« Return to this article

Know the West

Anger on the Web


Note: This article is a sidebar to this issue's feature story.

Michael Lewinski, writing in the Unofficial Stop SuperVail Website, bcn.boulder.co.us/environment/Vail/, says that after the Oct. 19 arson at Vail, e-mail poured in.

"I've been called some extremely nasty names," he writes. - 'Nazi" seems the most popular so far.

"Ours is not the first movement to be hurt by the actions of an extremist who does not represent the views of 99.99 percent of those working for the cause. I create Web sites. In my meager spare time I work for social and environmental justice. I don't set fires or support anyone who does. There's only so many ways I can say that I reject violence as a solution - that I don't support it, endorse it, or believe in any way that violence will solve the problems we face today.

"Although I have never been on Vail Mountain, I also received several e-mails from people who loved the place and who were crushed by what the fires destroyed. One person wrote: "I skied there as a child and grew to appreciate nature there. I would like whoever it is that did this to know that they are responsible for killing a large number of whistle pigs, wood mice, weasels and other animals that lived under those structures ..."

"I hope that the Earth Liberation Front is reading this. You have severely hurt our cause, and I pray that you are caught before an incident like this hurts or kills someone, and before another legitimate campaign to protect wilderness is damaged by your efforts.

"To that end, I'm donating $50 to the reward fund for your capture and conviction."

Lewinski says he also wrote a letter to the Earth First! Journal in Eugene, Ore., letting people know that he was "pissed at the ELF" for threatening stepped-up violence. ELF's notice, posted on the Web, said: "This action is just a warning. We will be back if this greedy corporation continues to trespass into wild and unroaded areas. For your safety and convenience, we strongly advise skiers to choose other destinations until Vail cancels its inexcusable plans for expansion."

Lewinski said the message "begins to justify giving the FBI power to investigate radical environmentalists as a 'terrorist threat.'"