March 6th marks the thirty—fifth anniversary of the Manhattan town house explosion that killed radical activists Diana Oughton, Ted Gold and Terry Robbins. Oughton, Gold and Robbins were all members of the Weather Underground, a radical offshoot of Students for a Democratic Society, but their revolutionary zeal exceeded their expertise in bomb—making.
Had they successfully assembled and transported their bomb instead of blowing themselves up, many more people would be dead. The bomb was intended for a soldiers' dance at Fort Dix, in New Jersey. The late Diana and her friends wanted to murder soldiers and their dates to express their opposition to the Vietnam War.
Murder and martyrdom in the service of a cause requires passionate conviction. And in that respect, I sometimes wonder if the ageing radicals of the Sixties (that is, the ones who avoided Oughton's fate) recognize that the terrorists in Iraq are their kindred spirits.
Just like radical Islamists today, sixties radicals passed judgment on America. Whether it was Angela Davis explaining, 'We have to learn how to rejoice when pigs' blood is spilled,' or Tom Hayden confessing that he was 'fascinated by the simplicity and power of the Molotov cocktail,' the radical elite believed that violence was justified in the service of the revolution.
Davis and Hayden survived the radical sixties, but some of their brothers in arms did not. Jonathan Jackson, for example, has also been dead these 35 years. He was only 17 when he took a judge, lawyer and several jurors hostage at a California courthouse. Jackson and one of his hostages died before they got out of the parking lot. Who knows what Jonathan could have accomplished if he hadn't been mesmerized into throwing his life away for his brother George.
Since I've named the radicals, it seems fitting to mention the names of some of their victims:
Judge Harold Haley.
Officer John Frey.
Officers Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones.
Officers Waverly Brown, Ed O'Grady, and Security Guard Peter Paige
Officers Gregory Foster and Rocco Laurie.
Do Davis, Hayden, et al, belatedly understand the blessing of democracy and the rule of law we enjoy, courtesy of the government they loathed? Do they now see that if you appoint yourself as judge, jury and executioner for people you despise, you can hardly turn around and complain when others do the same?
If the Weathermen wanted to blow us up for being war—mongering bourgeois capitalists, they have no right to quibble if someone else blows them into little bits for being godless infidels.
Lona Manning observes American politics from Canada.