April 02, 2008 07:05 AM CDT
This is why nobody likes environmentalists:
A new twist on April Fools Day -- dubbed by some Fossil Fools Day -- fell flat for more than 100 Madison residents who discovered Tuesday that someone had let the air out of their tires. Driving the message home, notes such as "happy fossil fools day -- drive less" were left on the windshields of many of the apparently randomly targeted cars parked along or near Monroe, Williamson and Langdon streets, police said.
Monica Vaughan, spokeswoman for Rising Tide North America -- a network of groups and individuals "who take direct action to confront the root causes of climate change," according to its Web site -- said it was likely associated with Tuesday's international day of action against the fossil fuel industry.
An auto-repair company took the opportunity to make some new friends.
Chor Vang, a dispatcher for Schmidt's Auto, estimated that by 6 p.m., service crews had reinflated tires on 100 to 120 vehicles, and calls were still coming in.
"There was a lot of upset people," said dispatcher Sarah Conroy. Because of the high number of people affected, Schmidt's dropped its cost for the service call from $40 to $20 "to make their day a little easier," Conroy said.
Of course, it's never a good idea to target your own side -- which is why these nuts will eventually lose.
Vaughan said she received an angry e-mail from one Madison resident -- who donates 300 hours a year to fighting for the environment and was on the receiving end of the tire prank -- who wrote, "You targeted the wrong person."
I think the Madison police are taking this a little too lightly.
While some people were calling it "eco-terrorism," Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain said, "I don't think it's to that degree. I would say it's more someone's play on the April Fools Day and trying to incite dialogue."
If no permanent damage was done to the vehicles, those responsible, if caught, would likely be ticketed for disorderly conduct, DeSpain said.
How about making them pay restitution? It sounds like they cost Madison residents about $2000 in tire reinflation charges -- not to mention lost time. Why not bill Rising Tide North America for those damages and reimburse the residents who were "pranked"?