The author of a series of books that apparently inspired a gunman to take hostages Wednesday at Discovery Channel’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., said he was baffled by the incident. Daniel Quinn, 75, wrote a four-book series including “My Ishmael,” the 1997 novel gunman James Lee mentioned as the first in his list of 11 demands. In an online manifesto, Lee said the Discovery Channel “must” run daily, prime-time shows “based on” a six-page passage of the novel in which Ishmael and his 12-year-old apprentice discuss the Industrial Revolution and why humans were so creative and resourceful during that period. Lee was shot and killed by a police sharpshooter, and his three hostages were not hurt.
The shows, Lee wrote, would focus on “solutions to save the planet, . . . done in the same way as the Industrial Revolution was done, by people building on each other’s inventive ideas. Focus must be given on how people can live WITHOUT giving birth to more filthy human children since those new additions continue pollution and are pollution.” The Post said Quinn sounded stunned as he spoke from his home in Houston. “He’s exaggerated what I’ve said,” Quinn said. “I’ve seen many people take off in odd directions from things they’ve seen in my books, but nothing so catastrophic as someone arming himself with bombs and guns. . . . I know this will have a big effect on my books themselves. Sales might zoom up, but that doesn’t mean approval of it will zoom up. It might zoom down.”