Purported eco-terrorist shot and killed by police

UPDATE:  Shockingly, Anthony Watts stands behind his offensive post and comments.

Today, a demented, violent individual held people hostage with a gun and bombs strapped to his body at the Discovery Communications building in Silver Spring, MD.   He was ultimately shot and killed by police.  Thankfully, the hostages were safe.

For Anthony Watts, this bizarre tragedy is an opportunity to launch his most offensive headline to date at WattsUpWithThat:

And the first line of Watts’ post is “Well, you filthy readers, see what happens when we don’t acquiesce?”  Remember, Watts is a guy who just a few weeks ago demanded others “dial back the rhetoric.” Seriously.

Not only didn’t Watts’ commenters question that beyond-the-pale headline, but many of them posted equally offensive comments in the same vein, which Watts permitted.

Watts actually snipped one comment as “waaaay over the top” but let through comments like “Given leaders like Gore, Holdren and Hansen I am only surprised this did not happen soon” (sic) and “He must be one of Hansen’s understudys!!” (sic — or is that sick?)  We now have the full measure of Anthony Watts.

Earlier this year, Watts directly questioned the patriotism of both Tamino and Rabett (see “Peak readership for anti-science blogs?“) leading Tamino to write, “This just might be the most loathsome thing Watts has yet done with his blog.”  Watts topped that today.

The right wing couldn’t be happier that this nutjob has expressed environmental views.  But the fact is, like lots of crazy people, he defies category or logic.  Think Progress notes he was angered over immigration pollution and anchor babies, and he wrote “Programs must be developed to find solutions to stopping ALL immigration pollution and the anchor baby filth that follows that.”  See also Wonk Room’s “Alleged Gunman’s Manifesto Echoes Anti-immigrant Groups’ Malthusian Screed.”

I don’t think you can tell much about this guy from his actions and writing other than the fact that he was crazy every which way.

But you can tell a lot about the anti-science, pro-pollution blogosphere by how they react to this and whether or not they denounce Anthony Watts.

NOTE:  Please keep the comments civil.  This is NOT WattsUpWithThat.

I closed comments overnight because I didn’t want the anti-science crowd coming here and trying to post phony comments pretending to be from science-minded CP readers, as I can assure you they sometimes do.  They are now reopened.

UPDATE: Watts stands behind his offensive post and the comments.  His entire, laughable defense:

Predictably, Joe Romm has turned this post into a personal bashing of me over at his Climate Progress blog. For some eye opening viewpoints from his side of the argument, have a look at the 495 comments on his parent blog “Think Progress” here.

Seriously.  The multiple comments he let through bashing me (and Hansen, Gore, and Holdren) before I wrote this post are so offensive, so utterly beyond the pale, you’d think he couldn’t write that with a straight face.

As for his defense — some other website has outrageous comments, too — let me set the record straight on that.  Think Progress is not my “parent blog” and I have no control whatsoever over its content or comments (and vice versa).  Moreover, TP has a policy of not filtering threads, because they don’t want to suggest that they own  the stuff they don’t filter.  I would note that many large websites — including most newspapers — have a similar policy.  But Watts does edit his comments — so his defense is no defense at all.

50 Responses to Purported eco-terrorist shot and killed by police

  1. David says:

    Given his strong anti-immigrant rhetoric, [snip]

  2. Lloyd Alter says:

    Thank you Joe, it has been a hard day.

  3. When I saw the story on CNN, I wondered how long it would be before the doubt machine started using this to attack scientists. It’s sad that they are so predictable.

  4. adelady says:

    Predictable and poisonous.

    Remember, there is no bar that can be set low enough that some horrible statement can’t still worm its way through.

  5. PeterW says:

    It never ceases to amaze me how the Tea Party Climate denying crowd always seem to find new ways to stoop ever lower. When Obama was elected I thought some sort of sanity had finally taken hold in the U.S. but here we are almost 2 years later and it seems like the craziness is getting worse. How on earth can you educate people when the MSM keeps giving these lunatics a pass and politicians cower in fear of them?

  6. Lore says:

    Why anyone would confuse this demented individual as being an environmentalist is beyond me. It amounts to nothing more then red meat for the simple minded over there. Could it just be that Watts is getting more desperate for an issue to keep his base pumped up? Maybe he is taking lessons from Palin?

  7. Wit'sEnd says:

    JR, you run a tight ship. And that is why your blog is so informative and invaluable – not just your own brilliant and prescient posts, but the many commenters who are allowed to link to various and sundry informative articles and research.

    Thank you and keep it up!

  8. MarkB says:

    “NOTE: Please keep the comments civil.”

    I have nothing civil to say regarding Watts, so I’ll limit it a dissection of his inane logic.

    1. An individual likes cabbage.

    2. An individual goes on a violent rampage.

    3. Conclusion: All individuals who like cabbage are prone to going on violent rampages. When Cabbage Lovers Attack!

    So the nutjob had environmental concerns, like billions of us. The question is, did the material he claims he was motivated by urge him directly or indirectly to do what he did today? If someone physically attacked a climate scientist, and it became apparent he was a reader of ClimateDepot, you could point to a statement by Marc Morano “climate scientists deserve to be publicly flogged”.

    An example that involved an actual murder was that of George Tiller, an abortion doctor.

    “The Fox News star had compared Tiller to a Nazi, called him a “baby killer,” and warned of “Judgment Day””

    Here, there was a clear link between severe Hate speech directed at the doctor and a violent act.

  9. This sad episode provides more fodder for the ideologues who will assert that “Hitler was a progressive!” (I’ve already seen that one today), “Environmentalism is fascism!” … Wrong is Right! Up is Down! …

    I only wish I was joking.

    Quite aside from the insanity of taking a cable channel hostage — the Discovery Channel? — the utter incoherence of this individual’s “message” ought to be a clue. But since it looks just like what the deniers themselves do, they assume it is representative.

  10. Ed says:

    It says a lot about Mr. Watts that he would exploit the death of a mentally ill individual to promote his website.

  11. mike says:

    So, Joe, what was “purported” about this guy being an ecoterrorist? Seems pretty open and closed: he took hostages, and he ran a radical left environmentalist website.

    [JR: I’m letting this comment through to show you the kind of nonsense people try to post here on a regular basis.]

  12. David Smith says:

    It seems he was motivated in part by conservative immigration politics. I don’t think he chose sides though his methods seem to be influenced by rhetoric from the right.

  13. mike roddy says:

    Anthony’s entire life’s work- temperature stations, hockey sticks, and recovering Arctic ice- has been shown to be garbage. If I were him, I’d crack up, too.

  14. Paulm says:’s Bill McKibben on David Letterman: Put Solar on the White House on 10/10/10

  15. Paulm says:

    Let’s put solar back on the White House!
    Join the Call to Put Solar on the White House and get updates from the road trip!

    In 1979, President Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the White House. In 1986, President Reagan removed them and they were never replaced. Years later, Unity College in Maine adopted the panels where they have lived ever since. Until now.

  16. John Hollenberg says:

    I work in Mental Health and find it reprehensible that Watts would use the death of this individual (who was quite likely psychotic) to further his twisted agenda.

  17. Fred Teal says:

    I am very sorry to see that the rhetoric has reached such a low point. I have just finished watching “The Age of Stupid”. Boy, we really are there. I just hope we can change the outcome pictured in the film.

  18. Peter says:

    The Tea Party/Republicans are having their last gasp. Demographics will reduce their power electorally in the future.

  19. John Mason says:

    Fully agree with what Fred #18 said.

    Playing politics over someone who had clearly lost the plot is taking poor taste down to new levels.

    Cheers – John

  20. Colorado Bob says:

    Wall St. firm behind slow solar pace on federal lands?
    Goldman Sachs subsidiary bought lots of leases — but hasn’t used them

    An Associated Press examination of U.S. Bureau of Land Management records and interviews with agency officials shows that the BLM operated a first-come, first-served leasing system that quickly overwhelmed its small staff and enabled companies, regardless of solar industry experience, to squat on land without any real plans to develop it.

  21. Colorado Bob says:

    Climate change puts China harvests at risk

    Publishing in the journal Nature, a team of Chinese scientists say China’s climate “has clearly warmed” over the past half century, gaining 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1960.

    The hotspots were northeastern China with a warming trend of 0.36 C (0.65 F) per decade, and Inner Mongolia, with a warming of 0.4 C (0.7 F) per decade.

  22. DavidCOG says:

    This comes as no surprise to anyone with the least familiarity of Watts. Beneath that forced, faux civility lies an angry, irrational man driven by some political ideology that I have no interest in understanding.

    Thanks to Joe and others, the true Anthony Watts is exposed and documented.

  23. Colorado Bob says:

    Japan has endured its hottest summer since records
    began in 1898, the meteorological agency said Wednesday, during a heatwave that saw thousands of people taken to hospital suffering heatstroke.

  24. NeilT says:

    I forgot my mail address. Hope this doesn’t double post

    I read this and have to heave an exasperated sigh of expectation. This person probably has a family, they are probably grieving now. It has been an ordeal for the hostages too.

    What do we hear? And I paraphrase:

    “Way to go one environmentaist nut job down several million to go”.

    Yet the messages being sent out by a very disturbed man are as inconsisted as the messages being sent out by the AGW denial group.

    Population control of the 3rd world is a right wing agenda. Immigration is a right wing agenda. Going around with weapons, bombs and threatening the lives of people is hardly a “Left Wing” agenda. But caring for the planet and the animals is usually considered very “Left Wing”.

    This was clearly a very sad incident brought on by a very disturbed person. Crowing about this or claiming it’s a “fight for personal freedoms” is, simply, wrong.

    However the AGW denial camp appear to have absolutly no clue about right or wrong so we shouldn’t expect too much from them should we?

    I shaln’t go to wawt and post as my temper is not that even with dimwits when they get abusive. And I’m pretty much right wing of the right wing….

  25. Colorado Bob says:

    Moscow (AFP) Aug 30, 2010
    The number of deaths rose by 50 percent in Moscow in July amid the country’s worst ever heatwave, Russia’s health ministry acknowledged on Monday, admitting it was slow to react to the extreme conditions.

  26. Joel says:

    Unsurprisingly, creationists (eg Evolution News and Views) are making roughly the same claims as Watts. Birds of a feather, eh?

  27. TrueSceptic says:


    You could also have mentioned another despicable episode at WUWT. Alexander Feht made this comment about cockroaches, which Watts saw fit to make into a comment of the week.

  28. cr says:


    I’m presuming he means more and better solar panels, since some panels were put on in 2003?

    “In 2003, solar photovoltaic panels were installed at the White House. Two smaller solar thermal systems were also installed to heat water: one for landscape maintenance personnel, the other for the presidential pool and spa.

    The Bush Administration itself never really announced the project. Instead the installation was completed “under the radar;” industry trade journals were the media that picked up the story. ”

  29. BB says:

    A few months back, Steve McIntyre criticized the VA Attorney General’s crusade against Michael Mann, but you stated plainly that not only should he not be praised for such a non-lockstep stand, but that he should also bear some responsibility (despite any rebuke) because he should come to expect actions like that when he espouses the sort of views on AGW that he does.

    So, pray-tell, what is the difference presently between that situation and this one..? Some folks who have a few screws loose can be motivated to extreme behavior across the spectrum, whether it be ecoterrorism, or lititgious witch-hunts.


    [JR: Huh? You are seriously comparing this criminally insane nutjob with the Atty. Gen. of the state of Virginia? Wow! You have apparently missed the whole point of this post.]

  30. Michael says:

    About the comment “Given leaders like Gore…”, but he “lost” the election did he not? So who got to lead I wonder…

  31. MapleLeaf says:

    IMO, The behavior by Watts et al. of late is bordering on criminal. Absolutely disgusted at his opportunistic, insensitive and selfish actions on this story (and others see #28 above). Watts clearly has no conscience or ethics, it is really that simple, and one day his despicable behaviour will catch up with him.

    Now back to the real world….

  32. MarkB @9 highlights a basic formal fallacy that seems to pop up with embarrassing regularity in some circles: the Undistributeed Middle.

    This is akin to Jonah Goldberg’s howler of a couple years ago when he claimed that because some liberals are vegetarians and some Nazis were vegetarians that this shows that some/all (the actual quantifier he intended was unclear) liberals are Nazis.

  33. toby says:

    Back in February a deranged man named Joe Stack crashed a small plane onto a Federal tax office in Austin, Texas. A veteran of the armed forces named Vernon Hunter was killed.

    Mostly, comment from the right was focussed on the “understandable frustrations” of Joe Stack, rather than on the sad bereavement of Mr Hunter’s family. Mr Stack’s suicide note repeated the tax policy of the Tea Party more-or-less. Stack became some what of a hero to the right, and a Facebook page was opened about him and his “philosophy”.

    Perhaps we should look for a comment about Stack from Anthony Watts?

  34. Dennis says:

    “You are seriously comparing this criminally insane nutjob with the Atty. Gen. of the state of Virginia?”

    Joe, I’m a longtime fan of your site, but am frustrated by you writing this. Our society instantly puts a stigma on people with mental illness. Calling this guy a “nutjob” does not help this.

    I’ve not seen any information about if this guy had every been formally diagnosed with any mental illness, much less if he’d gotten any help over the years. If anyone was worried that he might become violent, what if anything was done to help him before yesterday?

    American society tends to provide too few resources to help people like this before they become violent (think Unibomber, Virginia Tech), so we only hear about mental illness when it goes to an extreme, like this guy. At work today, I tried to use this episode as a teaching opportunity for my co-workers that mental illness should be recognized as an illness that must be dealt with before it leads to death and injury.

    It’s too late for this individual (he was killed) or his victims (the hostages may be traumatized for years because of this), but it’s not too late for you to remind your loyal readers that this event is not about the environment, but about a real mental health crisis in America.

    [JR: Just because it is hard to draw the line doesn’t mean that the line doesn’t exist. Our society puts a “stigma” — indeed any society rightfully puts a stigma — on someone who has done what he did. It is you who have made the unjustified generalization from this criminally insane guy (if you can’t go along with that characterization we will just have to agree to disagree) to all people with any mental illness. The whole point of my post was that such generalizations are absurd.]

  35. Chris Brown says:

    Interesting that the Discovery Institute blamed it on Darwinism.

  36. Rob Honeycutt says:

    Interestingly on WUWT they have a new discussion going suggesting that, well, maybe Anthony made an editorial error in jumping on the James Lee story. BUT really the problem is climate hysteria.

    Just bizarre.

    They are literally doing exactly what they are complaining about! They are creating hysteria by claiming climate change science is promoting hysteria.

    [JR: Precisely. Again, the post uses the act of someone who is crazy to jump off into a post that is riddled with false and misleading assertions. For the record, and contrary to that post, the scientific literature makes abundantly clear that — if we keep listening to the people (like most of those who post at WUWT) who say global warming is a hoax and/or not a particularly serious threat requiring urgent action to reduce emissions — we risk multiple catastrophic outcomes, as I discuss here and here.]

  37. Rob Honeycutt says:

    I think I smell a slow shift in the message coming from the denier crowd. In the past it’s been “it’s not happening” and “The science is wrong (corrupted).”

    Now there is a shift toward, “Of course it’s warming but it’s not going to be a problem.” I know this message has been around but I believe they are at the end of being able to deny the problem. This will become the David Koch sanctioned message for the coming year.

  38. Anna Haynes says:

    re TrueSkeptic #28 on “cockroach” mentions at WUWT, keep in mind our/my past mentions of robotic cockroaches (as in, influence via astroturfing).

  39. Anna Haynes says:

    As for the anti-human terrorist, IMO Joe a *strong* request –

    Y’all should do a simple, clear, not-bringing-WUWT-into it post – aimed at other unstable individuals out there – saying that this guy’s actions showed idiocy and insanity, and explaining why. We need to make it (abundantly) clear to any others out there that we decry such actions – and that any idea that following this guy’s example would help bring about the world they want is utterly delusional.

    Not sure it’ll help, but it might – and therefore, it needs to be said.

  40. Anna Haynes says:

    p.s. re TrueSceptic #28, can someone (Joe?) clue him/her in about the “robotic cockroach” thing – s/he has been making “cockroach decrial” comments all over (link), & thus really should be told about this additional context.

  41. hapa says:

    smearing honest people by association is defenders of corrupt oligarchs’ strongest weapon because it always works. no matter what you say or feel, every time someone does something stupid or horrible, part of your mind leaps to work finding all the ways that you aren’t like HIM. watts & his fellow well-poisoners make their livings supplying bitter fuel to your inner no-holds-barred defense lawyer. it’s a personal choice whether you believe him, though. you can choose instead to be a grownup and see things that are changing as opportunities.

  42. Start Loving says:

    I had the horror of encountering this twisted soul several times. HE WAS NO ENVIRONMENTALIST!!!!!!!! HE WAS A TWISTED BALL OF HATE, LOOKING FOR A TARGET, ANY TARGET. If he’d worked in the Post Office, that would have been the target. If he’d been married and had kids, they would have been the target.

  43. Chris Winter says:

    He can be a twisted ball of hate and still espouse the cause of environmentalism. Ted Kaczynski was, and did.

    There’s a quotation, which I paraphrase here: A good idea is not responsible for all those who believe in it.

  44. J Bowers says:

    Anthony Watts — “Well, you filthy readers, see what happens when we don’t acquiesce?”

    I think the most despicable aspect to Watts’ comment is his piggy-backing on the tragedy of others.

    Since when was Discovery Communications an anti-science and global warming sceptic organisation? What’s with the “We”?

    If the incident had happened at CEI, Cato, SPPI, etc, then he’d have a reason to use the word “We”.

    But it didn’t.

  45. TrueSceptic says:

    41 Anna,

    Please explain. I thought my point about the “cockroach” comment/thread at WUWT was obvious. What am I missing?

  46. villabolo says:

    What happened to my last comment?

    [JR: It was a bit much in parts, a bit cryptic in others, and thus open to misinterpretation.]

  47. Chris Winter says:

    Meanwhile, across the pond, James Delingpole manages to outdo Anthony Watts in the UK Telegraph.

    I won’t post a link; anyone interested can Google up JD’s drivel.

  48. J Bowers says:

    Re. 48 Chris Winter

    That has to be the most paranoid, propagandist, fearmongering lunacy I’ve seen from Delingpole to date.

  49. Chris Winter says:


    Why did you decide not to let my #37 through?

    [JR: I thought it was an inaccurate representation.]