Give Me a Break: E.L.F. and Arson

ByCommentary<br>By John Stossel

April 30, 2001 -- All over the country, houses have gone up in flames. Many of these fires are not accidents. They were set, according to Craig Rosebraugh, for the glorious cause of fighting capitalism.

"Capitalism, I argue, is at the root of arguing most of today's social problems," says Rosebraugh, the spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front, or E.L.F.

Rosebraugh says what's wrong with America is "apple pie, baseball and screw anyone or anything you can, doesn't matter, it's called profit."

His organization believes that if the fruits of profits threaten the earth, like people's fancy houses, then they should be burned down. "The most effective action going and making sure no one is in that building and burning the place to the ground," Rosebraugh says.

When his group fire-bombed some homes in Mount Sinai, N.Y., they left a sign saying, "If you build it, we will burn it."

Rosebraugh defends the actions, saying, "There's no reason in the world that an individual, a private individual should ... have the ability to own something that's so luxurious."

He says E.L.F. is trying to defend the "natural law," which is the right to "clean air, clear water and clean soil." Some big houses, he says, are violating those rights.

Rosebraugh says he sets no fires himself; he just speaks for E.L.F.

Burning down Forest Service buildings in Medford, Ore., he explains, was done to protect the earth, and destroying a ski lodge in Vail, Colo., was necessary because the resort's expansion threatened the lynx.

E.L.F.'s latest enemy is sprawl. Today some so-called environmentalists sneer at these suburbs, calling them tacky, automobile-centered and wasteful. Of course what some call sprawl, others still call the American dream: having affordable space for the kids and a back yard.

But Rosebraugh doesn't agree with the notion of personal property. He says people who build big homes "fail to realize and recognize that their very actions may be destroying the ability for others to survive on this planet." He adds, "Actions should be taken to make them realize that."

E.L.F. would never kill people, says Rosebraugh. The activists only attack property to protect trees and animals.

Of course their fires kill trees and animals.

Give me a break!

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