James Jay Lee wasn't a stranger to the Discovery Channel employees he terrorized Wednesday with a gun and with what appeared to be makeshift bombs strapped to his chest and back.
Lee, a 43-year-old California man with a seemingly religious fervor for his environmental causes, had a history of targeting the channel for its programming, most notably in a 2008 protest in front of the channel's Silver Spring, Md., headquarters, where 1,900 employees work. On that day, the protest included tossing wads of cash in the air, and it ended in his arrest.
But web postings show Lee was increasingly obsessed with civilization's "filth" and the problem of over-population, which he blamed on "parasitic human infants." That obsession ended Wednesday afternoon when police shot and killed him to end a nearly four-hour hostage standoff inside the Discovery headquarters. Lee's three hostages escaped safely.
Oh, and the Al Gore Connection?
Lee said he started his crusade after being laid off from a job in San Diego. He also appears to have been inspired by books by the environmental novelist Daniel Quinn, notably Quinn's "Ishmael." He singled out pages of that novel in his manifesto, saying that Discovery should create programming based on its message. He said he also was inspired by Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth."
OK, I'll stipulate that Al Gore's intention was not to inspire this nutbag to do what he did, but his actions underscore the "inconvenient truth" that eco-terrorism is a reality, and over-heated rhetoric (and the abject refusal to even debate the issue)concerning the imminent destruction of the planet provides ample fuel for those who see themselves as "saviors of the world".
As for James Lee, I guess he accomplished his goal: there's one less "parasite" on his beloved planet.