Ecoterror laws tightening

Now that the mainstream media has finally picked up on the intelligent design stupidity, it's more or less out of the blogger's hands until the screw up their reporting. So, on to other previous topics for me again...

Raw Story picked up on a CNN article that turns out isn't all that new [freeper reprint], about the drive towards stricter ecoterrorism laws by state Republicans. Sen. Jeff Jacobson, the Ohio Republican who wants to introduce new legislation in his state describes his first encounter with the idea thus:

"I was drafting this about the time there were home bombings...(elsewhere)"

Though it is the 20th anniversary of the MOVE bombing, the good senator was probably referring to the Maryland arsons that were much-ballyhooed as ecoterror by what one used to refer to as a "liberal" media until they found out that the story was much more mundane than that. The irony is that had these fires actually been set by "eco-terrorists" and Senator Jacobson's law had been in place in Maryland, the exact same fire would have been treated as terrorism under the PATRIOT act. Imagine that for a moment: you set a fire because you're angry at your boss, you get a "regular" arson charge, you set the exact same fire because you want to save a bog and you're sent to Guantanamo.

Here's the wording of one of the proposed laws, this one from the state of New York, curtesy of the Humane Society. The law:

"Criminalizes political and social protests, demonstrations, and debate by animal or environmental advocates.

Prohibits anyone from donating money to an animal or environmental organization engaging in these activities.

Criminalizes the investigative practice of photographing and videotaping an animal or environmental facility.

Creates a state-run website on which people advocating against animal and environmental exploitation would be identified, photographed, and stigmatized as terrorists, much as states do with sex offenders and child molesters."

Sounds like the little old ladies on the upper west side that give money to PETA will now be viewed as terrorist financiers!

Admittedly, animal rights protesters breaking into labs often expose the very animals they're trying to save to dangers unknown to the protesters; plus what happens after a videotape is released can be highly annoying to researchers who usually spend lots of time and effort making sure their animals are treated humanely. However, in the unlikely event that the Amish farmers we get our organic chicken from treat their animals like KFC suppliers do, I'd really like to have someone out there with a video camera to tell me about it. This is especially true in a day and age when the USDA is hiring outside PR firms to whitewash controversial decrees and it takes blood and gore to get the attention of our comatose media. And it's not like this was not to be expected given the broadly-worded PATRIOT act:

"any crime committed with 'the use of any weapon or dangerous device,' when the intent of the crime is determined to be the endangerment of public safety or substantial property damage rather than for 'mere personal monetary gain'"

I'm not saying that direct-action environmentalists aren't bad dudes that need to be punished when they do wrong, but we're heading down a very difficult legal road when our laws become unable to distinguish camcorder-toting tree-huggers from 50mm assault rifle brandishing militias from dirty-bomb-packin' radical Islamists. Why, if not to shield industry, would these laws even be considered?