Robert Knight

Like many liberal causes that have gone mainstream, powered by a partisan media, Earth Day had some very radical beginnings.

First, it’s on April 22, the ruthless Russian Communist leader Vladimir Lenin’s birthday. If you think that’s a coincidence, and it might be, let’s learn more about one of Earth Day’s founders, Ira Einhorn.

Mr. Einhorn was a leftist leader who cheered on the Vietcong in the 1960s, hoping for a United States defeat. Then he adopted environmentalism, and hosted one of the very first Earth Day rallies in 1970. Thereafter, he claimed to be co-founder of Earth Day.

Mr. Einhorn is now serving a life sentence in a federal prison. That’s because he murdered and composted his estranged girlfriend, Helen “Holly” Maddux, back in 1977. I will spare you the details of how this was discovered 18 months later at his apartment.

The Earth Day enthusiast did not spend much time in jail, initially. He became future Sen. Arlen Specter’s most famous client. As a 1997 Time magazine article put it, “Release of murder defendants pending trial was unheard of, but Einhorn's attorney was soon-to-be U.S. Senator Arlen Specter, and bail was set at a staggeringly low $40,000 — only $4,000 of it needed to walk free.”

Mr. Einhorn skipped to Europe, marrying a Swedish-born woman and living in several countries for two decades until he was finally extradited from France and convicted of murder on Oct. 17, 2002.

In reporting the conviction, the New York Times neglected to mention Mr. Einhorn’s connection to Earth Day, or Mr. Specter’s involvement in the case, but the paper did fill in some interesting details:

“In the 1970's, Mr. Einhorn counted Jerry Rubin and the rock star Peter Gabriel among his acquaintances and later consulted with large companies on New Age trends. He vanished on the eve of his 1981 trial and lived in England, Ireland and Sweden before the authorities caught him in 1997 at a converted windmill in the south of France, where he lived with his Swedish-born wife.

“After his capture, Mr. Einhorn thumbed his nose at American authorities by appearing on television shows to discuss his plight and sipping wine while posing naked for photographers in his garden.”


Robert Knight

Robert Knight is an author, senior fellow for the American Civil Rights Union and a frequent contributor to Townhall.