James J. Lee who took Discovery Channel employees hostage had explosives strapped to his chest and was ‘ready to die.’ The apparent motive was that he hated Discovery programming including shows such as ‘Kate Plus 8’ that promoted population growth. It was not the gunman’s first clash with the channel.
In 2008, Lee was charged with disorderly conduct for having staged a ‘Save the Planet’ protest.
David Leavy, Discovery’s executive VP for corporate affairs said that “We’re relieved that it ended without any harm to our employees,”
No employees were hurt during the hostage drama, but questions remain whether the gunman could have been taken alive. Despite the precarious security situation that prevailed and the unpredictability of the gunman’s intentions, it is hard to tell whether it could have ended in another scenario.
The Discovery Channel drama has become a focal point for the environment debate and how its programming effects mentally ill people. The other issue is of course whether there is a bigger problem in American society, where programs have a big psychological impact on people with mental disabilities and extreme views. As TVs become more High definition, and 3D is introduced, programing is becoming much more realistic, which could affect some of the population.