The Story of a Lone Arsonist Vs Suburbia

(Edit from an earlier post, based on a report in “La Mauvaise herbe” zine, Fall 2010 edition (PDF))

This happened about a year ago.

A young individual from Chambly, Qc, was arrested on the 14th of July and accused of multiple intentional arsons on expensive construction machinery, causing estimated damages of 1.5 Million Can$. Until then, Joël, who was 19 years-old at the time, was better recognized for his enthusiasm as an amateur comedian in local theater plays, including some historical recreations of the early colonial era. His colleagues could never guessed him to be in such “energetic” nighttime activities.

He was arrested by agents from the Richelieu-St-Laurent Police Department, and suspected of having ignited many fires on five construction fields, from August 2009 to March 16th 2010, and was aiming primarly at heavy machinery. He thus went on the offensive against (sub)urban horizontal developments, for their destruction of ecosystems along with their many species.

The cops claimed to have conducted a long investigation through the course of which they gathered several proofs on the scenes of arsons.

First, he let behind a handwritten communiqué, in French and English, on the locations of the last arson. In it he declared that “the planet is not for sale” and was threatening the construction promoters that he’d continue his sabotage. The notes can help police investigators trace the author of the action, especially when handwritten.

The cops also said that they recorded fingerprints found at the site of one of the arsons, so be sure to wear good leather gloves when striking. The cops are also known for making up that kind of proof (while they might not have any) to force you to talk. DENY everything and never cooperate with authorities. It’s been proven by many cases that those who cooperate get heavier sentences, in proportion with the maximum amount of years they can be jailed for.

Confronted to a filmed police interrogation he admitted all his crimes, as claimed by the attorney. After having endured five days in prison, the media reported that he implored the judge to get him out of jail. “I’m ready to do anything for not going back to jail” he said to judge Marc Bisson. This is quite sad, as the cops could as well have had no solid proof against him.

Another mistake was in the fact that every construction site that he attacked were at less than five minutes from his home, making his tracking easier for investigators. To avoid doing too many attacks in your own neighborhood and be more far-reaching can be very beneficial.

And in all cases, he was also leaving graffiti expressing his ecological convictions, of the like of “Stop planet destruction”, but this last fact isn’t enough to get him caught by authorities.

He pledged non-guilty at his first appearance at the Criminal Court, but the stupid judge sent him back in detention at least until his appearance for inquiry on bail.

The first arson -on August 8th 2009- has caused damages of about 60 000$ to a lift platform, the second -on August 12th 2009- caused several damages amounting to 450 000$ to three lift platforms. The next month, he would have attacked a crane casing 75 000$ in damages, and finally he would have burned three other hydraulic shovels, on March 15th and 16th 2010, for a total value of 1 M$. He was simply breaking windows of these vehicles, and cracking a match in gasoline.

To investigators who wanted to understand his motives, he explained them that he was protesting this way against the suburban spread that destroys what once was his playground.

He’s been facing a 10 years imprisonment sentence. For charges involving breaking lifeless machines which belongs solely to private interests (completely unaccountable to the public), who anyways were covered by the company’s insurance policies. In the process, he might even have given paid vacations to some construction workers, while making insurance fees climb in that area for big construction projects and perhaps even scare investors!

Finally, the judge accepted to free him, under the conditions of paying 2500$ in bail (that his mother paid), a 9 PM to 7 AM curfew, and forbidden to go outside of his home without being accompanied by his parents. In a finishing blow, he was forced to regularly consult a psychologist at the Local Center of Social Services, even though his actions clearly shown he had a head on his shoulders. Who else, anyways, is stupid or crazy enough to destroy what fundamentally sustains us, such as air, earth, water and biodiversity? A corporation, perhaps… No.

Certainly a corporation.

As of now, about a year after his arrest and prosecution, the few available reports on him shows that he’s on parole, and fortunately for him is still doing plays, after having defended his playground (the bushes) for a time so that the new children of this world would enjoy it. Yet, even out of jail, he’ll remain under State captivity for a very long time, as all his movements and communications will be under tight watch. It is needless to say that he’s better left alone, to keep him from further harassment and repression by authorities. But to make his actions known and to speak -or post- on his defense would contribute to break the media propaganda, including the one in the filthy local corporate media, that puts his actions within the same category than the crimes of rapists and murderous car drivers, who are much more common in this area than the “Evil eco-terrorist”.

Flip-it over, and the meaning stays the same! Civilization in all its glory.

Their neverending process of destruction and pollution is likely to keep going as it is, as long as it’s not being forcefully opposed, in any way we find, from our isolated positions in the nightmare of the mercantile/spectacular society. The repression of individuals like Joël by the State, for not even causing harm to anyone, means one thing: that this industry is riddled with flaws and weaknesses open as wide as the tar sands craters of Fort McMurray, and that the capitalist establishment seemingly can’t find other ways to defend it than by using judicial terror and media propaganda to scare the rest of us.

And what’s their biggest secret? That they keep invading and oppressing, merely because that is their only way to prolong their existence as a system.

In solidarity with a lone fighter who fell in combat, let’s continue on the line he has traced!

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