SUV Owners of America Statement in Response to Vandalism of SUVs in Houston

WASHINGTON, Sep. 2, 2003 -- Domestic terrorists today struck SUVs again, this time at a dealership in Houston, Texas. Windows were shot out of 22 vehicles, the vehicles were "keyed" and tires were slashed. The following statement is attributable to Jason H. Vines, SUVOA president:

"This latest dangerous and cowardly attack against SUVs and SUV owners is the second major incident in the last two weeks. On August 22, the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), a militant environmental group, destroyed several SUVs and a California car dealership with an early morning arson fire. The Houston attack adds to the growing list of domestic terrorist acts and harassment committed against SUVs and their owners. (See following timeline.)

"All told, the vandalism will not make any company think twice about producing more SUVs and other light trucks, nor will it shake the tremendous consumer confidence in the vehicles. Instead, the blaze in California and now an assault in Texas that includes firearms, destroyed the property of a small business owner and often times put the lives of innocent civil servants and civilians in harm's way.

"These assaults are precisely the reason SUVOA is demanding other anti-SUV extremists to cease and desist their activities. With their misguided efforts and often times fact-challenged statements, people like Arianna Huffington of the Detroit Project, Rev. Jim Ball of the Evangelical Environmental Network (What Would Jesus Drive?) and Robert Kennedy Jr., of the Natural Resources Defense Council, are doing nothing more than encouraging the dangerous and criminal antics of out-of-control zealots, like the Earth Liberation Front and the cowardly domestic terrorists that struck a Houston business. While we believe these groups do not condone such activity, those who have generated the greatest amount of media coverage are creating an atmosphere where it is open season on SUV owners and their vehicles. It must stop.

"That is why last week (August 27, 2003), SUVOA delivered a petition with 6,065 supporters to Ms. Huffington, Mr. Kennedy, the Rev. Jim Ball and the public affairs firm behind the Detroit Project and the 'What Would Jesus Drive?' campaign, Fenton Communications, asking them to stop their misguided efforts immediately."

                         The SUV-Bashing Timeline
                 (Domestic Terrorism Events Asterisked*)

  1999                SUVOA founded by a retired businessman from Wisconsin
                      tired of SUVs constantly getting attacked in the
                      media.

  October 21, 2000    Robert Lind of San Francisco discusses his vigilante
                      bumper sticker campaign against SUVs on National
                      Public Radio.

  March 30, 2001      *More than 30 Chevrolet Suburbans and Tahoes scorched
                      or destroyed in $1 million Oregon fire.  "Anonymous"
                      group takes credit.

  June 20, 2001       Union of Concerned Scientists releases "Drilling in
                      Detroit," criticizing SUVs.

  July 4, 2001        *The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) takes responsibility
                      for the destruction of eight Ford Expeditions by arson
                      at Michigan Ford dealership.

  November 24, 2001   Robert Kennedy, Jr., senior attorney for the NRDC,
                      joins the anti-SUV camp, speaking out against SUVs in
                      a New York Times op-ed.

  July 2002           *The ELF continues campaign of domestic terrorism on
                      SUV owners by launching a wave of destruction in
                      Richmond, Virginia.

  September 17, 2002  Release of new book attacking SUVs: High and Mighty:
                      SUVs: The World's Most Dangerous Vehicles and How They
                      Got That Way.

  October 21, 2002    Columnist Arianna Huffington writes a column
                      suggesting a link between SUVs and terrorism.

  Fall 2002           Americans for Fuel Efficient Cars (AFEC) is co-founded
                      by Arianna Huffington.  The group attacks SUVs,
                      linking SUVs to funding terrorism.

  November 20, 2002   Rev. Jim Ball and the Evangelist Environmental Network
                      (EEN) jump on the anti-SUV bandwagon and launch the
                      "What Would Jesus Drive?" campaign.

  November 25, 2002   In her column, Huffington writes: "How nice it must
                      feel for SUV owners, knowing that their swaggering
                      imprudence is helping the world's anti-democratic oil
                      sheiks sleep just a little better at night." (She
                      later tells the New York Times, "I have nothing
                      against SUV owners." Sept. 2, 2003)

  November 27, 2002   *The ELF takes credit for the destruction of 40 SUVs
                      in Richmond, Virginia (dating back to July 2002).

  January 2003        The Detroit Project, started by the AFEC, releases to
                      media copy of commercial linking SUVs to terrorism.

  January 2, 2003     *The ELF takes credit for the destruction of SUVs at a
                      Pennsylvania dealership.

  January 29, 2003    Bashing SUVs, Robert Kennedy, Jr. appears on the Today
                      Show.

  May 7, 2003         The Detroit Project and the NRDC release an ad
                      claiming Detroit has the answer to increase fuel
                      efficiency, but is keeping it a secret.

  May 28, 2003        "What Would Jesus Drive?" begins a tour of the "Bible
                      Belt."

  July 14, 2003       "What Would Jesus Drive?" tour is scheduled final stop
                      in Washington D.C.

  August 1, 2003      *The ELF takes credit for torching a huge apartment
                      complex under construction in San Diego, California.

  August 22, 2003     *The ELF destroys 20 SUVs and a building in arson fire
                      at an auto dealership in West Covina, California.

  September 2, 2003   *Vandals shoot-out windows, slash tires and "key" 22
                      vehicles at Houston, Texas dealership.

SUVOA was formed to give voice to the 24 million SUV owners whose rights are being trampled by special interest and activist groups, as well as to provide consumers with practical information about their SUVs. Founded in 1999, the group actively defends the rights of SUV owners and rebuts false charges regarding the safety and environmental record of SUVs. For more information, visit www.suvoa.com .

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