Yeah, I talked with the Discovery Channel gunman

| September 2, 2010

I was in DC stuck in traffic near Walter Reed which is several blocks from the Discovery Channel Building. i watched the drama unfold on CNN in the Walter Reed lobby. I got home last night to find my cable and TV out. So it wasn’t until this morning that I found this picture of James J. Lee.

I was shocked when I saw that familiar face staring back at me because I’ve had a few encounters with him when I was filming protests last year.

I videoed him at the “Shoe Bush” rally the day before the inauguration last year;

You can read his comments on the video with his screen name “DCProtest”.
I had a long conversation while waiting for the Code Pink/IVAW protest last October;

White House Protest 10-5-2009 (35)

Here’s what his sign said;

White House Protest 10-5-2009 (36)

He was steeped in all kinds of Leftist blather. But he spewed out a lot of Ron Paul crap mixed with some Republican talking points – whatever fit his protest sign. He was a raving lunatic and I wouldn’t blame any political party for James J. Lee like some people have. He was just an average DC nut job.

You can see why the Montgomery County police shot him – his mood swings are kind of frightening. I remember during our conversation on the park bench last Fall, he’d be smiling and talking calmly one second and then become a raving lunatic the next. You can see that in the video.

ADDED: Thanks to John Hawkins, Ace of Spades, and The Jawa Report for sending their readers over.

Category: General Whackos

Comments (38)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    He was Medea Benjamin times ten.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Others are calling him a Darwinist. The wacktards are crawling out of the wood work. The dude was mentally ill. I haven’t read “Ishmael,” but I suppose the author just got a huge boost from having the book linked to his tirades. Next stop: Oprah.

  3. Old Trooper says:

    He was a nutbar. Not someone to be pushed in to any political category for leverage. He was nuts. Just as there are some that are anti-gummint no matter what political party is in charge.

  4. Rob Crawford says:

    Just a nutjob? He was a line-item environmentalist!

    They made him, they should own him.

  5. TexEd says:

    You’ll hear very, very little about this guy in the captive media but, imagine what you’d hear about him if he had ever, say, attended a tea party rally or supported Sarah Palin.

  6. PintoNag says:

    This was a stray human. These are the mental cases that wander our streets until they hurt themselves or someone else — then the system can get involved. It’s one of the things that I think is terribly unfair to police officers; they are often expected to “diagnose” mental illness in some dangerous person they’ve been forced to confront, and that really shouldn’t be their job. And if you examine the system, we don’t have anything in place to help the seriously mentally ill. Functionally mentally ill folks have mental health clinics, but for dysfunctional, acutely mentally ill folks, there are only a handful of state institutions, and a very few private institutions that are available.

    There is no solution at this time for people like Mr. Lee.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Dawinist? Well, if winning the Darwin Award counts… James J. Lee: He Died a Douche.

  8. Hmmmmm says:

    Have you ever noticed that when it’s a left winger that starts shooting people or taking prisoners, hes “mentally ill”…but if his talking points are right wing, then he’s a terrorist or right wing extremist.

    I call BS…this guy was a left wing terrorist.

  9. EZB says:

    Yes, he is mentally ill. Yes, he was a wackjob.
    But dittos on the “If he’d been at a Teaparty we’d be hearing about him for months!”

    CNN would have talking heads on for days discussing him, Olbermann would be weeping into the camera, Chris Matthews thumping on his desk in outrage and Obama would mention him in a speech while referring to extremist in this country.

    He’s getting a pass because he was on the side of the left… so yeah, he’s a left wing terrorist.

    In your hearts, you know its the same mirror, different side.

  10. een says:

    No way!
    The media and those who are on the left constantly…CONSTANTLY zero in the rare instances when a politically right individual commits crimes and tries to hang it on right-side pundits, radio and TV.
    Screw them.
    Lee was clearly influenced by Al Gore and other left-side media, pundits and TV.
    Own it you two-faced hypocritical jerks.
    Now that that’s out of the way, yeah. Lee was a nutter and to actually blame the left is silly.
    But the left will never learn, so,until next time…

  11. PintoNag says:

    #9 Hmmm:
    It bears remembering that when the expression mentally “ill” is applied, that there really is no other medical term that fits. Mental conditions fall under several broad categories: structural, chemical, and actual disease process, in that something has attacked the brain. He wasn’t ill as in sick, he was ill in the sense that a body organ system malfunctioned; which “category” he fit in would have to be determined by a specialist.

    Mental illness can manifest itself in many ways; OBSESSION being one of the most obvious — and dangerous. Obsessions can go either to the left or the right of the political spectrum, and often take some central theme (such as Mr. Lee’s environmentalism). There are others that lean toward metaphysics, and have God, the Devil, Angels, or Aliens as the central focus.

  12. JuniorAG says:

    “For every human born, ACRES of wildlife forests must be turned into farmland in order to feed that new addition … THIS IS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE FOREST CREATURES!!!!”

    …Somehow, I doubt this “environmentalist” could tell a deer from a rabbit or differentiate an oak leaf from a pine needle… May of these so called environmentalists are mentally ill eugenicists who have never considered the alternatives that allow people and nature to live in harmony.’ Ol Junior AG is a short haired granola of sorts & is eyeball deep into permaculture, which is a farming method that works with nature instead of simply chopping down forests.

  13. Newagegop says:

    I’m getting a little sick of the “mentally ill” BS. He may or may not be nuts but why don’t we use the correct label. HE WAS EVIL!!! Tim McVey was EVIL. Islamic radicals are EVIL. It’s true that lefty’s get a pass on EVIL sometimes. McVey was because of Rush Limbaugh the left said and tea parties spawn nuts so they say. Gaia worship and Al Gore spawned this guy and ELF violence you could say.

    The truth is Evil exists. The battle is between good and evil not right and left.

  14. turtle says:

    “There is no solution at this time for people like Mr. Lee.”

    Yes, there is a solution for people like Mr. Lee. For SEIU goons and muslim extremists.
    The solution is an armed populace.
    I carry a gun and have no intentions of being taken out by any of the f-tards listed above who would love to infringe upon my life and liberty for their own politcal agendas.

  15. SH says:

    His mood swings remind me of bipolar disorder. Crazy, craziness

  16. Jeffrey Quick says:

    If he wanted humans to extinct themselves, what’s with the anti-war signs?

  17. EZB says:

    His mood swings, obsessions and paranoia are more likely schizoaffective-bipolar type.

    Doesn’t matter now, but someone fed the beast that was Lee.

  18. PintoNag says:

    #16 turtle:
    My comment referring to “no solution” was meant to indicate that there is a disconnect between people who are mentally ill, and the mental health care system itself.

    My argument here is that Mr. Lee lost the ability to control himself, and that it was centered in an organ system in his body — his brain. Newagegop said he was evil; evil has to do with free will. People CHOOSE to be evil; they don’t choose to be mentally ill.

    The comments posted here indicate what is still very true: we don’t yet know where the line is between rational thought and the obsessive/delusional states we call mental illness. That is what makes mental illness so very frightening: no one likes the idea of losing their mind.

  19. PintoNag says:

    …okay, I have to add this: I’m NOT saying that the folks posting here are mentally ill. I said that wrong…

    I MEANT that the comments seem to blame his actions on a political belief, and not on mental illness.

  20. Leland says:

    @2 Anon… Daniel Quinn, author of “Ishmael”, was on Oprah in 1996 pushing the book.

  21. GI JANE says:


    You had the pleasure of talking to that batshit crazy lunatic? Lucky you.

  22. Debra says:

    Good work, Jonn.

  23. BC says:

    Years ago, people like James Lee were involuntarily institutionalized. Do-gooders worked hard to give them their “freedom,” and soon after that, in the 80’s, you started seeing homelessness become a problem. Guess where lots of them came from? Yep, those institutions. And as you might have guessed, homelessness was blamed on Reagan’s policies, when the truth is, the seriously mentally ill NEED help taking care of their basic needs.
    In another time, James Lee would have been diagnosed and treated. Maybe institutionalized, maybe not. But it’s no accident that there are a LOT more crazies walking the streets than there used to be years ago.

  24. BC says:

    …and of course, the internet gives all the crazies a place to rant and find kindred spirits who egg on such insanity. (See any extremist website for ample evidence of lunacy.)

  25. UpNorth says:

    “Maybe institutionalized, maybe not”. Almost certainly institutionalized. For a long time. But now, if they promise to take their meds, they’re out and about.

  26. Debra says:

    There were also some legitimate and compelling reasons why deinstitutionalization took place.

  27. Peter says:

    There are actually several solutions to mental illness such as the one Lee showed. A charge of 00 buckshot works well as does a 152 grain .308 bullet. The old 125 jacketed hollow point .357 bullet worked well, some of the better 9mm and .40 caliber loads also work, even the grand old 230 grain .45 slug.

    Lots of solutions. We should use more of them more often

  28. I’m just wondering why his friends are singing “99 Bottles of Beer.”

    • Jonn Lilyea says:

      CDR Salamander: That’s the song stylings of “The Rappin’ Grannies”. You’re lucky I didn’t include them in the video. They look as bad as they sound.

  29. MJ says:

    The “system” did not fail Mr. Lee, we as a people collectively did. Long before this happened anyone who has a family member who is bipolar would have picked up on the symptoms right away, let alone a mental health professional. Listen to the interview with his brother in law … geez, it is a text book case. The problem, as all of us who have had to deal with this in our families know is the profound impaired awareness a lot of BP’s have and their non-compliance with meds. It becomes a vicious circle, and is a real problem, especially when they are manic because it is so difficult to get them involutarily committed — when they try to kill themselves (as they usually do) it gets easier. Nonetheless, they are fine for a while on the meds, then pitch them and it starts all over again as they consume their family and loved ones. I am saddened that in such an advanced society as we have that we have chosen to just ignore this problem — especially since for many, simple meds provide profound relief. But we must accept that the mentally ill are like children who cannot care for themselves completely and are unaware of their afflication.

  30. 1AirCav69 says:

    MJ. People suffering from Bi-Polar Disorder ARE aware of their condition. Maybe not at the begining but once treated, they are fully aware of what is going on. THEY chose to not take their meds. Once they have been in the system and continue to refuse to take meds they can be court ordered to come into the local MHC once a month or more for manditory meds. I feel for your situation and have seen it a million times, and many fall through the cracks. Even people suffering from Schizophrenia know what they have once treated. While interning I worked in a county mental health facility and saw people getting their monthy Prolixin shots that were court ordered. Help is out there and don’t believe WE failed this guy. Many with BP live good lives because THEY stay on their meds. You do make good points though and sounds like you’ve seen the problem first hand with family or friends.

  31. Green Thumb says:

    Would you like a fried onion to go with that order?

    What a turd.