Not Everything is Equal

Right-wing extremist and progressive or left-wing extremists are all the same. They want to overthrow the existing government and blow up things and kill a gang of people along the way. They don’t have much to say about rational governing except to suggest ideas ranging from fascism to anarchy. Some of these people end up dead or imprisoned and some just fade away. They all come back in some form or another. However, punishment doesn’t always appear to be equal.

I’m not talking about the radical Muslims in the U.S. and across the globe who are killing and maiming indiscriminately with an aim of establishing Sharia law so that a small group of men can rule the majority of the world. I’m talking about the run-of-the-mill what we usually call “kooks.”

Two of them, Jared Dwain Miller and his wife, Woodruff Miller, murdered two policemen and a Walmart shopper earlier this month while crying, “This is a revolution.” Mrs. Miller then shot Jared and then herself. Good, so they’re out of the way. Attempts to link them to the federal-land-control protesters,  Cliven Bundy and his family and some other fundamentalists, were not too successful. The Millers were asked to leave that protest because they were too violent. That assessment turned out correct.

The Millers are dead. However, we’re told there are other groups out there equally dangerous – again, besides radical Muslims, Mexican drug cartel members, and a myriad of street gangs in every major city. I’m sure there are and I hope they get theirs – in a negative sense, of course. We don’t need wild-eyed, “I’m the collective arm of truth and righteousness,” threatening our society. Lock’em up. Don’t let them have weapons. Isolate them. The poster child for such potential horrors was Timothy McVeigh and his colleague, Terry Nichols. They killed hundreds blowing up a federal building in Oklahoma. McVeigh was executed and Nichols is serving a life term.

However, it wasn’t too long ago–the 1960s and 70s–when such radicalism and terrorism had almost hero status in a large bloc of the country. Under cover of protesting the Vietnam War and fighting for civil rights, some of these protesters came out all right in spite of bombing and killing. It’s a wonder the survivors of this group haven’t taken McVeigh and Nichols as their heroes since those two accomplished far more than this group did.

The group was the Weather Underground headed by Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dohrn, both highly educated and well-to-do. They linked arms with the Black Liberation Army and Black Panthers to do mayhem in the society. The Weathermen committed robberies and murders– 25 bombings, killing seven including three police men. I don’t know if that included the bombs that accidentally blew up killing three of its makers. It was intended for Fort Dix and police headquarters in New York and Detroit. They tried to blow up the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol hoping not to injure anyone, they claimed.  A bomb in San Francisco police station killed one and wounded eight.

Lots of these leaders are dead, in prison (not many), or just faded away. A couple didn’t.  Ayres and Dohrn, now married, are professors of law. The background story is long and somewhat complicated and technically the legal system worked. However, neither of those two expressed any remorse and Ayres even reflected that he could have been more effective. Ayres  also held a fund raiser for then state senator, Barack Obama. Another of their comrades, Mark Rudd, is also an academic. Angela Davis, also tied in with these groups, is also an academic. She bought and owned guns used by a boyfriend to escape jail and kill a judge. She was acquitted and remains a left-wing, progressive hero.

Of course, that was a different time and context is always important, but it just goes to show that not all radicalism or extremism that result in maiming and killing is treated the same. Certainly, the results aren’t the same. I guess back in those days, police and average citizens were the bad guys. Maybe that’s changed.

 

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