The gunman holding hostages in the Silver Spring, Md., headquarters of the Discovery Channel has been tentatively identified as James Jay Lee, an apparent eco-fascist who thinks that immigrants are breeding "filthy human children" and helping to wreck the planet. Lee, 43, had been arrested in February 2008 at a rally he organized outside the same building to demand the channel help find solutions to the global population explosion and the extinction of many animal species.
Authorities said the man -- who they said they had not positively identified yet -- walked into the building early this afternoon with a gun and what appeared to be explosive canisters attached to his belt. At about 3:15 p.m. Eastern, police said they were negotiating with the man, who was holding "a small number of hostages." They said they knew of no injuries, despite an early unconfirmed report that at least one shot was fired during the incident.
In a list of demands he apparently posted before invading the Discovery building, Lee, whose MySpace page identifies him as a Silver Springs resident, repeatedly spoke of "parasitic human infants" and "unwanted pollution babies" and furiously argued that humans were destroying the planet with pollution, war and overpopulation. But unlike earlier eco-terrorists like Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Lee zeroed in on immigrants as a primary evil. He spoke of "anchor baby filth," a reference to babies born in the United States to undocumented immigrants.
"NO MORE BABIES!" he wrote in his list of demands. "Population growth is a real crisis. Even one child born in the US will use 30 to a thousand times more resources than a Third World child. It's like a couple are having 30 babies even though it's just one. If the US goes in this direction maybe other countries will too!"
The argument that immigration fuels environmental degradation has become increasingly popular in nativist circles. In late July, in fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center released a special report -- "Greenwash: Nativists, Environmentalism & the Hypocrisy of Hate" -- that detailed how right-wing immigration restrictionists were attempting to appeal to environmentalists to join their battle. The report suggested that most of those making such appeals were disingenuous about their interest in the environment and were merely cynically seeking allies.
That doesn't seem to be the case with Lee, who seems to have started out as an environmentalist, but one who became more and more extreme. On his MySpace page, he calls for "REVOLUTION!" and describes himself as an atheist. In his set of demands, he says: "Nothing is more important than saving... Lions, Tigers, Giraffes, Elephants, Froggies, Turtles, Apes, Raccoons, Beetles, Ants, Sharks, Bears, and, of course, Squirrels. The humans? The planet does not need humans."
According to his set of demands, Lee invaded the Discovery building in an attempt to force the network to introduce programming pushing for population control and against warfare that is destructive to the planet.