Discovery protester's sign: 'James Lee was right'
A week after hostage crisis, 65-year-old causes commotion in downtown Silver Spring
One week after a hostage crisis took place at the Discovery Communications building in downtown Silver Spring, a Takoma Park man protested in front of the building in support of the man police shot dead after hours of negotiations.
Walt Rave, 65, of Takoma Park protested in front of the Discovery Communications building on today at the intersection of Route 29 and Georgia Avenue. He carried a white cardboard sign with bold black capital letters that read "James Lee was right.'' Lee, 42, walked into the Discovery Communications lobby Sept. 1 wearing metal canisters strapped to his body and carrying two starter pistols. He took three hostages, all of whom survived uninjured. Police shot Lee dead at 4:48 p.m. Sept. 1.
Rave said he was surprised to find that he agreed with many of Lee's points on his web site, which included his manifesto. The website criticized Discovery's programming choices, particularly shows that Lee said glorified procreation and capitalism.
"I just think everyone wants to villianize that guy,'' said Rave, who started protesting at 1 p.m. today. "But if you look closely, he had very noble beliefs, sometime people will wake up and realize we are breeding ourselves extinct.''
"That's what James Lee was about. He was about the mindless birthing that's going on. I'm surprised at the number of people who are unable to make that connection,'' Rave said. "I don't like his method, but you will notice his guns were not lethal, they were starter pistols, and his bombs, while they had the capacity to be lethal, they did not detonate as a bomb is supposed to.''
He never knew Lee, but he said, "either way, I respect that he stood for something.''
Rave said he has been standing up for his beliefs for decades.
"Since the day I got back from Vietnam in 1970, I decided I was going to try to make a difference wherever I was, however I could,' he said.
"About that time, it became clear, people can't care about things other than people. They just can't.''
A Discovery Communications spokeswoman at the scene would not give her name and said the company has no comment. Police officers drove by frequently during the protest, and passersby gathered around him as well.
Halima Alhassan, 23, Silver Spring resident, was not jarred by Rave's protest.
"It's freedom of speech. If he feels like Lee was right ... '' she shrugged. "Who's to question what's wise or not? At least he's not hurting anybody.''