It was a moonless night on the mountain at Vail, and in his black clothes Bill Rodgers imagined he was nearly invisible. Five feet six and barely 120 pounds, Rodgers was darting in and out of buildings at the Colorado ski resort, 11,000 feet up. He crept into the back bowl's ski-lift shacks, then made his way across the slopes to a massive shelter for skiers and a snack bar piled high with bulging trash bags. Everywhere he went, Rodgers set a crude timing device. Each timer was connected to a small filament attached to a matchbook. The flame from the matches would ignite a road flare or a gas-soaked sponge, which in turn would set off a five-gallon plastic bucket filled with a mix of diesel and gas — a concoction Rodgers liked to call "vegan jello." When the timers went off, the entire mountain would go up in smoke. At thirty-three, Rodgers was the oldest member of the Earth Liberation Front at Vail on that October night in 1998. With his red hair, pale complexion and delicate features, he looked more like a computer nerd than a revolutionary intent on hastening the collapse of the "ecocidal empire," as… Read full this story
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