Police and media are now identifying the gunman holding hostages at the Discovery Channel corporate headquarters as James Jay Lee.
A Google search reveals Lee's grudge against Discovery has been longstanding. He's also a devotee of environmentalist and sustainability author Daniel Quinn. His preoccupation with overpopulation and Quinn are obvious in his manifesto, which WUSA Channel 9 first reported this morning.
Sometime last week a friend of DCist sent in this rather hilarious web site promoting what appears to be a one-man crusade and protest against the Silver Spring, Md.-based Discovery Channel. As you can see, the singularly named "Lee," with his faux-tough mug shot and all-caps, is dishing out a little of the old insane rambling on the cable network to promote his "Save the Planet Protest Against the Discovery Channel," which the web site says is planned from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. for the entire week of February 15—23, 2008.
At the time, they excerpted his manifesto, and identified him as a disgruntled TV producer who had had his pitches rejected by Discovery. The full manifesto is at SavethePlanetProtest.com, but heavy traffic is making it hard to access. His first three points demand that Discovery stop using its programming to glorify babies and military technology:
The Discovery Channel MUST broadcast to the world their commitment to save the planet and to do the following IMMEDIATELY:
1. The Discovery Channel and it's affiliate channels MUST have daily television programs at prime time slots based on Daniel Quinn's "My Ishmael" pages 207-212 where solutions to save the planet would be done in the same way as the Industrial Revolution was done, by people building on each other's inventive ideas. Focus must be given on how people can live WITHOUT giving birth to more filthy human children since those new additions continue pollution and are pollution. A game show format contest would be in order. Perhaps also forums of leading scientists who understand and agree with the Malthus-Darwin science and the problem of human overpopulation. Do both. Do all until something WORKS and the natural world starts improving and human civilization building STOPS and is reversed! MAKE IT INTERESTING SO PEOPLE WATCH AND APPLY SOLUTIONS!!!!
2. All programs on Discovery Health-TLC must stop encouraging the birth of any more parasitic human infants and the false heroics behind those actions. In those programs' places, programs encouraging human sterilization and infertility must be pushed. All former pro-birth programs must now push in the direction of stopping human birth, not encouraging it.
3. All programs promoting War and the technology behind those must cease. There is no sense in advertising weapons of mass-destruction anymore. Instead, talk about ways to disassemble civilization and concentrate the message in finding SOLUTIONS to solving global military mechanized conflict. Again, solutions solutions instead of just repeating the same old wars with newer weapons. Also, keep out the fraudulent peace movements. They are liars and fakes and had no real intention of ending the wars. ALL OF THEM ARE FAKE! On one hand, they claim they want the wars to end, on the other, they are demanding the human population increase. World War II had 2 Billion humans and after that war, the people decided that tripling the population would assure peace. WTF??? STUPIDITY! MORE HUMANS EQUALS MORE WAR!
The DCist post was not the first time Lee's crusade had faced criticism. A message board poster using the name misterfifteen, with a profile picture and crusade that match those of James Jay Lee, brought the plan to other environmentalists who advised him to change his tone.
"While your expression and desire to better the condition of the planet is justified, you are being foolish and irrational," said one user. "If your proposals were written anything like your posts (with the tone, etc) then I am certain they were not well received," said another.
Others were not as charitable, calling Lee names and writing mocking poetry about him.
Lee responded by throttling Discovery for its "corporate greed" and declaring his intent to "set up a booth" in Silver Spring. His last posting is defiant:
Discovery is the enemy. They must be protested into saving the planet and reducing their propaganda. But if you feel that this is wrong, then don't show up. You're welcome to stay at home and watch TV or do whatever it is you do.
And if I look like an idiot, so what? But I won't fail in this. This is going to happen and Discovery is going to change their course and start saving the planet. I will never personally feel like an idiot for trying.
His username is also connected to a meet-up group for Daniel Quinn devotees called the "Friends of Ishmael." A man named Lee, with a misterfifteen e-mail adress seems to have started his own chapter in San Diego in 2006, called "World Guardian Voices." The site for his group is archived here, with a notice of an upcoming meeting at a Borders book store to talk about global warming and overpopulation.
He even offered his e-mail address for anyone who'd like to "schedule a speech."
Lee's MySpace page offers similar rants, and an odd array of pictures, mostly of owls, apes, Darth Vader, and Bugs Bunny. He lists among those he'd like to meet, "Environmentalists, scientists, readers of Daniel Quinn, and people who want to work toward a real change."
As of now, there are no casualties in Silver Spring, as negotiators continue to talk to the armed Lee.
This YouTube video is allegedly of Lee's 2008 Discovery Channel protest, in which he tossed cash in the air to attract a crowd: