Tim Blair – Saturday, May 12, 2012 (1:19am)
At first, it was a death threat so horrible that Canberra Times environmental reporter Rosslyn Beeby couldn’t even describe it. According to Beeby, the “chilling” threat had been made to ANU Climate Change Institute director Professor Will Steffen:
The worst threat he received – and we will not divulge it – was made verbally to one of his staff. It was the chilling nature of that threat – and the casual way in which it was made – that prompted the ANU to question its security arrangements.
Further details of the threat then emerged thanks to warmist Graham Readfearn:
There was an incident at an ANU public engagement event where a climate sceptic who had been invited to attend had become frustrated. During an exchange, the individual had showed what he claimed was a gun licence to people sitting at the table, before claiming he was a “good shot”. The individual is understood to have left voluntarily.
Next, ANU released this description of the incident, from an attendee at the ANU event:
Before [the threat-maker] left, he came to the Fri dinner and showed other participants his gun licence and explained to them how good a sniper he is … I will be notifying security to be on hand in case he turns up and causes a problem.
The ABC took things to a whole new level:
The Australian National University has released a series of abusive emails sent to its climate change scientists …
They include an email describing a physical threat to use a gun against an academic because the conference participant reportedly disagreed with the climate change research.
And now the gunman has come forward. He is retired public servant John Coochey:
I feel I can throw some light on this matter as I am undoubtedly the person who is alleged to have shown my gun licence to people at the dinner. That is not accurate. At the mediocre dinner on the first day I was approached by Dr Maxine Cooper, then the Commissioner for the environment, who recognized me as someone involved in the kangaroo culling program in the ACT which occurs each winter. After politely asking if she could sit next to me she asked me how I had gone in the recent licence test which is challenging. I told her I had topped it with a perfect score and showed her my current culling licence, not gun licence, to prove it. The conversation around the table then drifted around the benefits of eating game meat v the poor fare on offer.
It’s apparently drifted further in the two years since – all the way from kangaroo culling to “a physical threat to use a gun against an academic”. Give it another year or so and that Canberra conversation will be responsible for the fire-bombing of Dresden.