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The Survivors by Kevin Tubbs

I am often asked, “Was it worth it?”

And I never know how to answer that.

Parts of me would say yes, while other parts would cry no.

I was torn.

Split in two.

Then I realized that I couldn’t answer that question—because it wasn’t the right question.

You see, going to prison for 151 months, having all I’d worked for and aspired to for the prior 151 months destroyed and stolen, and knowing that the following 151 months would be filled with unexpected and never imagined road blocks and problems, it’s easy to see why my reflexive and selfish answer should be no.

And after having many of my friends, including those closest to me, turn their backs on me, it’s easy to see how the answer would be a loud, clear, and resounding “NO!”

So no, it wasn’t worth it...to me.

But you’re missing the point.

This was never about me.

This wasn’t about self-gratification or making money, or impressing some girl.

This was about the unimaginable cruelty, suffering, agony, and inevitable deaths that others—other living, feeling, sentient beings—were, and still are, experiencing.

You see, I was accused of being a terrorist. A member of the Animal Liberation Front and Earth Liberation Front. Two groups that rescued dogs from laboratories, animals from fur farms, and horses from slaughter. And we damaged the property that facilitated those deaths to make it harder to just replace those “living commodities.”

But this is also about empathy. A word and concept that seems to be disappearing from our fast and bustling lives of big money, over-inflated egos, and instant gratification. So before people ask me, “Was it worth it?” they should first ask themselves, “Is it worth it?”

Is it worth THEIR family dog being taken and used in cruel laboratory experiments? How about their neighbor’s dog? How about a mutt thousands of miles away that they’ve never met and don’t even know exists?

Is it ever OK?

How come it’s legal—even exalted—to use and kill a dog (or other animal) for a laboratory experiment, but if one kills a police dog they are charged with the murder of a police officer? It’s only a dog, right? Are those two dogs really that different?

And why would some actions taken against an animal in someone’s home be considered a crime, when those same actions taken against an animal in a business be protected? The actions—and their fatal results—are still both the same.

For better or worse, I learned what happens to dogs in research laboratories. I saw what happens to foxes and minks on fur “farms.” And I’ve witnessed what goes on in slaughterhouses.

If it were my horse, I KNOW she wouldn’t want that fate.

If it were my dog, I KNOW he would suffer, be scared, and be miserable.

And wouldn’t it be even worse for the wild cousins of these domestic creatures? Those who have known only freedom? Freedom of movement? Freedom of choice? Freedom to live, breathe, eat, mate, and nurture their young as behooves their nature?

Why do we feel ENTITLED to take all this from them? Including their lives?

Because we can?

Because might makes right?

Unfortunately for me—for my family, my fiancée, my past, present, and future—I couldn’t look away. I couldn’t believe their lives didn’t matter. I didn’t believe that might makes right. I heard their cries of anguish and their struggles for freedom and survival.

And I couldn’t look away.

I was beckoned to act.

What people fight for and how they fight can mean the difference between being given a medal or being labeled a terrorist. If one opposed (human) slavery in the wrong place or at the wrong time, he or she would have likely suffered drastic consequences. (Just look at Nat Turner and John Brown.) But oppose it today by freeing modern slaves from the grips of their human traffickers (even by breaking laws regarding trespassing, breaking and entering, etc.) and you’ll likely end up on the news and in the papers as a hero.

But now, because life is cheaper than property.

Because lives are measured only in terms of economic value.

Because that which can not be used is considered valueless (even when it’s alive, and regardless of species...)

I broke the GOLDen rule.

I gave precedence to life.

I thought, as Einstein did, that we must expand our moral circle of compassion to include ALL animals.

And it cost me.

One hundred and fifty-one months.

So if you ever find someone has invaded your world, and your sanctity, and your right to life

And that someone threatens to harm, or actually does harm, to
...Your cat
...Your dog
...Your fiancée
...Your child
...or even You

Please don’t call or ask me to help. I can’t afford it. I’m broke.

Instead, just think of your cat, dog, fiancée, child, and yourself, as simply “the other.” Just strangers. Personalities unknown.

Then please, don’t call me. The cost for me is too high.

But if you’d like to know if it is worth it, don’t ask me.

Ask the rescued.

Ask the survivors.

On May 24, 2007, Kevin Tubbs was sentenced to nearly 13 years in prison for his role of driving and being a lookout for other activists who destroyed property in an action to protect animals and the environment. Notably, not one person was ever injured in any of these crimes, and all the participants had taken a vow of non-violence and by design, were very careful to make sure nobody was ever hurt. None-the-less, Kevin was charged under a terrorism enhancement clause that was intended by congress to label violent criminals bent on taking innocent lives, and now lives with the label of being a terrorist.

Kevin in held in a high security U.S. Penitentiary, Lompoc, 175 miles Northwest of L.A.. His nightmare continues for another decade. Write Kevin! Please remember that all mail is read by the authorities.

KEVIN TUBBS 69039-065
LOMPOC, CA 93436

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