By Chris White
An editor of a Colorado newspaper argued that environmental activists could morally justify committing violent acts of terror on Americans in the fracking industry, similar to how President Donald Trump justified bombing Syria, in a brief email exchange Saturday with The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Boulder Daily Camera Executive Editor Kevin Kaufman believe citizens who support Trump’s decision to bomb Syria had no grounds to contest the idea that anti-fracking activists were justified blowing up oil and gas wells in the U.S. He told TheDCNF that the two issues are essentially one and the same.
“I suspect it was a violent act supported by both the right and left, but it also was one fundamentally based upon a moral question,” Kaufman wrote in email about Trump’s decision to strike a Syrian air base in response to a chemical weapons attack by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“So it’s ok for the U.S., currently under the leadership of a right-leaning president, to take violent action on moral grounds, but it is not ok for citizens of Boulder County to ask fellow citizens to consider even violent actions?” Kaufman asked.
Kaufman’s statement was in response to questions about whether it was appropriate for The Camera to publish a letter promoting violence against the fracking industry. Kaufman’s paper published a letter April 19 suggesting Colorado citizens have a moral obligation to destroy pipelines and eliminate oil jobs.
Editors altered the piece after publication, but left the writer’s basic thesis in place: violence may be the only way to prevent pipeline construction.
“If the oil and gas industry puts fracking wells in our neighborhoods, threatening our lives and our children’s lives, then don’t we have a moral responsibility to blow up wells and eliminate fracking and workers?” Andrew O’Connor wrote in a letter to the paper’s editors.
The piece was edited the following day to read “don’t we have a moral responsibility to take action to dissuade frackers from operating here?” The editorial staff included in the edits its reason for not retracting the letter entirely.
O’Connor’s piece is worthwhile, the editorial board noted, because it brings up philosophical ideas that are important to consider when discussing fracking.
“This letter was edited to delete references that may have been construed to expressly advocate violence or property destruction,” the editors wrote. “The Camera does not condone or endorse violence or property destruction of any kind.”
The Camera’s editorial page editor, Dave Krieger, apologized Monday for not paying enough attention to the content of the letter.
“Last week, I failed to do my job,” he wrote. “It was a momentary failing, but in this business, as in many others, a momentary mistake can turn into hours of cleanup.”