I'd meant to get to this sooner, but here it is now: Peter Daniel Young has issued a post-sentencing statement.
Mr. Young was busted some time ago for boosting CD's from a Starbuck's. After his arrest, he was identified as an AR activist, one who'd released mink from a farm in 1998, who'd been on the lam for several years before being apprehended for the CD caper. It was initially thought he'd face charges that, if convicted, could send him away for life to the Big House.
But then he got very lucky, and the four extortion charges he faced, for which he could have served 20 years each, were dropped. On November 8, Mr. Young was sentenced to the maximum sentence for which he was eligible: 2 years.
Here's what Mr. Young had to say on the day of his sentencing:
The following is Peter Young's statement to the court at his sentencing on November 8th, 2005. As Peter did a large amount of improvisation, the below text is not a verbatim record, but an approximate account based on his notes and the memory of supporters in the courtroom.
This is the customary time when the defendant expresses regret for the crimes they committed, so let me do that because I am not without my regrets. I am here today to be sentenced for my participation in releasing mink from 6 fur farms. I regret it was only 6. I'm also here today to be sentenced for my participation in the freeing of 8,000 mink from those farms. I regret it was only 8,000. It is my understanding of those 6 farms, only 2 of them have since shut down. I regret it was only 2.
I called this one completely wrong: I thought he'd flip on those who aided and abetted him in his flight from the law. At the time I made my prediction, I figured he was facing life, not a paltry 2 years, and I stupidly thought him to be less an ideologue than he obviously is.
I just wasn't cynical enough. My bad.
In reading Mr. Young's present statement, I suspect Mr. Young wouldn't flip no matter what sentence he's faced with. He's as convinced of the righteousness of his cause as any religious zealot.
More than anything, I regret my restraint, because whatever damage we did to those businesses, if those farms were left standing, and if one animal was left behind, then it wasn't enough.
I don't wish to validate this proceeding by begging for mercy or appealing to the conscience of the court, because I know if this system had a conscience I would not be here, and in my place would be all the butchers, vivisectors, and fur farmers of the world.
Well, Mr. Young is nothing if not a true believer. I suspect that Mr. Young, and those of his ilk who burn with similar ideological fervor, would have made grand missionaries in some other age.
Just as I will remain unbowed before this court- who would see me imprisoned for an act of conscience- I will also deny the fur farmers in the room the pleasure of seeing me bow down before them. To those people here whose sheds I may have visited in 1997, let me tell you directly for the first time, it was a please (sic) to raid your farms, and to free those animals you held captive. It is to those animals I answer to, not you or this court. I will forever mark those nights on your property as the most rewarding experience of my life.
And to those farmers or other savages who may read my words in the future and smile at my fate, just remember: We have put more of you in bankruptcy than you have put liberators in prison. Don't forget that.
Let me thank everyone in the courtroom who came to support me today. It is my last wish before prison that each of you drive to a nearby fur farm tonight, tear down its fence and open every cage.
Mr. Young has persuaded himself that he's fighting the good fight: he truly believes that the life of an animal and that of a human are of equal value, and both his action in releasing the mink and this statement are logically consistent with that premise.
The Peter Daniel Youngs of the world are not going to alter their views through discussion and negotiation, and it's as useless to try reasoning him out of his position as it is to try to reason any other true-believer out of his.
I think all true believers have a couple of things in common: the certainty that their conscience is infallible; the certainty that the cause they have committed themselves to is righteous; a belief that there is virtue in the depth of their commitment that exists separately from the nature of that commitment; a total clarity of vision which sees only blacks and whites, but no greys; and - often if not invariably - an inability to recognize other people, who hold beliefs diametrically opposed to their own, can be as honestly committed to those beliefs as they are to theirs (AR people often seem to believe that their opponents are well aware that they are doing immoral things to animals, but do so, for example, out of love of profit or a delight in torture, rather than out of principle).
In any event, I don't have much doubt that we'll see Mr. Young surface again in a few years, pursuing his Animal Liberationist agenda.
What is not clear is whether he'll follow Dr. Jerry Vlasak's lead and find assassination to be "morally acceptable."Brian