Some time ago, I posted an article entitled "Vlasak's Rhetoric". The object of the post was the words of Jerry Vlasak, an MD and aggressive Holy Warrior for Animal Rights who has discussed the potential benefits to his cause of assassinating scientists who use animals in their research. I quoted some of Dr. Vlasak's statements in those posts.
The logic behind the assassination strategy is, obviously, the logic of terrorism: if a few scientists were to be killed, many others would cease their work out of fear for their lives. Additionally, those contemplating a career as a biomedical scientist would find other areas of endeavor.
Dr. Vlasak's words are, of course, not illegal: he has every right to discuss the fine points of terrorism and its tactical and strategic value (heaven knows, I myself discuss such issues!). Dr. Vlasak would correctly argue that dissecting the tactics, and hashing through the strengths and weaknesses of terrorism is fundamentally different than advocating acts of terror, or inciting others to act.
And I would agree.
And so, when Dr. Vlasak and other Holy Warriors provide their unpopular — indeed incendiary — opinions, they are protected by the First Amendment (at least in the US).
That's a good thing.
Now to cases. Yesterday, I received from an anonymous source a CD with about 4 minutes of what the source said was Dr. Vlasak speaking at the "Animal Rights 2003" convention, held in Los Angeles at the Westin LAX hotel.
My source reports: "I was in the room when Jerry Vlasak talked about murdering scientists. I don't know Vlasak, but he scares the hell out of me, and he's the biggest reason I turned away from the whole animal movement."
I listened to the CD, and you can listen to it here. I found the words themselves to be very disturbing, but I was chilled by how casually the murdering of people for political advantage was presented.
Here is a transcript of a portion of the recording:
Male, presumably Vlasak: "I think there is a use for violence in our movment. And I think it can be an effective strategy. Not only is it morally acceptable, I think that there are places where it could be used quite effectively from a pragmatic standpoint.
"For instance, if vivisectors were routinely being killed, I think it would give other vivisectors pause in what they were doing in their work — and if these vivisectors were being targeted for assassination, and call it political assassination or what have you, I think if — and I wouldn't pick some guy way down the totem pole, but if there were prominent vivisectors being assassinated, I think that there would be a trickle-down effect and many, many people who are lower on that totem pole would say, 'I'm not going to get into this business because it's a very dangerous business and there's other things I can do with my life that don't involve getting into a dangerous business.' And I think that the — strictly from a fear and intimidation factor, that would be an effective tactic.
"And I don't think you'd have to kill — assassinate — too many vivisectors before you would see a marked decrease in the amount of vivisection going on. And I think for 5 lives, 10 lives, 15 human lives, we could save a million, 2 million, 10 million non-human animals.
"And I — you know — people get all excited about, 'Oh what's going to happen when — the ALF accedentally kills soomebody in an arson?' Well, I mean — I think we need to get used to this idea. It's going to happen, okay? It's going to happen."
Unknown female speaker: "That's just like the pro-life movement killing abortion doctors."
Male, presumably Vlasak: "Absolutely. I think they had a great strategy going."
If you haven't already, do listen to the recording to get the full effect — a transcript doesn't seem to do justice to the impact of (the putative) Dr. Vlasak exercising his First Amendment right of free speech. Make your own call as to what our Holy Warrior considers within the bounds of proper behavior.
Keep in mind that Holy Warriors operate on the basis of several core beliefs: first, morally, animals are as worthy as humans of having rights; second, it is the duty of moral beings to fight for those rights; third, this is literally a war, where killing is the coin of the realm ... if you violate the "rights" of an animal, you deserve to pay the ultimate price.
And don't forget the way in which ideologues like the good Dr. legally recruit anonymous useful idiots who end up doing the dastardly deeds, and pay the jail-time price when caught.
Of course, I have no way to verify the authenticity of this recording. But it rings true to me. If Dr. Vlasak disputes the authenticity of this recording, I'd be more than happy to post that here.
UPDATE: 7/11/05. Dr. Vlasak has gone even further . . .