With a gun and four explosive devices strapped to his body, James J. Lee entered Discovery Communications headquarters, where, at the time, about nineteen hundred people worked.

Lee had made his grievances clear in a document he posted on the Internet: “Humans are the most destructive, filthy, pollutive creatures around and are wrecking what’s left of the planet with their false morals and breeding culture.” His proposed solution? “All human procreation and farming must cease.” In other words, his ultimate goal was the extinction of the human race. As he put it: “The planet does not need humans.”

Lee targeted the Discovery Channel because, as he put it, “We are running out of time to save this planet and the Discovery Channel is a big part of the problem.” How so? Lee explained: “Instead of showing successful solutions”—such as ways to put an end to human procreation and farming—“their broadcast programs seem to be doing the opposite.” Although the Discovery Channel gave occasional lip service to environmentalist ideology, it did not advocate the extinction of the human race. And among the programs they aired were many that showed how humans use science to understand the world, create values, enjoy nature, and flourish. (Ecoheresy!) . . .


1. Dan Morse, Theresa Vargas, and Michael E. Ruane, “James J. Lee, Environmental Militant, Slain at Discovery Building after Taking Hostages,” Washington Post, September 2, 2010, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/01/AR2010090103911.html.

2. John Muir, A Thousand-Mile Walk to the Gulf (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1916), 122.

3. E. Calvin Beisner, Where Garden Meets Wilderness: Evangelical Entry into the Environmental Debate (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997), 136.

4. David M. Graber, “Mother Nature as a Hothouse Flower: ’The End of Nature’ by Bill McKibben,” Los Angeles Times, October 22, 1989, http://articles.latimes.com/1989-10-22/books/bk-726_1_bill-mckibben/.

5. Ron Arnold and Alan M. Gottlieb, Trashing the Economy: How Runaway Environmentalism Is Wrecking America (Bellevue, WA: Free Enterprise Press, 1994), 569.

6. Ayn Rand, “For the New Intellectual,” in For the New Intellectual (New York: Signet, 1961), 10–57.

7. Todd May, “Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?,” New York Times, December 17, 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/17/opinion/human-extinction-climate-change.html.

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