April 26th, 2017 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.
Ecoterrorism. Eco-terrorism is defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as “the use or threatened use of violence of a criminal nature against people or property by an environmentally oriented, subnational group for environmental-political reasons, or aimed at an audience beyond the target, often of a symbolic nature.” -Wikipedia
It appears that at least some people are beginning to take the shots fired into the side of our building a little more seriously.
By way of clarification, the March for Science here on Saturday did not pass right by our building, but started farther down our street. (As I’ve said before, the shots would not have been fired during the march. The expensive “boutique” FN Five-seven [5.7 mm] gun used has a loud report — everyone would have noticed.)
Also, there seems to be some disagreement whether all shots hit John Christy’s floor (4th floor of the NSSTC). UAH Chief of Staff Ray Garner has been quoted in this AL.com story that a few shots hit the third floor. I did not see those when surveying the outside; each floor has about 5 ft of window at the top, and 3 ft of siding below the window. Some of the bullets hit the siding below the window. Below the 4th floor would then be 5 feet of window on the third floor, and no third floor windows were hit that I could tell.
But it doesn’t really matter. The bullets all hit near John Christy’s office.
In fact, these details miss the big picture of this event. Even if: (1) the bullets had hit the other end of the building, (2) on the first floor, (3) it didn’t happen on Earth Day weekend, and (4) there was no March for Science that weekend, I would still consider 7 shots fired into our building a probable act of ecoterrorism.
I am not surprised this happened at all.
For the last 25 years our science has been viewed as standing in the way of efforts to institute a carbon tax or otherwise reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The amount of money involved in such changes in energy policy easily run into the hundreds of billions of dollars… more likely trillions.
When I was at NASA, my boss was personally told by Al Gore that Gore blamed our satellite temperature dataset for the failure of carbon tax legislation to pass.
So why am I not surprised that our building was shot up?
Because people have been killed for much less reason than hundreds of billions of dollars.
This is why the FBI needs to get involved in this case, if they haven’t already. Ecoterrorism is a federal crime. There were federal employees in the building at the time the shots were fired into the building.
The original media reports that the event was a “random shooting” were, in my opinion, irresponsible. As far as I know, there were no questions asked of us, like “Do you know why someone might have intentionally shot into your building?”
Well, hell, yes I know why. And I’m a little surprised it didn’t happen sooner.
John and I have testified in congress many times on our work. John has been particularly effective in his testimony over the years. While I believe the shots were a “message” to us, I don’t think John or I are that worried for our personal safety. Whoever did this is most likely not going to approach us and physically threaten us in person. Instead, we mostly just get hate mail. Nevertheless, just in case I took personal defense training with firearms years ago.
I doubt that the perps will ever be identified. But if UAH employees want to have a sense of safety, it is not helpful for such an event to be deemed a “random shooting” within only six hours of it being reported, and the public told it won’t be investigated any further. Last evening, the UAH police sent out emails to everyone on campus asking for any additional information related to the shooting, and correcting their previous statement that no one was in the building during the shooting (NWS employees are here 24/7). The FBI needs to also be involved in this, sending a message that if anyone tries to do this again, there might be consequences.
The parents of students considering attending UAH would expect no less.
CLARIFICATION: I didn’t mean to imply the motive for the shooting was necessarily financial, although the perps could have been paid to do what someone else was afraid to do on their own. It’s more likely they are religiously motivated, hoping to Save the Earth. Of course, the evidence that more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is good for life on Earth is not part of their religion.