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Monday, October 12, 2009

Comparing Climate Activists to Suicide Bombers

A group of 20 senior citizens, aged 50 to 88, concluded a 25 mile march to protest mountain top removal coal mining today. Read Coal Tattoo for the full story of this heroic journey.

What's outrageous is the accusations made by Steve Walker, president of Walker Machinery, against two young activists who hung a banner from his building in solidarity with the senior marchers.

Start at 5 minutes in if you don't want to watch it all.

The building's huge sign reads, "CAT: Coal, yes coal - Clean, Carbon Neutral Coal". It is an affront to the people of West Virginia and to reality. The climate activists took it upon themselves to correct the sign, by hanging a more truthful one on top of it, reading: "Yes Coal: Killing West Viginia Communities."

Gabe and David were released "3:00 p.m on $100 personal recognizance" according to the Climate Ground Zero press release.

This gets outrageous when Steve Walker starts talking to a reporter from the WV Metro News. He says, "it's very dangerous, what they did" and then goes on to compare them to suicide bombers.

I'm sorry Mr. Walker, but these kids hung a sheet off a roof. Mountain top removal is a dangerous practice of bombing our communities.

Business Owner: Coal Protests Nothing But a Big Game

Audio Included Steve Walker: Upset with coal protests
Walker Machinery President Steve Walker equates two teenagers charged with trespassing on his company's property in Kanawha County to suicide bombers in the Middle East.

"People fill their heads with this dogma and use them to do their dirty work," said Walker. "While the people that are perhaps older and wiser sit back and watch them."

The boys, ages 18 and 19, were arrested Saturday when they unfurled a banner on the front building of the Walker complex at Belle reading, "Yes Coal -- Is Killing West Virginia Communities."

"I talked to them at the police station, they had no idea about coal mining period," said Walker. "I asked them some questions and all they had was a few talking points."

Walker said the sad part for the teens is they may now face felony charges. Walker is looking into pressing additional charges of breaking and entering, citing evidence the boys broke into the building to get access to the roof.

"They're involved in that group down in Raleigh County with roots tied to eco-terrorists," said Walker. "We worry they may have been in here to sabotage some of our machinery."

Steve Walker ignores the large number of West Virginians involved in the fight against MTR, and he ignored how destructive mining practices and climate change effect everyone. He claims that companies like his care more about mine workers in West Virginia (an ever decreasing number, thanks to big machinery like his) than the people from out of state do. And he feels sorry for that these boys got duped, even as he tried to make up charges that they were trying to break machinery.

Walker is right on one thing: he doesn't know how this is all going to end. The growing movement to stop the most destructive extractive industry in the country is directly challenging the power of the corporations and the corrupt WV government. Its forcing this nation to answer the important question: does getting electricity justify poisoning, impoverishing and killing people in Appalachia?

I give a big thank you to Roland and the marchers, and my full support to Gabe and David for their stunt that apparently stung Steve Walker so much. Keep up the good work.

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