by Rupert Huse
For the second year in a row the Oregon Country Fair (July 12-14, 2013 near Eugene) has chosen to have Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn as guest speakers at the Fair. For those that don’t know, Ayers and Dohrn were leaders in the Weathermen, a group involved with numerous bombings around the US.
Their most notorious bombing is the one that didn’t go off as planned. That bomb was being made by Bill Ayers girlfriend at the time, along with others, in an expensive townhouse off Fifth Avenue in the Greenwich Village area of Manhattan. The bombs being made in the basement of that townhouse blew up prematurely, leveling the building.
I grew up on Bleecker Street in NYC, a few blocks away from where the Weathermen blew up their townhouse. The shrapnel bombs they were making were planned for detonation at an officer’s dance in New Jersey. I am one of those who can remember events from my single digit days often with vivid clarity. I was the same age as some of those possibly attending fare for the first time this year when my mother took me to see the destruction. I remember when that building blew up. I remember seeing the steam from the fireman’s hoses coming off the beams and rubble. I remember asking my mother what had happened.
Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn did not blow up that building, but they were leaders of the group that did. Just as bin Ladin never flew a plane, and Manson never set foot in Sharon Tate’s home, as leaders they are responsible. Ayers and Dohrn have never forsworn their actions regarding Weathermen activities, or the intended use of those bombs their cohorts were making in that expensive townhouse. That use was to go kill a bunch of non-commissioned officers and their dates at a dance at Fort Dix New Jersey. Aside from that, Ayers was directly involved in numerous other bombings and the only reason nobody was killed was blind luck. The only reason Ayers wasn’t prosecuted was not that he didn’t do these things, but that law enforcement had used questionable tactics in building the case against him. The fact that he did these things is not in question by anyone.
Ayers and Dohrn now explain away their activities as extreme vandalism. That’s not how they described things then. Back then Dorn read the statement of the Weathermen, announcing they were at war with the US. They then went on to perform numerous war-like acts, including other bombings. Now that it is convenient, they wish those acts to be seen as little more than a teenager with a can of spray paint.
It sends an absolutely deplorable message to the community at large, and especially young fair goers to invite someone whose main audience draw is the salaciousness of having been a bomber.
The idea that excusing this sort of activity is of no consequence is ridiculous. I saw that townhouse blown up as a child, a ten minute walk from my house. When I lived in Junction City, I got to walk down the street with my baby son and see the car dealership blown up by environmental terrorists as well. I am sick of these people being romanticized.