could have been advocating for, or nursing, or otherwise helping animals, while at the same time retaining my compassion for people”
Indeed, damaging decades of scientific research, firebombing homes, blowing up cars, and straightforward threats and harassment are not truly directed at inanimate objects, they are attacks that have the specific goal to harm people to advance a political cause. The judge had simply words for Rubin on this issue:
“That kind of damage is not how democracy works or how true change is accomplished.”
Rubin’s self-revelation and the judge’s lesson stand in sharp contrast with the words of other animal rights extremists, such as Carol Glasser, of the mis-named group “Progress for Science”, who apparently holds the view that an activist’s frustration is good reason to justify criminal behavior when she says:
Whatever we are doing as a movement is not working, it is not saving animal lives. I think it is a waste of our time to demonize people who put their own life, their own safety, their own health, and their own freedom at risk, because they can’t imagine another way to help the animals. It is total bullshit of us, to point a finger and demonize them.
That is, of course, exactly how Rubin felt. And today, even Rubin would disagree with these awful words. One can only hope the impatient, angry, egotist and self-righteous animal rights extremists of today will learn something from those of yesterday. Harassment, intimidation and violence are not the way to advance a political cause. They would be wise to learn from the mistakes of others before they make their own and are admonished with the same words — that is not how democracy works.
We will be counter-demonstrasting!
When: February 15, 10:15am sharp!
Where: Franz Hall Lobby @ UCLA (near Hilgard and Westholme) http://maps.ucla.edu/campus/