A group of French activists known as Les Dégonflés or The Deflated launched a campaign against Parisian SUV owners. At night, Sous-Adjudant Marrant Or Sub-Warrant Office Joker, the leader of the Deflated, and his crew target SUVs in Paris' wealthy neighborhoods. Their activism is really nothing more than a bad prank; they deflate the SUVs tires, smear mud on the body work, and paste a flier to the windshield. The group affirms they do no damage to vehicles, but seek to send a message to SUV owners. The Deflated's leader Marrant finds a strange level of support from the local government, with some officials openly calling for a ban on SUVs.

LA Times wrote the article that we?re linking to. If you read down into the article the Deputy Mayor of Paris, Denis Baupin, gives a speech linking the US environmental policy with the hurricanes that hit the Gulf Coast. For those of you who don?t read the linked article here?s the text verbatim:

?An SUV is totally useless for Paris,? Baupin said in his speech, blaming the recent devastating hurricanes in the U.S. on climate change caused by pollution. ?The situation is striking: The country that refused to sign the Kyoto Protocol suffered from a climatic catastrophe?. We all feel sorry for the dead in New Orleans. But now maybe the United States should start considering that their development pattern is not to be repeated worldwide and that it causes environmental problems.?

We understand the frustration of those in Paris who own SUVs who were attacked by the Deflated, but at the same time for a major metropolitan area, especially in Europe, an SUV doesn?t make sense. In context of the Deflated, who also go after SUVs like the Toyota RAV4, their attacks seem like mindless pranks that may lead others to bolder attacks against SUV owners. This sort of reactionist activism seems extreme in a region where SUVs account for only 5% of total vehicle sales. The ?attack? of the RAV4 picture makes no sense to us, why attack a relatively fuel efficient vehicle? Why are they not going after larger V6 or V8 sedans that are probably less fuel efficient, pollute more, and take up more space than a RAV4?

Furthermore, Baupin?s comments about America seem to be in line with most of what we hear out of Europe. It is easy for them to be judgmental when they do not understand the United States, especially when it comes how geographically diverse this nation is. Not only are Baupin?s comments insensitive and ignorant, they illustrate the misguided animosity that some Europeans have against the United States.

The Deflated?s blog can be found here.

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