Timber association bombing puts industry on alert.
Terror struck the timber industry April 24 when a bomb exploded at the headquarters of a pro-industry association, killing one worker and spreading fear throughout the industry as speculation of a wood connection flourished.
Security at timber associations and lumber companies across the nation was heightened in the wake of the bombing at the Sacramento-based California Forestry Assn.
Gilbert Murray, an industry veteran and president of the association for the past year, was killed when he attempted to open the U.S. Postal Service-delivered package at approximately 2:20 p.m. Five other people in the office escaped injury.
The bombing has been linked to the Unabomber, a serial bomber who has been linked to 15 bombing incidents over the past 17 years, killing three and injuring 23.
The bomb was mailed to the CFA in a heavy, shoebox-sized box that was wrapped in brown paper and nylon filament tape. According to published reports the device was encased in a wooden box, 10 inches by 10 inches by 6 inches and carried a return address in Oakland, Calif.
The package was addressed to former association president William Dennison, who had headed the association for 14 years before retiring a year ago. The address label bore the former name of the association, Timber Association of California.
The bomb exploded when Murray tried to open the package. According to the Los Angeles Times, the force of the blast struck him in the abdomen and sent metal bomb fragments up to 140 feet from the reception counter where Murray was standing. Extensive damage was done to the one-story brick building. Glass was blown out of windows, doors were blown out and ceiling tiles crashed to the floor.
It was not clear why the Unabomber targeted the Sacramento-based timber group, although it has been reported that there have been prior bomb threats against the CFA. The association is a nonprofit trade group that represents private landowners and those dependent on wood from federal land. In previous attacks, the bomber has targeted universities, airlines, computer companies and an advertising executive.
One angle authorities were investigating was the bomber's apparent fascination with wood. FBI investigators said that some of the bombs used, including the one used in Sacramento, were encased in a wooden box. Twigs have been found in some of the bombs. One of those killed in an earlier attack was Percy Wood who lived in Lake Forest, Ill. Another victim, Thomas Moser, an advertising executive for Young & Rubicam, lived on Aspen Drive. Young & Rubicam has also worked with the State of Michigan to promote the state's wood resources.
However, in a letter to the New York Times, the bomber declared himself to be an "anarchist" who is dedicated to the "destruction of the world-wide industrial system. Through our bombings, we hope to promote social instability in industrial society, propagate anti-industrial ideas and give encouragement to those who hate the industrial system," the letter states.
Timber associations across the country say they are taking more precautions as a result of the bombing.
Doug Crandle, a spokesperson for the Washington, D.C.-based America Forest and Paper Assn., said, "(Since the bombing) every association that I know of has brought in experts to discuss how to protect itself against these types of attacks. We have all been alerted to what things to look for as far as mail bombs and letter bombs."
Christopher West, vice president of corporate affairs for the Northwest Forestry Assn., a sister association to the California Forestry Assn., that plays the same role in Oregon and Washington as the CFA did in California, said, "It hits too close to home. We are taking appropriate actions given the circumstances.
"We are going to take personal and business precautions that make sense, but we are not going to be intimidated by hateful people that are trying to get to us. We will show all the more resolve to solve this issue," West said.
Robert Petow, executive director of the Portland-based Western Wood Products Assn., said. "We are very concerned about the situation as it relates to our own security measures. We have talked to our staff and educated them about what they need to know."
The April 24 attack is all the more troubling because it comes on the heels of a number of recent incidents. In the month prior to the Unabomber attack, at least one and possibly as many as three bomb-related incidents occurred at U.S. Forest Service structures in Nevada. It also occurred a couple weeks after an association meeting was disrupted apparently by strident environmentalists.
"Just two weeks ago at our annual meeting we had some eco-terrorism done to the facility we were at. The golf course greens were destroyed and a stink bomb was set off and it was all focused at us," said Petow.
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|Title Annotation:||bombing of California Forestry Association headquarters|
|Publication:||Wood & Wood Products|
|Date:||May 1, 1995|
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