Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Washington DC stations and major news networks cover incident at Discovery Center in Silver Spring, MD

Local Washington DC stations, MSNBC and CNN are covering a hostage situation in the Discovery Center (National Headquarters) in Silver Spring, Maryland on Wednesday, Sept. 1. NBC broke “Days of our Lives” with continued special coverage. The Center is located near the Silver Spring Metro Stop in an area of Silver Spring heavily redeveloped since the 1980s into a modern business and urban residential center.

CNN has an interactive site on the incident here.

The gunman, James J. Lee, 43, is said to have a “Manifesto” (that’s a bad word, now) at this site which seems to be unreachable because of heavy traffic. (This may be a common name; do not confuse with other individuals of the same name.) The man is reportedly making a protest that programming about global warming does not sound the alarm loudly enough. CNN has reported that the contents of the “Manifesto” are apparently very radical, rant-like and extremist. Later, media reported that Lee offered what sounds like an "anti demographic winter" ideology (to counter a notorious theory of the religious Right, often discussed on my own blogs), saying that the planet Earth did not need humans, who should stop reproducing. The "Right" will certainly have a lot to say about this. Lee has also claimed that he was "inspired" by a novel "My Ishmael" by Daniel Quinn, who has told the press he is puzzled by supposed the connection.

There is more information about him at Kanepix, here.

The Discovery Center is often used as one of the sites for AFI film events (hosted at the AFI Silver on Colesville Road, two blocks away), and the Discovery Channel is usually a partner in the Silverdocs festival every June. I do know individuals who have worked for the Discovery Channel as contractors editing content.  I have attended many festival events at the AFI Center, including a Potomac Wire Digital Media conference in 2007.

Streets and pedestrian sidewalks for all residences and businesses in the area are locked or shut down, resulting in traffic delays out to the Beltway. Metro's website is not yet reporting interruptions at the Silver Spring station (as of 4 PM); check it before using the Red Line today.

At 5:40 PM it was reported that Lee was dead, after an exchange with police. Details are pending.

MSNBC has a transcript of a conversation between Lee and an NBC-4 reporter, which was turned over to police well before being released to the public, here. (Nobody claimed journalistic shield here.)

MSNBC continuous feed is here.  Check ongoing news reports for details as to employees in the building.

Sept. 2: Here's a copy of the Manifesto on another source (WSVN-TV). However offensive may some of his specific language be, it isn't hard to imagine the "consequences" of his beliefs. Remember the film "Children of Men"?

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