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Charges reveal extreme side of animal-rights fight

Every group has extremists, and from time to time one of them does something so extreme it shocks nearly everyone.

Current example: Meredith Lowell, an animal-rights activist from Cleveland Heights, Ohio. Earlier this week, Lowell was charged with soliciting a hit man to kill someone - nearly anyone, it appears - who happened to be wearing fur.

Wow.

The plot line reads like something from the pen of a Hollywood scriptwriter.

Investigators say that Lowell, 27, offered an FBI undercover agent $730 to shoot or stab a random fur-wearer so that Lowell could then hand out flyers promoting her animal-rights agenda.

The FBI found out about the plot in November, when an informant reported the Facebook page Lowell allegedly created to solicit the hit.

According to an FBI affidavit filed nine days ago, Lowell used the alias "Anne Lowery." She allegedly wrote that the ideal hit man would live in northeast Ohio.

An FBI employee, posing as a potential candidate for the job, began negotiating with Lowell via e-mail.

One of the e-mails from Lowell, included in the affidavit, offers a chilling glimpse at what she wanted:

"You need to bring a gun that has a silencer on it and that can be easily concealed in your pants pocket or coat," she wrote. "If you do not want to risk the possibility of getting caught with a gun before the job, bring a sharp knife that is [at least] 4 inches long, it should be sharp enough to stab someone and/or slit their throat to kill them. I want the person to be dead in less than 2 minutes."

According to the Associated Press, the affidavit goes on to say that Lowell specified that the victim be at least age 12, but "preferably 14 years old or older." The affidavit says she asked that the hit take place outside a library near a Cleveland Heights playground, and goes on to say that she planned to be nearby when the killing took place so she could distribute "papers" afterward.

Authorities say Lowell had hoped to be arrested at the scene, and that she planned to use her court appearances to call attention to her animal-right agenda.

Again, wow.

To put it in Larry the Cable Guy vernacular, "I don't care who you are, that there's some strange thinkin'."

It boggles my mind that a human being, and especially one apparently sensitive enough to lament the deaths of animals, could be callous enough to seek to arrange the random killing of a human being. That the victim might have been a child is doubly disturbing.

Thank goodness the FBI's informant reported Lowell's Facebook page, and thank goodness the agency took it seriously enough to execute a sting operation.

The AP story said that one of Lowell's lawyers, Roger Lucas, declined to comment on her arrest. It will be interesting to see what sort of defense he and the other lawyers attempt to mount.

Will they claim entrapment, or will they have her play the part of the wide-eyed innocent so wrapped up in her cause that she failed to grasp the gravity of her actions?

Personally, I'd like to know who is paying for her legal team. I frankly suspect that some of the more radical animal-rights organizations might surreptitiously assist with her defense.

Lowell's court dates should provide compelling insight into the mind of an extreme animal-rights activist.


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