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in 1775, the outbreak of the American Revolution.  The British marched  from Boston to seize arms accumulated by Americans.  The 1st shots were fired at Lexington, the badly outnumbered Americans fell back. The next engagement was at Concord. By then several hundred Americans had gathered, At North Bridge they drove the British back, and as the Redcoats retreated towards Boston, continued to fire upon them from behind rocks and trees.  More troops marched from Boston to rescue the endangered column. they retreated to Boston, where the colonists cut them off and began the siege of Boston.

This is an important day in Beantown, one experienced as a Marine '66.  The Post band at Quantico, came up, playing at a gathering the night before. We were near Concord Bridge for the ceremonies the next morning (only 20 feet  from the cannon firing every minute), finishing the day at the end of the Marathon on a day when the Japanese finished 1-2-3-4.

Like other Americans, my memories of the date are clouded by violence of a different kind -  the 1993 siege of the Branch Davidians in Waco, and two the terrorism of Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols at the Alfred P. Murrah Building.

Today I reflect upon violence.

Of course April 19th holds an important place in our national memory.  We have the image of the Minutemen, dropping their plows and grabbing their muskets.  Only Lexington and Concord were not entirely unexpected, and the response began as soon as the British began their march out:  American spies knew the British would be coming, They sent out three messengers:  Samuel Dawes, Paul Revere and William Prescott, with the latter two joining Revere after he had managed to ride out from Boston to sound the alarm.  

The events of that morning had been building for several years. I will not recount the prior history except to remind people of the Boston Massacre of 1770 and the Tea Party of December 16, 1773, the latter which led to the occupation of Boston by the British.  

The idea that Americans would respond to a threat of force or tyranny with force of their own took shape in the iconic image of the Minuteman, celebrated in poetry by the Longfellow:

Listen my children and you shall hear
of the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere

and Emerson's "Concord Hymn":

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
    Their flag to April's breeze unfurled;
Here once the embattled farmers stood;
    And fired the shot heard round the world.

For better or worse, our nation was born at least in part through violence, and we have celebrated that violence, however justified it may have been.

The image of Lexington and Concord has shaped our understanding of the 2nd Amendment, which does, after all, refer to a well-regulated militia.   We have from time to time heard arguments about what a militia is:  after all, McVeigh and Nichols were involved with a group calling itself the Michigan Militia, even though it was not under government regulation and the Michigan National Guard was.  And Waco, the siege of the Branch Davidian compound, was in large part because of weapons - it was ATF that went in.   Just as the earlier siege in Ruby Ridge was because of weapons.  And that siege was connected to Waco because of a visit by Randy Weaver.  

I do not wish to justify or glorify violence.  I acknowledge it. I recognize that at times its use is unavoidable. I also acknowledge that once one begins rationalizing the use of violence, it is very easy for things to spin out of control.  Was it justified for the FBI to try to take out Randy Weaver when he was barricaded with his wife and family?  Did the shot taken by FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi qualify as an act of murder?  After all, while the case was transferred to Federal jurisdiction where the charges against Horiuchi were dismissed, the Federal government wound up paying millions to the Weaver family for the deaths (including Weaver's wife) that occurred.  Was she merely collateral damage in an otherwise justified use of force?

What then about Waco?  Was "David Koresh" a madman who was jeopardizing the lives of women and children in the compound?  After all, we had already seen the mass deaths of another religious cult in Guyana, the willingness to kill any who might be viewed as threatening the survival of the cult.  

What about an atmosphere of paranoia, of black helicopters?  What about the escalation of rhetoric that could feed that paranoia?

What about books that fantasize violence against the government?  Why is it so often that these mental constructions about violence somehow wind up also being virulently anti-Semitic, as were the Turner Diaries of William Pierce that so influenced Timothy McVeigh?  That book argued for the elimination of Jews and of non-whites.  As we reflect on this day, on what McVeigh did, and look at our own time, we may remember the racism because we have a president with a Black skin, but with the last name of Bernstein I cannot forget the antisemitism, something the various "Aryan" groups have in common with much of the Klan, which also bombed synagogues in the South.

I teach government.  I am very pressed for time to prepare my students for tests -  my AP students have their exam two weeks from this morning, and we lost 9 days to snow.  Perhaps I should not take the time to explore these issues.  But I make a point of finding the time for relevant events around us.  And this is relevant.  How can I not carve out the time to help them understand?  My students range in age from 14 to 18.  The oldest were small children at the time of Oklahoma City, and few were even alive at the time of Waco.  

Each year when this date comes around I worry.  Perhaps there will again be violence on this day, or on the day that follows, which is the anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School in Colorado.  That is only 11 years ago, and those of my students who are seniors have some memories of the television from that event.

I was a Marine.  One thing I learned during my service in the mid-1960s is that for the average person it is not easy to deliberately kill another human being.  We can do so in rage, we can do so in anger after we or those and that we love have been attacked.  I never saw combat, but from friends who did I also learned that one was changed by the act of taking another life.  I am grateful I have not had that experience.  

One is also changed by experiencing violence towards that one values, either personally or in principle.  When that happens, it seemingly becomes easier to rationalize one's own use of violence, to overcome whatever reluctance one may have, even if it results in "collateral damage" beyond the target at whom we aim our anger or our retribution.

Gandhi is reputed to have said that an eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.  I do not know if he actually offered those words, even as I acknowledge they seem an accurate representation of his beliefs and life.  In sports we have the likes of umpires - a retaliatory hitting an opposing batter is sometimes prevented by a warning, and often responded to by rejection and fine.  There is an external power that can say "enough" before the violence escalates out of control.  

Yet we glorify violence and the willingness to stand up for one's own, certainly in sports with loops of violent hits in football and hockey, in your face dunks in basketball, . . .  

There are times when one must stand up.  Violence may become part of what is required.  That was certainly so 235 yearss ago this morning, in the suburbs of Boston, where this date first acquired its honored position on our calendar.

It is unfortunate that memory of that day cannot avoid the memories of Waco and of Oklahoma City.  Perhaps someone with historical memory might have timed the raid on the Branch Davidian compound for some other day, any other day, on the calendar, to avoid the association that enabled the likes of McVeigh to claim a connection with the patriotic events of 1775.  Perhaps April 18th or 20th would not have made a difference.  I truly do not know.  

Like many who read this, I will listen to what Rachel Maddow will offer tonight, the McVeigh tapes.  For some, the main attraction may be that part of the human soul that finds a need to slow down and look at car crashes.  For me, it will be at least equally if not more an attempt to more fully understand a mind set that is alien to my own experience and way of thinking.

Patriot - the word comes from Patria, homeland.  It has great appeal, not merely to fans of Tom Brady or the George Mason U basketball team (and that university is named after one who demonstrated his own patriotism without ever bearing arms in combat, but by refusing to agree to a Constitution without protection for individual rights and liberties).  I love this nation, I love what I as the descendant of  immmigrant Jews has been able to experience in education, in political participation, in my ability to be able to criticize my government when I think it is wrong.

Less than two weeks before the events of Lexington and Concord, Samuel Johnson, according to Boswell, opined that "patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel."  We do not know what the good doctor intended by those words.  At times they are used to be dismissive towards those who are passionate about this country, who honestly believe that criticism of the country is somehow unpatriotic, who might be used by demagogues to suppress political opposition.  

I am not sure what meaning I should ascribe to Patriotism.  I know that at some point violence seems an unavoidable consequence of the human condition, and the willingness to resort to violence, however reluctantly, may be necessary to 'secure the blessing of liberty to ourselves and our posterity" as we read in the Declaration.  

However reluctantly.  And it is here that I can begin to separate the events of the 1990s from the iconic events of 1775.   The violence of Lexington and Concord was offered in resistance to violence, implied and actual, being advanced by the British Army.  Leaving aside for now Waco, what McVeigh did in 1995 cannot be viewed as a reluctant resorting to violence, but rather as a deliberate attempt to foment more violence.  That to me besmirches whatever real meaning one might find in the events of 1775.  

Patriots' Day.  

"the shot heard round the world"

I will not glorify the events, but I will acknowledge the willingness of those New Englanders to sacrifice, including the sacrifice of a part of ones own soul in the taking of human life.

And I will again return to the words of the Declaration, which acknowledges what they did as the signers of that document could read just above where they affixed their own names:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

our sacred honor - where is there honor in blowing up a building that houses a day care center?  And, to return to Waco, to understand the anger it involves, at what point is the application of force in a situation that at worst represents a stalemate violate a sense of honor?  

I can offer no easy conclusions.  Insofar as people differ in experience and outlook, they will interpret things in radically different and seemingly contradictory manners.  That is true of words, it is true of history.  What the Constitution and the Declaration mean to me are evidently not the same as they do to those in "militias" or even some on the Supreme Court.  While I have never resorted to physical violence to advance my viewpoint at the expense of one with which I disagree, I understand that I am fully capable of doing so if pushed far enough.

Those in New England chose to draw a line.  In part, the nation we enjoy is a direct result of what they did, of the violence in which they participated.  If we honor this nation, we cannot avoid honoring them, including their violence.

I believe that was a violence born of sacred honor.  I see it at least in part as reluctant but necessary violence.

I attempt to make such distinctions, even as I acknowledge the real possibility of a slippery slope, the best experience of which I have had is to see someone foolishly start going down the lakeside slope of Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, and watching how he had to be rescued.  

our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor

a three-fold statement that somehow reminds me of Corinthians,  of faith, hope, and charity

in each case the last of the three is perhaps the most important.

For me, honor requires me to respect the humanity of others, even as they may be the most deadly possible adversary.

Today is Patriot Day.  It is a day associated with violence.

But it is so much more.  It is day of honor, of commitment, of sacrifice.


Originally posted to teacherken on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 03:05 AM PDT.

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  •  Tip Jar (165+ / 0-)
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    Superskepticalman, catdevotee, BrooklynJohnny, sjcyoung, Debby, Shockwave, Ed Drone, ETinKC, waytac, saluda, freelunch, frisco, regis, Heart of the Rockies, RubDMC, scribe, opinionated, bronte17, chuckvw, fumie, Random Excess, wader, revsue, psnyder, Barth, logsol, grannyhelen, ccr4nine, penguins4peace, Chirons apprentice, never forget 2000, jmknapp, rambler american, slapshoe, Dirk McQuigley, Tinfoil Hat, salmo, JanetT in MD, sc kitty, ccasas, MT Spaces, ChemBob, reflectionsv37, Pam from Calif, Captain Frogbert, rb608, JanL, Ekaterin, RamblinDave, occams hatchet, RustyBrown, Clytemnestra, koNko, kestrel9000, Crashing Vor, JVolvo, bleeding heart, ER Doc, Nedsdag, profh, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, FiddleDeeDee, means are the ends, jkshaw, blueintheface, Loudoun County Dem, dmh44, ninkasi23, gtghawaii, moosely2006, DrWolfy, edsbrooklyn, Nespolo, Cofcos, hold tight, Jimdotz, ezdidit, LamontCranston, mbh1023, US Blues, vbdietz, quadmom, millwood, Moderation, Joffan, LWelsch, Predictor, MKinTN, Boisepoet, TheFatLadySings, elwior, Akonitum, minerva1157, mikeconwell, geomoo, mofembot, Seamus D, temptxan, glendaw271, luckylizard, ptolemynm, Quilldriver, GrannyOPhilly, legendmn, MrsTarquinBiscuitbarrel, maggiejean, Pris from LA, 1BQ, multilee, smellybeast, MTmarilyn, greengemini, foxsucks81, velvet blasphemy, Daily Activist, allep10, porchdog1961, collardgreens, catilinus, patrickz, miss SPED, FritztheCat, skeezixwolfnagle, pdx kirk, SeattleTammy, Vinlander, Taxmancometh, abarrenfuture, Lady Libertine, Kristina40, NYWheeler, ThirtyFiveUp, Betty Pinson, science nerd, wwjjd, annieli, renbear, allenjo, Captain Pants, sabo33, MaryinHammondsport, BlueJessamine, We Want Change, ardyess, the national gadfly, QuestionAuthority, asterkitty, beantown mom, gravlax, dle2GA, KVoimakas, antimony, VTCC73, Strange New World, blue aardvark, DRo, Regina in a Sears Kit House, brainyblond, jacey, James Robinson, The Lone Apple, J Brunner Fan, AnnieR, 3CPO, CharlesCorra12

    do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

    by teacherken on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 03:05:49 AM PDT

  •  We need to keep the record straight (27+ / 0-)

    As painful as it is to talk about Waco, it's imperative that we make sure the truth about David Koresh is aired. As anyone who was old enough at the time to remember and/or has ever been involved in an online debate about the incident knows, the right really would like people to believe Koresh and his followers were just a bunch of innocent Christians who were minding their own business.

    And, sad to say, they've had some success to that end. Just as a lot of people still believe Al Gore was the first to raise Willie Horton as an issue and the Dems wouldn't let Bob Casey speak at the 1992 convention because he was anti-choice, there are otherwise-reasonable conservatives who will tell you that Koresh was not only innocent, but the victim of a smear campaign by Bill Clinton and Janet Reno. We need to make sure that narrative is never allowed to take hold.

    •  By no means am I justifying Koresh (14+ / 0-)

      I do think someone with historical awareness might have time the raid for another day, although I do not know if ultimately that would have made that much of a difference.  It is a necessary part of understanding the mindset, however warped, of McVeigh in choosing this date.

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 03:23:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know (6+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, JVolvo, ER Doc, elwior, geomoo, pdx kirk

        Sorry if I made it sound like I thought you were justifying Koresh. I've read enough of your diaries to know you would never do that!

      •  I trust you are also not justifying Randy Weaver (8+ / 0-)

        Yes the federal government did give 3 million 100 hundred dollars to the Weavers. The purpose of the settlement was to avoid a civil suit.

        To fire weapons at federal agents is inexcusable. A US Marshal was killed. I cannot imagine trying to hold off three hundred FBI agents surrounding me. So who do the Weavers think they are?

        The entire fire arms issue has gotten out of hand. Both David Koresh and Randy Weaver had illegal firearms.

        Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

        by LWelsch on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 04:37:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  no, I am not - where do I even imply that? (10+ / 0-)

          that Horiuchi was never put on trial did serve as an additional causus belli for some on the right.

          But I will disagree with you that firing weapons at federal agents is always inexcusable. Let me preface this by noting there is an FBI agent in my extended family.   But if someone is breaking into a house without identifying themselves, it would be a normal human response to seek to defend oneself.  And there have been cases of Federal agents who have committed murder, and I hope you are not assuming that merely because someone states that they are a federal agent as they are shooting at you gives them impunity or immunity.

          My citation of Weaver is for different reasons - it is part of the larger context used for "justification" by some on the right.  He did visit Waco.  Because both in his case and in that at Waco one issue was weapons, and there are those on the right who oppose any attempt to limit their possession of weapons, it feeds into the mentality that ultimately leads to Oklahoma City.  They will look back specifically at the British effort to seize arms on this date and use that as "justification."  

          I think I am fairly clear in parsing that out.

          do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

          by teacherken on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 04:47:41 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  As a former federal employee (6+ / 0-)

            who was employed by the Federal Government when the Murrah building was bombed, I am very sensitive to issues surrounding that bombing.

            Ruby Ridge was a complicated case. However there is no question that US Marshals who were clandestinely surveying the property were retreating when Sammy Weaver and Kevin Harris chased after them due to the Weaver's dog barking at the Marshals. Who fired first is open to dispute.

            A person with a loaded gun chasing after someone is asking for trouble. A person vowing to fight the federal government rather than surrender is asking for trouble.

            You imply that by not being clear about what happened at Ruby Ridge and by mentioning the settlement which implies wrong doing on the part of the federal government. I believe the purpose of the settlement was to avoid bringing more attention to Randy Weaver through a Civil Suit.

            To raise questions such as:

            Was it justified for the FBI to try to take out Randy Weaver when he was barricaded with his wife and family?  Did the shot taken by FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi qualify as an act of murder?

            after a US Marshal was killed and the Weavers failed to surrender does imply support for Randy Weaver.

            Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

            by LWelsch on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:15:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  sorry, it does not imply support (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Sychotic1, frandor55, JVolvo, geomoo, pdx kirk

              it is merely a statement of fact.  

              And regardless of the original exchange, Weaver was barricaded and going nowhere.  There is a question of the necessity of firing the shot that went through Weaver's shoulder and killed his wife.  Even if you think a mortal shot to Weaver was justified, there is still the issue of collateral damage.

              do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

              by teacherken on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:17:11 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  So ask the question differently (0+ / 0-)

                As in

                Was it justified for the FBI to try to take out Randy Weaver, who possessed weapons, who vowed resistance, whose family member killed a US Marshal, when Randy Weaver barricaded himself with weapons in his home with his family?

                If US Marshals retreating from the property had not been fired on, then none of this would have happened.

                Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

                by LWelsch on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:38:55 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sychotic1, foxsucks81

                  Was it justified for the FBI to try to take out Randy Weaver

                  If I were to get a job in a factory, the first thing I'd do is join a union.---FDR

                  by frandor55 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:39:23 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Actually, there is substantial (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sychotic1, frandor55, geomoo

                  question to whether the Weaver's fired on the US Marshals until after they were fired upon.

                  At one point, Roderick threw two rocks at the Weaver cabin to test the reaction of the dogs.[21] The dogs became alerted, and Weaver's friend Kevin Harris, and Weaver's 14 year old son, Samuel, emerged and followed the dog Striker to investigate.[1] Harris and the younger Weaver were hoping that the dog had noticed a game animal since the cabin was out of meat.[22] Sammy Weaver told his father he believed the dogs had sensed either a large animal or a man in the woods. The recon team marshals (Roderick, Cooper and Degan) initially retreated through the woods in radio contact with the OP team, but later took up hidden defensive positions.
                  Later the OP team marshals and the Weavers both claimed that the Weaver dogs alerted to the recon team marshals in the woods after neighbors at the foot of the mountain started their pickup truck. The recon team marshals retreated through the woods to the "Y" juncture in the trails 500 yards west of the cabin, out of sight of the cabin. Sammy and Harris followed the dog Striker on foot through the woods while Randy also on foot took a separate logging trail. Vicki, Sara, Rachel, and baby Elisheba remained at the cabin, at first appearing anxious to the OP team, but later appearing relaxed. Randy encountered the marshals at the "Y"; Roderick recalled yelling, "Back off! U.S. Marshal!" and Cooper recalled yelling, "Stop! U.S. Marshal!" Later statements by Roderick, Cooper and Randy agreed that Randy responded by cursing and running away. About a minute later the dog and the boys came out of the woods and a firefight erupted between the marshals and Sammy and Harris.[23][24]

                  Accounts differ at this point as to who first opened fire[25] but agree that DUSM Roderick shot and killed Weaver's dog and that Samuel Weaver fired at Roderick. Samuel Weaver was shot in the back while retreating,[26] and DUSM Degan was shot and killed by Harris.[27]

                  The version of the firefight told by DUSMs Roderick and Cooper was that the dog, followed by Harris then Sammy, came out of the woods. DUSM Degan challenged Harris, who turned and shot Degan dead without Degan firing a single shot. Roderick then shot the dog once, Sammy fired at Roderick twice, and Roderick fired once again. Roderick and Cooper heard multiple gunshots from the Weaver party. Cooper fired two three shot bursts at Harris and Cooper saw Harris fall "like a sack of potatoes". An impact caused leaves to fly up in front of Cooper who then sought cover. Cooper saw Sammy run away. Cooper radioed to OP team Dave Hunt that he had wounded or killed Harris.[28]

                  Harris' version was that, when the dog followed by Sammy then Harris came out of the woods, the dog ran up to Cooper and danced about as he did in playing with the children. The dog then ran to Roderick, who shot the dog in front of Sammy, who cursed Roderick and shot at him. Degan came out of the woods firing his M16 and hit Sammy in the arm. Harris then fired and hit Degan in the chest knocking him down. Cooper fired at Harris who ducked for cover. Cooper fired again and Sammy was hit in the back and fell. Harris fired about 6 feet in front of Cooper and forced him to take cover. Cooper announced that he was a US Marshal. Harris checked Sammy's body, found him dead, and ran to the cabin.[29]

                  Probably the most disturbing thing about the Weaver incident were the "shoot on sight" rules of engagement and the fact that no one in the FBI accepted responsibility for formulating him.

                  Here is FBI Assistant Director Danny Coulson's take on Weaver during the siege:

                  Something to Consider

                  1. Charge against Weaver is Bull Shit.
                  1. No one saw Weaver do any shooting.
                  1. Vicki has no charges against her.
                  1. Weaver's defense. He ran down the hill to see what dog was barking at. Some guys in camys shot his dog. Started shooting at him. Killed his son. Harris did the shooting [of Degan]. He [Weaver] is in pretty strong legal position."[42]
                  •  I Have Spent Time In Northern Idaho... (3+ / 0-)

                    Coeur d'Alene.

                    And my progressive /liberal friends who lived there during that time believe the government version of what happened is bullshit.

                    If I were to get a job in a factory, the first thing I'd do is join a union.---FDR

                    by frandor55 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:27:22 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I don't think partisanship should extend to this (4+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      catdevotee, frandor55, elwior, geomoo

                      Why is it okay for the police state to inflict unnecessary harm under a democratic administration but an outrage if it does so under a republican one?

                      I was horrified at the Senate hearings on the Branch Davidian disaster.  Chuck Schumer did his best to cover the Fed's mistakes and shout down the opposition.  

                      You don't have to be a gun fanatic or right-winger to be very skeptical of the police, the feds, the ATF, the DEA, the FBI, etc.  These organizations have a history of abusing citizens and trampling on rights under presidents of both parties.  I'd rather a healthy skepticism be applied erroneously than to give them the benefit of the doubt when they don't deserve it.

                      I could give a flying crap about the political process. We're an entertainment company. --Glenn Beck

                      by foxsucks81 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:39:53 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Violence is not a viable tool of policy. (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        elwior, foxsucks81

                        Both these cases provide textbook examples of how things play out when violence is used to achieve ends, which gets us back to the basic theme of the diary. Beforehand, the binary mind sees a desired goal and sees a way of attaining the goal through violently sweeping aside obstacles.  Afterwards, the ground is littered with the dead, dying, and suffering, and the issues leading to the violence continue to fester.  This is the way of violence.

                        To most of us, David Koresh was an abusive tyrant, heavily armed.  Is it our business to interfere, and when?  It is ironic that the same folks who want to prevent a woman from choosing abortion vehemently oppose the right of the government to stop a madman from exercising absolute control over women and children.  But the attack on the compound was filled with mistakes.  Once again, as so often happens with violence, they killed the children to save them.

                        Bacevich makes this point with respect to Afghanistan Obama's decision to double down in Afghanistan:

                        The very notion that we can ratchet up our involvement in Afghanistan and then state with confidence at this point that in 18 months we will carefully ratchet our involvement back down again. He seems to assume that war is a predictable and controllable instrument that can be directed with precision by people sitting in offices back in Washington, D.C. I think the history of Vietnam and the history of war more broadly teaches us something different. And that is, when statesmen choose war, they really are simply rolling the dice. They have no idea of what numbers are going to come up. And their ability to predict, control, direct the outcome tends to be extremely precarious. So from my point of view, the President has drawn the wrong lessons from his understanding of the history of war.

                        This is why violence should be only a last resort.  It is always the worst possible strategy--the most unpredictable and most likely both to fail and to bring new, unforeseen difficulties--for achieving desirable goals.

                        The problem after a war is the victor. He thinks he has just proved that war and violence will pay. Who will now teach him a lesson?

                        by geomoo on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:53:29 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                  •  When Federal Marshals come calling, you settle (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    salmo, elwior

                    the matter in court.  To start shooting and "defend your rights" with violence when you have a legal means of redress at your disposal is immature, faulty thinking, and the Weavers and their ilk compound their own woes when they defy the legally appointed government agents with gun violence.  The Weavers may make the case for a survivalist's wet dream, but they are not mature thinking citizens for the 21st Century.  

                    And it feels like I'm livin'in the wasteland of the free ~ Iris DeMent, 1996

                    by MrJersey on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:43:05 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  I think you are missing the point. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      The Weavers were fruitcakes.

                      But in this case during the initial part of the confrontation they didn't behave unreasonably.

                      Their dogs started barking.  They apparently thought a deer might be near and went out because they were short on meat.

                      They ran down the path and bumped into the Marshals.

                      There was a confused incident.  The Marshals shot Weaver's dog and son.  Harris shot a Marshal.  Weaver and Harris ran back to their cabin and holed up.

                      The US Government pretty much forfeited the normal presumption that government agents in such a situation are telling the truth and survivalist nuts are not when they issued shoot on sight rules of engagement and then all parties involved denied being responsible.

                      The Ruby Ridge Rules of Engagement (ROE) were drawn up on the basis of reports from USMS and FBI headquarters, bolstered by unconfirmed news media accounts accepted by HQ, that exaggerated the threat posed by the Weavers.

                      1. If any adult male is observed with a weapon prior to the announcement, deadly force can and should be employed, if the shot can be taken without endangering any children.
                      1. If any adult in the compound is observed with a weapon after the surrender announcement is made, and is not attempting to surrender, deadly force can and should be employed to neutralize the individual.
                      1. If compromised by any animal, particularly the dogs, that animal should be eliminated.
                      1. Any subjects other than Randall Weaver, Vicki Weaver, Kevin Harris, presenting threats of death or grievous bodily harm, the FBI rules of deadly force are in effect. Deadly force can be utilized to prevent the death or grievous bodily injury to oneself or that of another.[34]

                      Standard deadly force policy of the FBI was: "Agents are not to use deadly force against any person except as necessary in self-defense or the defense of another, when they have reason to believe they or another are in danger of death or grievous bodily harm. Whenever feasible, verbal warning should be given before deadly force is applied."[35] Under the Ruby Ridge ROE 3 and 4, the Weaver dogs, the Weaver children and third parties were subject to the standard deadly force policy and could only be shot in self-defense if they presented a danger of death or grievous bodily harm. However, under the Ruby Ridge ROE 1 and 2, deadly force against the Weaver adults was permitted without the justification of defense and without any verbal warning.

                      The Denver FBI SWAT team assigned to Ruby Ridge thought the ROE were "crazy" and agreed among themselves to follow the FBI deadly force policy. However, most of the FBI HRT sniper/observers accepted the ROE as modifying the deadly force policy. Examples: HRT sniper Dale Monroe saw the ROE as a "green light" to shoot armed adult males on sight and HRT sniper Edward Wenger believed that if he observed armed adults, he could use deadly force, but he was to follow standard deadly force policy for all other individuals. Fred Lanceley, the FBI Hostage Negotiator at Ruby Ridge, was "surprised and shocked" at the ROE, the most severe rules he had ever heard in his over 300 hostage situations and characterized the ROE as inconsistent with standard policy.[36] A later Senate report criticized the ROE as "virtual shoot-on-sight orders."[37]

                      Before the negotiators arrived at the cabin, an FBI HRT sniper, Lon Horiuchi, shot and wounded Randy Weaver in the back with the bullet exiting his right armpit, while he was lifting the latch on the shed to visit the body of his dead son.[38] (The sniper testified at the later trial that he had put his crosshairs on Weaver's spine, but Weaver moved at the last second.) Then, as Weaver, his 16-year-old daughter Sara,[39] and Harris ran back toward the house, Horiuchi fired a second bullet, which passed through Vicki Weaver's head, killing her, and wounded Harris in the chest. Vicki Weaver was standing behind the door through which Harris was entering the house, holding their 10-month-old baby Elisheba[39] in her arms.[40] The Department of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility Ruby Ridge Task Force Report (June 10, 1994) stated in section I. Executive Summary subhead B. Significant Findings that the second shot did not satisfy constitutional standards for legal use of deadly force.[41] The OPR review also found the lack of a request to surrender was "inexcusable", since Harris and the two Weavers were running for cover without returning fire and were not an imminent threat. The task force also specifically blamed Horiuchi for firing through the door, not knowing whether someone was on the other side of it. While controversy exists as to who is responsible for approving the ROE that were being followed by the sniper, the task force also condemned the so-called "rules of engagement" allowing shots to be fired with no request for surrender.[38]

                      •  Once the shooting starts, (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        elwior, foxsucks81

                        the neat "rules of engagement" quickly disappear.  We Americans need to purge ourselves of the delusion of the upright soldier of integrity always making humane decisions.  That is the stuff of superheroes in comic books.

                        The problem after a war is the victor. He thinks he has just proved that war and violence will pay. Who will now teach him a lesson?

                        by geomoo on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:57:58 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Actually no. For professionals the ROE (0+ / 0-)

                          stay in place right through the engagement.

                          We have some of the most professional military and paramilitary forces in the world and when they are given reasonable instructions they don't produce cluster fucks like Ruby Ridge or even Waco.

                          I totally agreed with the Horiuchi prosecution except for one thing.  Horiuchi was not a lawyer and couldn't reasonably determine the legality of his instructions.  The prosecution should have been of the superiors who produced those ROE.

          •  I still love your diaries! (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior, geomoo, foxsucks81, pdx kirk

            and I did tip and recommend this one.

            Practice tolerance, kindness and charity.

            by LWelsch on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:15:44 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Ruby Ridge: Federal Agents Killed the Family Dog (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sychotic1, geomoo, James Robinson

            That is what started the gunfire. I don't know about you but if I saw anyone shoot my dog for no reason I do not know what I would do.

              But if someone is breaking into a house without identifying themselves, it would be a normal human response to seek to defend oneself.  And there have been cases of Federal agents who have committed murder, and I hope you are not assuming that merely because someone states that they are a federal agent as they are shooting at you gives them impunity or immunity.

            Thanks teacherken, for having a measured look at these tragedies.

            If I were to get a job in a factory, the first thing I'd do is join a union.---FDR

            by frandor55 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:31:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  i agree RD, but also recognize its.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sychotic1, JVolvo, elwior

      ....important to ask questions when trying to write a piece thats intended to provoke a thoughtful mood.  I think Tken did a good job here of event recognition without intent to justify or deny. Not easy to do with topics like this.

      The facts of various violent episodes are important to keep clean, clear, accurate and neutral. I so agree with you on that. History's spinners do us no service.

      "There are no bad architectural styles, well except the boring ones." F.LL.W.

      by pdx kirk on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:00:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  good diary and quite informative (9+ / 0-)

    and teach those kids what you think is important, just make sure it is as factual and complete as you know it.  And they'll do just fine on the AP, give them a lot of homework...
    p.s about 13 paragraphs down after emerson poem, find 235, possible slight error?
    later buddy and good luck..

  •  It has warped meaning outside New England (16+ / 0-)

    In NYC, most people didn't note it at all.

    I had a conversation with a Texan and an Ohioan friend of mine recently, and they both agreed that "Oh, it's a militia day because of McVeigh and Waco ... no one else knows about why people in Boston celebrate it."

    No one else knows about why PEOPLE in BOSTON celebrate IT.

    It being the start of the American War for Independence.

    They also claimed that Columbine took place on the 19th, and that McVeigh picked it because of Hitler's birthday, as did the Columbine kids.

    As pleasing as it is that two intelligent people from the middle of the country evince a confused association between anti-semites, militias and players of the game Doom, the lack of actual patriotism in their states that this speaks to is galling.

    Especially since they would both agree that their states of origin are more patriotic than Massachusetts.

    This is why we gave you all Scott Brown.  Paying attention to us now?  Good.

    Now we'll go back to celebrating the actual reason for this day, and not recalling the hangers-on and losers sucking off it.

    •  I guess us sorry bucolic saps out here (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Debby, elwior

      are more about celebrating ends to wars.

      and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

      by le sequoit on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:09:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you saying the Revolutionary War (0+ / 0-)

        should never have been fought?

        •  No, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          frandor55, geomoo

          I admit it was a from-the-hip reaction to regional chest-thumping.

          I've lived in Massachusetts, and I never noticed the populace particularly more fascinated with the historical aspects of Patriots' Day than anyone else, save a few hobbyists who like to dress up and shoot off antique weapons.

          And I seriously doubt that many New Englanders are aware that Revere never reached Concord, despite Longfellow's narrative, or that Emerson's "shot heard round the world" wasn't.

          and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

          by le sequoit on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:55:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry, but actually my kids have learned... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CentralMass, geomoo

            ...the history of Patriots' Day accurately in our town school system here in MA (~40 NNW of Boston). And it's something that my family has always taken seriously (no we don't dress up in colonial-era garb and fire off muskets). My SO grew up in Sudbury, MA (postal zip code 01776, ostensibly awarded this because their minutemen/militia was the first to join up with the locals at Concord) so it's always been a part of the family, even when we were living in NJ.

            So please try to avoid the sweeping generalizations of an entire commonwealth.

            "Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane." -- Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

            by frisco on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:09:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I appreciate both comments. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              But please, "I never noticed the populace particularly more fascinated" doesn't even come close to being a sweeping generalization.  It's an observation which I share after living in New England for over twenty years.  I still appreciate your additional information, which is more that of an insider.

              The problem after a war is the victor. He thinks he has just proved that war and violence will pay. Who will now teach him a lesson?

              by geomoo on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 12:05:01 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  The Wayside Inn in Sudbury is a great place (0+ / 0-)

              to visit to take in some of the colonial history.

              I've dined their numerous times. The wait staff wear period era clothing. In dining areas are heated with the fireplaces during the winter etc..


              The entire state is steeped in history. I'm looking at a stone wall built in that era right now. Colonial builds, memorials, roadside markers, building like schools name after historical figures, etc..

              Anyone who living in Massachusetts that doesn't have a sense of it's history must have their eyes closed.

  •  Maybe Rachel should have run her show (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Barth, 3CPO

    ...on the anniversary of McVeigh's execution (June 11)--that's a day to celebrate--and leave April 19 to true patriots. The show promises to be a platform for his delusional outlook. It's kind of perverse to adhere to the OKC bombers' intended framing on Patriot's Day.

  •  The misguided, misinformed and evil (8+ / 0-)

    will always distort history for their ends. We have to stay committed to protecting "our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor" by making sure our actions and words assure the victory of truth.

    My daughter and I just got back from observing the Stow, MA Minutemen march through our town of Maynard as they made their way to Concord for the parade and ceremony at the Old North Bridge.

    Some photos from last year

    Much less is known than not, More far than near. - Philip Larkin

    by rusto on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 04:17:14 AM PDT

  •  An interesting take on "Patriot Day". Thank you (7+ / 0-)

    for your personal take on what today is, and means with respect to "our sacred honor".  I would enjoy being a "fly on the wall" in your class today to listen to you.

    Once again, thank you for your writings, as they always serve to make one (read that, "me") think.

    "Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value." ~ Albert Einstein

    by LamontCranston on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 04:30:17 AM PDT

    •  u r welcome (7+ / 0-)

      but I want to invoke their thinking, not impose mine.

      As it happens, at some point during my 6th period AP class I will be being observed by a group from both outside and within the building.  Might be interesting if they come in during that part of the lesson. . .

      do we still have a Republic and a Constitution if our elected officials will not stand up for them on our behalf?

      by teacherken on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 04:51:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Again thank you Ken for provoking thought. (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Barth, PinHole, JVolvo, elwior, geomoo

      You had this effect on me this morning with this diary and I am grateful of that. I was setting in to scurry through some chores and get ready for a meeting and now I am in a different space. For a few moments to reflect on violence rather than to react to it. (or to duck from it yet again after the next news headline shows up...)

      Currently digesting the words Honor and juxtaposing that with the word Pride. Seeing how the two are very different motivators with very different results. One I think has the power to minimize the amount of violence we may feel we need. To test it first and not glorify it later. The other I think can tend to justify and increase it. Perhaps more Honor and less pride might help America climb down from the tower of Empire we have burdened ourselves with?

      Have a good day.

      "There are no bad architectural styles, well except the boring ones." F.LL.W.

      by pdx kirk on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:31:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Though later I would learn that (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PinHole, elwior, geomoo, pdx kirk

    Patriot(s'?) day meant the Red Sox were on early, growing up in the Midwest I'd never heard of it, nor would I guess Oklahomans have either.

    and I wait for them to interrupt my drinking from this broken cup

    by le sequoit on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:00:10 AM PDT

  •  Like (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, geomoo, pdx kirk

    many others, the word patriotic is a grey word. Its original meaning is clouded by the many uses given it over time. For me the word is attached to real people, some alive and some not. Those are the ones I choose to remember. But, I also remember those who lost their lives because of my actions. They too, were patriotic.

    Common Sense is not Common

    by RustyBrown on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:11:24 AM PDT

  •  T & R n/t (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, geomoo, pdx kirk, abarrenfuture

    "I'll let you be in my dreams if I can be in yours" -Bob Dylan said that.

    by rambler american on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:17:35 AM PDT

  •  thanks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, pdx kirk, abarrenfuture

    Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official... ~Theodore Roosevelt

    by Pam from Calif on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:28:51 AM PDT

  •  Don't forget the media. Would the outcome in Waco (7+ / 0-)

    have been different without the additional pressure applied by the non-stop coverage???

    "I still say a church steeple with a lightning rod on top shows a lack of confidence."

    by logsol on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:31:27 AM PDT

    •  Absolutely (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JVolvo, elwior

      Bush I left Clinton with a disaster waiting to happen. The media kept the standoff at a boiling point, why?  Janet Reno was in an untenable position, new on the job, working with the Bush-era FBI trying to resolve a mess they created.

      Hats off to John Danforth for his investigation.  He did a commendable job. Almost made up for his support of Clarence Thomas.

      "Private health insurers always manage to stay one step ahead of the sheriff." Sen. Sherrod Brown

      by Betty Pinson on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:03:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Funny pattern there, huh? Waco, Mogadishu (5+ / 0-)

        recession and pile of debt for Clinton.  Mountain of debt + financial/banking/housing sector collapse, Iraq and Afghanistan for Obama.

        For me, the pattern is clear: spend like drunken sailors lobbyists on military and war, screw the balance sheets, leave unresolved deployments/wars on the doorstep, etc.

        The Dem comes on board with serious shitstorms flying and has to postpone social justice/rebalancing agenda due to $$ issues and ReThug-spawned crises.

        Effin Bastards.  Their plan works.

        Cow on the tracks!! (Redux)

        by JVolvo on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:21:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Patriot (8+ / 0-)

    The word has become so tainted due to the efforts of the right to change the meaning of the word as a reference to their ideology alone. It's a pity that one small segment of the population should be so hellbent on poisoning this country with a philosophy that celebrates division, separatism and the demonizing of their fellow Americans. Out of one, many.

    And as the song and dance begins/The children play at home with needles/Needles and pins

    by The Lone Apple on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 05:52:49 AM PDT

    •  There is a huge difference between (8+ / 0-)

      patriotism and jingoism.

      Far too many who today call themselves "patriots" are jingoists. A growing segment of our nation has so talked itself into a form of violent and self-righteous jingoisnm that the concept of true "patriotism" has been severely eroded.

      •  jingoism !! antoher good word for chewing on... (5+ / 0-)

        found this on

        From a British music-hall song of 1878: ‘We don't want to fight, yet by jingo! if we do, | We've got the ships, we've got the men, and got the money too.’ This was immediately taken up by those who wanted Britain to go to war with Russia, who were labelled ‘jingoes’ by the socialist G. J. Holyoake. Hence jingoism is aggressive militaristic patriotism.

        I think your point is well made Blue in NC!

        "There are no bad architectural styles, well except the boring ones." F.LL.W.

        by pdx kirk on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:46:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The brilliant Ambrose Bierce (0+ / 0-)

      From The Devil's Dictionary, whose profundity knows no limit:

      PATRIOTISM, n. Combustible rubbish read to the torch of any one ambitious to illuminate his name.

      In Dr. Johnson's famous dictionary patriotism is defined as the last resort of a scoundrel. With all due respect to an enlightened but inferior lexicographer I beg to submit that it is the first.

      The problem after a war is the victor. He thinks he has just proved that war and violence will pay. Who will now teach him a lesson?

      by geomoo on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 12:12:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Violence (6+ / 0-)

    We are a nation born of violence and bathed in violence. This has never changed.

  •  It's just a shame the marijuana advocates (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sui Juris, KozmoD, minerva1157, A Runner

    didn't choose the 19th instead of the 20th for their holiday.  I'd like to see some of today's self-proclaimed patriots chill out a little bit.

    Tipped and recommended.  Teach on, ken.

  •  Wingnuttia owes its freedom to Mass. Libruls (5+ / 0-)

    Massachusetts is a favored target of the wing nuts. But why? If not for men from Lexington, Concord, Arlington, Woburn, etc. , we might have watched a match of footy on the telly or enjoyed an afternoon tea w/ crumpets as we listened to the national cricket league.

    My point is that freedom is basically an abstraction to the wing nuts. They have total cognitive dissonance over who helped preserve and protect the "freedom" they enjoy — but simultaneously complain they are being repressed. Their freedom, and of course ours, really is due to the courage of the men that took up arms and fought the most powerful army in the world — and won!

  •  Good post ! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, pdx kirk

    In brief, well said.

  •  Thoughtful (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, pdx kirk

    as always, Thank you

  •  The word Honor has bee misused too. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sychotic1, elwior, minerva1157, pdx kirk

    How many woman and men have been killed over "Honor". Our President Andrew Jackson and eighteenth Century politicians would Duel over their Honor. Our Founding Fathers may have had a different sense of what Honor meant  Your definition of Honor presented here is a relatively benign one. There are many today who would have America goto war over their perceived insult to our national Honor.

    Disabled Viet Vet ret. My snark is worse than my bite

    by eddieb061345 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 06:57:47 AM PDT

  •  I wish that instead of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, pdx kirk

    Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, Horace had said, "it is sweet & fitting to save a life for your country."

    Excellent work Ken. Tipped & recc'd.

    Meteor Blades seems to do an outstanding job of community moderation despite the abject failure to be perfect.

    by catilinus on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:05:09 AM PDT

  •  It was the best of times... (6+ / 0-)

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

    -- Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

    What Dickens is saying is that the more things change, the more they stay the same.  Yes, in part he's talking about class disparities, the pride and insecurity of those in power and the hostility of the ones under their boots.  But there's more going on here.

    Why do we like to read about horrible periods of history, periods we'd have to be insane to want to experience? Why do we feel nostalgia for times of uncertainty, deprivation and fear that we've lived through? I think it's because the worst of times offer something that can also make them the best of times. The worst of times offers us a clear purpose.

    Dissatisfaction is inextricable from the human condition. I live in greater comfort, prosperity and freedom than any of my ancestors did, yet I cannot escape dissatisfaction.   My job is not as fulfilling as it might be; so much of these cheap and abundant goods are shoddy; most of the people who attend the public meetings about my kids' schools are idiots.  But there's not much I can do about those things, at least not quickly.

    The worst of times presents us with  a clear target for our dissatisfaction. It might cost us our lives, but the promise (if not the reality) compensates. Defeat the enemy and the dissatisfaction goes away.

    I listen to people who are sometimes dismissed as political nuts, but their dystopic fantasies of Obama bringing some kind of Socialist Sharia rule to America don't seem so hard to understand, or so bereft of any recognizable virtue.  At the best of times, dissatisfaction is still with every one of us, because it's woven into human nature.  That's what makes us fight for a better world, after all. But it wouldn't be dissatisfaction if it didn't come with impatience.  These people long for an enemy with a recognizable face, a mortal and unmistakable enemy who can be stopped once and for all.  Only give them such an enemy and it will be the best of times.

    Listen to the right to carry advocates. Really listen.  Picture the heroic scenarios in which they imagine themselves along with them. You'll see that carrying weapons is a search for the perfect moment, an instant of utter clarity and unquestioned purpose. The gun is a talisman by which they can summon an heroic destiny.

    That's not particularly crazy. Human psychology can be a cruel joke.  You can obtain your heart's desire today, then wake up tommorow with the same old ache of longing.  As Terence said, "I am human, and nothing human is alien to me."  We're all a bit crazy when it comes to hope and disillusionment.  Why not choose a madness that at least promises jam tommorow?

    Wouldn't it be nice to have someone we could pin our disatisfaction on?  Somebody we could righteously hate?  Hate is not just detestation, it's something more akin to twisted love.   We avoid that which we detest, but we are attracted to that which we hate. True hate monopolizes our thoughts and imagination a way that can only be matched by love.  Romantic hatred offers us the same resolution as romantic love.  Either we get happily ever after, or there is no ever after to deal with.

    It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to, than I have ever known.

    A better rest than ever we have known... If that's the worst possible end to the worst of times, it doesn't seem so bad.   In the best of times, we might do a far better thing than we have ever done before, but then tommorow we've got to get up an do it again and again and again. Facing that takes its own brand of mental toughness.

    I've lost my faith in nihilism

    by grumpynerd on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 07:10:46 AM PDT

  •  Thank you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, pdx kirk, DRo

    for yet another thoughtful and inspiring diary.

  •  Patriots' Day history (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, pdx kirk

    Interesting that as a holiday it only dates to 1894:

    New York Times, April 20, 1894


    Celebration of a new holiday in Concord and Lexington

    BOSTON, April 19.--In honor of Patriots' Day, the new Massachusetts holiday, informal demonstrations were begun in this city and in the various towns more immediately interested shortly after midnight, and were of the usual Fourth of July and Bunker Hill Day character... Aside from the purely historical observances, amusements of all sorts were provided throughout the State, outdoor sports in particular being enjoyed by thousands. ... All business in Boston and adjacent cities was suspended. The entire State, in fact, observed the holiday.

  •  Nobody caught this, but (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JVolvo, nathguy, elwior, pdx kirk, Betty Pinson

    only two messengers were sent out from Boston. Dr. Prescott was a chance companion who just happened to be coming home late from sparking with his girl, and joined in raising the alarm. Good thing he did, as he was the only one who got through to Concord. Revere was captured by the British (and released once it was obviously too late to stop the alarm from spreading), and Dawes somehow managed to fall off his horse (presumably while trying to evade capture).

    It's all in Esther Forbes' book, the one Thom Hartmann referred to but couldn't remember the name of (or the author's name either). Paul Revere and the World He Lived In.

    If it's
    Not your body
    Then it's
    Not your choice
    AND it's
    None of your damn business!

    by TheOtherMaven on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:15:32 AM PDT

    •  don't forget Israel Bissel (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      teacherken, elwior

      who rode south

      Israel Bissell (1752-1823) was a post rider in Massachusetts  who alerted the American colonists of the British attack on April 19, 1775. He rode for four days and six hours covering the 345 miles from Watertown, Massachusetts to Philadelphia  along the Old Post Road, shouting "To arms, to arms, the war has begun," and carrying a message from General Joseph Palmer which was copied at each of his stops and redistributed:

         Wednesday morning near 10 of the clock - Watertown.
         To all the friends of American liberty be it known that this morning before break of day, a brigade, consisting of about 1,000 to 1,200 men landed at Phip's Farm at Cambridge and marched to Lexington, where they found a company of our colony militia in arms, upon whom they fired without any provocation and killed six men and wounded four others. By an express from Boston, we find another brigade are now upon their march from Boston supposed to be about 1,000. The Bearer, Israel Bissell, is charged to alarm the country quite to Connecticut and all persons are desired to furnish him with fresh horses as they may be needed. I have spoken with several persons who have seen the dead and wounded. Pray let the delegates from this colony to Connecticut see this.
         J. Palmer, one of the Committee of Safety.

      George Bush is Living proof of the axiom "Never send a boy to do a man's job" E -2.25 S -4.10

      by nathguy on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:46:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Israel Bissel would have gotten a lot more fame, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But it was Paul Revere's name that rhymed with:

         "Listen my children and you shall hear..."

        Perhaps another poem should have been written:

        "Listen my child, and you'll hear tell
          of the freedom ride of Israel Bissel..."

        "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

        by elwior on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 12:05:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Teach your students about LSD (0+ / 0-)

    Because today is also bicycle day, the anniversary of Dr. Albert Hoffman's first LSD trip. And many have argued, rightly or wrongly, that LSD is the greatest tool for peace ever discovered.

  •  Excellent diary (5+ / 0-)

    You're my favorite history teacher.

    Our colonial ancestors were not a trigger-happy bunch. As any colonial militia leader knew, it was difficult to get those farmers away from their work to drill and march on the enemy.  Their priorities were basic subsistence, raising enough crops and livestock to keep their families fed, housed and clothed.  A significant part of the hostilities against the colonists involved destroying their livelihood, burning crops, barns and homes, stealing livestock, etc.  

    The tradition of non-violence carried on for generations, even to WWI when the US military had to find ways to train recruits to overcome their aversion to killing others in combat.  

    Reluctance to take up arms against others unless absolutely necessary is an honorable thing. Its what keeps us a civil society and a strong democracy.

    "Private health insurers always manage to stay one step ahead of the sheriff." Sen. Sherrod Brown

    by Betty Pinson on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:42:45 AM PDT

  •  The Prophet Was Right... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Yea, verily, we're a violent culture...

    ...the rich maketh sure we are, verily though we all have much in common...

    "The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery."—Anais Nin

    by skeezixwolfnagle on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 08:58:39 AM PDT

  •  One of the most thought provoking diaries I've (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    frandor55, elwior, pdx kirk

    read in a long time.  Thanks Teacher Ken.

  •  Patriotism v. Nationalism. I am a patriot (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Barth, elwior

    because there is a country in the world where I am from that I love.  It is part of who I am, and it is how I define myself.  It detracts in no way from the country you are from, or the feelings you have that are as pure and noble about another place.

    Nationalism is an evil that says my country is better than yours, that excuses aggression, murder, theft and rape because we are the good guys visiting this horror on the bad guys.

    For some, today is Nationalist Day, indeed, every day is.

    They suck.

    •  Well said. And while we are at it.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ....can we find another name for the Department of Homeland Security.  I really cannot think of the United States as my "homeland."

      Important whining and Red Sox stuff at

      by Barth on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:59:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A beatiful song (0+ / 0-)

    in full free stream from the Rhapsody player:

    But more about surveillance versus speaking against war.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:17:16 AM PDT

  •  Your students are lucky to have you as a teacher (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Barth, elwior, pdx kirk

    Very well written. Thank you for this.

    "It's curtains for you! Lacy, gently wafting curtains..."

    by 3CPO on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 09:26:10 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for the great diary. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Barth, elwior, pdx kirk

    Today is my 24th wedding anniversary, and my husband and I have had disturbing events occur more times than we've wanted over the years. We celebrate love. And peace.

  •  The militia and anti-government types are (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    revolting against the very thing that the Founders created to protect us and our freedoms, namely the United States Constitution.  Elected officials and military personnel swear to protect and defend the Constitution and to uphold the laws that are created under the Constitution, as their fundamental and overriding duty.

    The Founders recognized that it wasn't merely the fact that some bad apples, like George III, had attained power and were enforcing laws that oppressed the colonies.  It was the constitution that they were living under that allowed and encouraged the tyrannical actions described in the Declaration, and the Declaration justifies the colonists' efforts to escape from that governmental system and create a better one.

    Their solution, after winning independence and trying the Articles of Confederation, was the U.S. Constitution.  It is ridiculous to suppose, as many Americans do, that the Second Amendment was intended by the Founders to permit armed resistance and rebellion against the very constitutional government that they had created to protect their freedom, in the event that a group of citizens disliked some of the laws or thought their taxes were too high.

  •  That would be William Dawes: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I own two Toyota Priuses. I'm still smug about it.

    by DtheO on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:24:11 AM PDT

  •  Embracing violence. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sjcyoung, elwior, pdx kirk

    Thanks for the great diary.  I'll have to limit my response, I have so much to say.  Over the last two weeks, because of what I have seen on dailykos, my primary issue for the country has changed.  I believe our poisoned atmosphere, to which many kossacks now contribute, makes domestic and foreign conflict inevitable.

    We have adopted the sneering tone of Limbaugh, the easy character assassinations of the tea-baggers.  It's as though we believe violence offers the crisp, clean solution to problems we have all seen in hundreds of movies.

    People before us have offered wisdom on these matters.  You don't have to become a pacifist to learn the psychology of non-violence, a psychology with the wisdom to honor the human part of every human being, that taps into a deep psychology to bring people out of error in an inclusive manner.  The power of non-violence rests on the basic assumption, one that has been proven beyond a doubt, that virtually every human is the same--same ability to be violent, same ability to be bigoted, same ability to embrace peace.  Human reactions spring overwhelmingly from circumstances rather than from distinctive characteristics of different people.  Given specific circumstances, almost all of us behave in specific ways.  Those with a stronger inner character become our heroes and leaders. Refusing to honor this truth lies behind the common mistake of dismissing non-violence as weak and ineffectual.  Violence begins when we rob another of his humanity, making him into a caricature of our own inner anger and fear.  There is another way--it has been shown to us.

    A word on racism.  I have been disturbed by the tone of the anti-racism diaries, and I have had trouble naming why.  Reading this diary, I reached a new clarity.

    Racism is fear of the other.  Race is one of the easiest indulgences in this fear, in that races are distinguishable by external traits, but the prejudice is no different than prejudice against liberals or socialists.  Too often, we confuse fighting racism with fighting only a specific manifestation.  It is wrong to hate Jews, some argue by implication, because the Jews are not really so bad.  It is wrong to hate blacks, because blacks have proven that they are better than we thought.  This often self-interested approach--ending racism against one's own particular group--implies that in some cases, prejudice is okay.  There is a high tolerance among kossacks for prejudice against teabaggers, Republicans, corporate CEO,', etc., as demonstrated by the heaps of scorn we take pleasure in heaping on them when their names arise.  Like any mob, we gather to agree that they are less than fully human.

    To accuse someone of racism without participating oneself in dehumanization of the other, one must think of the adversary as in error rather than as evil.  Otherwise, one is actively participating in fear of the other, in projecting one's own negative traits, and in dehumanizing.  The effect is to cause further polarization rather than healing.  The skillful way is to be inclusive, to understand that proving someone is evil offers no solution but that welcoming someone back to his full humanity does a service both to the other person and to oneself.

    A final word. It seems to me that most heated arguments on dkos today are motivated and shaped by a desire to prove another person wrong rather than by a desire to reach common ground.  Rather than inviting the other to see one's point of view, one insists that the other suffers from a character flaw.  If we have misunderstood the position of the other as more in error than we thought, we refuse to allow the other person to correct himself, but rather insist that the person really did mean the terrible thing he said.  I have a lot to say about this tendency, which I believe reflects an eagerness to embrace violence, a denial of the terrible suffering violence always brings.

    I refer anyone to my sig line.

    The problem after a war is the victor. He thinks he has just proved that war and violence will pay. Who will now teach him a lesson?

    by geomoo on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:31:03 AM PDT

  •  Patriotism (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Those in New England chose to draw a line.  In part, the nation we enjoy is a direct result of what they did, of the violence in which they participated.  If we honor this nation, we cannot avoid honoring them, including their violence.


    I believe that was a violence born of sacred honor.  I see it at least in part as reluctant but necessary violence.

    I'm not so sure about this.  I don't view the American Revolution as necessary, nor honorable, but

    I can offer no easy conclusions.  Insofar as people differ in experience and outlook, they will interpret things in radically different and seemingly contradictory manners.

    This is especially true the more time that passes by.  The further one projects honor back onto the past, the less certain one can be....

    I could give a flying crap about the political process. We're an entertainment company. --Glenn Beck

    by foxsucks81 on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 10:31:46 AM PDT

  •  asdf (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, foxsucks81, pdx kirk

    I will not glorify the events,

    Neither will I, but I will remember Baylee Almon and the others who's lives were stolen by hate.

    I will continue to support the SPLC and fight hate in the memory of those who lost their lives because of it.

    Well done. Tipped & Rec'd.

  •  As always, I think you capture it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    foxsucks81, pdx kirk

    Patriots Day in its real incarnation is not a celebration of violence but of courage and commitment to the cause of justice.  Your post is particularly welcome because I do not have the time to discuss this in any real detail and had to settle for this.  Having not read your post at the time, I did note that as a native of Massachusetts, my

    first exposure to the history of this country came from people with the same geographic roots. It is, perhaps, slightly different than the Francis Scott Key story of battles and Delaware crossings, as well as traitors and collaborators in New York City and slaveholders in Virginia.

    Important whining and Red Sox stuff at

    by Barth on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 11:40:17 AM PDT

  •  Nice, thought-provoking diary! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    As usual Ken!

    "We the People of the United States...." -U.S. Constitution

    by elwior on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 12:08:36 PM PDT

  •  Interesting. (0+ / 0-)

    I was raised and educated in California, ad never heard of Patriots' Day until I was stationed on the east coast.  Maybe it's more of a New England thing?

    My life is an open book, and I want a rewrite!

    by trumpeter on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 01:02:03 PM PDT

  •  Patriots answered the Alarm of April 19th (0+ / 0-)

    Historical records list the names of those who answered the Alarm of April 19th. The event wasn't initially known as the Revolutionary War. Although only a few actually fought on April 19th, every person who served answered the Alarm of April 19th according to the early records. In effect, this was the original name of the War of the Revolution.

    April 19th is more than just Patriots Day or a date on the calendar because of this history. Today's crazies justify their anti-government hatred on the Waco event.

    The rhetoric wouldn't be any different had the Waco event occurred on July 4th rather than April 19th.

    "All people are born alike - except Republicans and Democrats" - Groucho Marx

    by GrumpyOldGeek on Mon Apr 19, 2010 at 02:54:17 PM PDT

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