Actually, from the description of the case, it sounds more like Cottrell's campaign, however ill-considered, was specifically designed not to hurt any people. Most of the vehicles were destroyed at a dealership at night. An actual terrorist would have acted with either sheer disregard for or outright malice toward human life. Yes, he could eventually have become a Unabomber-type asshole, but that's like saying George W. Bush might have gotten a law degree if he'd stayed in Yale Law School. Hell, if your aunt had balls, she'd be your uncle.
Now, don't get me wrong. Such a destructive act deserves some punishment. But the fact is that the Justice Department and police organizations have put this "eco-terrorism" movement on a par with Islamofascist terrorism. The eco-terrorists are assholes with a radical approach to a rather obvious problem with an unclear solution -- SUVs and McMansions are simply unsustainable trends, given the cold hard facts of finite resources and living space. Their point is correct; their tactics win no admirers. Molotov cocktails are not an empirically sound argument against conspicuous consumption.
But let's compare young Cottrell's adventures with another crusader, one nearer and dearer to los corazones Arbustos.
Perhaps you recall Poppy Bush's pardon of a Cuban terrorist named Orlando Bosch.
When Heinz Kissinger ain't buying your act, you're a bad fuckin' guy.
Huh. Killed 73 people, 24 of them from Cuba's Olympic fencing team, has been involved in at least 30 other terrorist acts, and is unrepentant about any of it. Someone should tell Hauptsturmführer Coulter, who gets all Linda Lovelace on this asshole, strangely taking the imprimatur of Venezuela's hallowed judicial system that Bosch must be innocent.
More from the Guardian article:
Letelier, you'll recall, was killed by a car bomb in our nation's capital. That's right, these fuckers committed a terrorist attack in Washington, D.C., in the year of our bicentennial, and the tough-guy Bushes let the Miami Cubans push them into pardoning these bastards.
Yeah, that's tough on terror all right.
But at least we got all the crazy physics students under our thumb.
Cottrell has himself to blame, of course. His co-conspirators fled the country immediately and remain at large, so guess who takes the rap for all three of them? And he was caught because he was stupid enough to send e-mails to the LA Times discussing his role in the crimes.
Still. One guy, however misguided, commits a crime with no casualties, and gets eight years. Another guy murders 73 people in just one of his 30+ acts, and does only a little more time than that, before the President of the United States personally intervenes and not only commutes the sentence, but pardons him of the crime, as if he were an innocent man wrongfully convicted.
But we're serious about gettin' them ELF guys. We got our priorities straight.