New Times' exclusive interview with the Preserves arsonist generates passionate response

I am disappointed and, in fact, I am disgusted that New Times would place a journalistic coup over the safety of members of the public. I am flabbergasted that your editorial or legal staff would agree to this article being published, without first assisting investigators in locating these dangerous criminals.

Yes, these arsonists are nothing more than criminals who hide behind the word "ecology." As if by using ecology as part of their foundational beliefs absolves them of all blame or responsibility for their actions. It absolves them of nothing: These people are criminals.

Shame on New Times for not living up to your civic duty.

This is one of the pieces of mail that arrived at New Times in response to the interview.
This is one of the pieces of mail that arrived at New Times in response to the interview.

Mike Meislish

I believe your choice to sit down with this arsonist was a very bad choice! And to try to use your status as journalists to hide your responsibility as good citizens is just lame!

I was shocked to hear that you did this. As I read into your story, I only got more angry. You could have gotten your story and then had police capture him before he got away. The only one you would have cheated would have been a criminal and not the public. But you only hurt the public and boosted this arsonist's ego.

I hope your readers boycott your paper! And I pray that this arsonist gets caught before he can hurt or kill someone. I suspect you would feel differently if you or one of your employees were victims of this madman. I hardly ever read your paper and can assure you that I will no longer. I know the law allows you to protect your source; I'm just curious why your conscience has allowed it.

Paul Gallaga

Oh, my Gawd. I almost died laughing when I saw the headline in the Arizona Republic the day after your cover story on the eco-terrorist. These idiots must truly believe all of their own propaganda. For them to complain about journalistic lapses and "dubious" ethics is beyond ludicrous.

And what's up with those so-called journalistic professors? Who the hell are they to poo-poo your getting a scoop? If anything, we, the people, as well as the authorities, now know far more about these criminals than we did just last week. That's a bad thing?

Yeah, right, E.J. Montini. The arsonist risked everything just to meet with James Hibberd and feed him a load of crap. He could have done that with a phone call. Get real. The guy's ego practically mandated that the truth be told. That's how the criminal mind works. It's just another way to taunt the authorities. Playing the jilted lover who didn't get the scoop is not very professional of you.

Now as for the responsibility of any future potential lives lost, it rests solely on the individuals who commit the crime. Didn't you read the article? Even if the guy had been turned in, it's obvious that the group would have continued on unless the jailers managed to beat a confession out of him as to the identities of his cohorts. Hmmm, maybe I should rethink that, as in this county that's quite a possibility.

Now as for helping him spread his message, sorry, E.J. Anyone with half a brain and who has been keeping up with this story already knows what the message is. I still say that thanks to New Times, we know more about these people now than we did before.

I also have to admit that I lost all respect and admiration for this group when they did this interview. They came across as just another bunch of media whores who love to see their names in print (like me). If they ever get caught, they will have only themselves to blame. And of all the parties involved in this little game, it's the families of the perps who will eventually suffer the most. They have my sympathy.

Mark A. Hoffman

Thank you for your coverage of the arsonist(s). The public deserves to know that you, James Hibberd, are a man of low community responsibility and morals. Even though you were not obligated by law to report your contact, I guess the story comes first.

It is a sad day and age we live in when criminals call all of the shots and reporters like you aid them in their misguided causes. What about the smoke and chemicals that are released into the atmosphere as a result of the fires, or the amount of water wasted to control their handiwork? How sorry would they be if one of their fires burned the desert?

I live in a place where wild forest fires are feared greatly, and unfortunately, the fires we do have are usually human-caused. I've also been a victim of an arsonist. He thought he had good reasons, too.

Regardless, if there is another fire, it is my opinion that you, sir, should be charged as well. You had the chance to protect all of us from further harm, and put the story over doing the right thing.

Your family must be proud. Hopefully, you don't have any children who are learning by your example. I do, and my children agree that doing the right thing is hard. However, most worthwhile things in this life are.

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