In His Words Final Thoughts

The following text close Glenn's book, Anatomy of a Tragedy. His words are both poignant and precient.


In one of the discussion groups I listened to some of the "old radicals" of the 1960’s and 1970’s share their "parental experiences" and advice with the "young idealistic radicals" of the 1980's and 1990’s and I was struck with a thought that almost made me laugh out loud. These "radicals" were talking about the same ideals that should form the foundation of a healthy democratic society. Concern for the hungry; the homeless; the feminist movement; minorities; control over one’s own body; the committing of atrocities against individuals here and abroad and other topics were all discussed or mentioned. I knew I was in trouble in this "radical hot-bed" when they started to make sense. Yes, the words and ideas of the far left came up occasionally; Marx, revolt, Communism and street action, but the vast majority showed sincere concern for their fellow men and women on a global basis. Unthinkable thoughts went through my mind. Can America afford to accommodate the poor and the homeless and still maintain the industrial-military complex that "protects our democracy?" It seems to me that if these are incompatible, then democracy will surely fail. I am in favor of a strong American democratic society, but am I naive in thinking it should not be at the continued expense of the people? I think the government would be well advised to take the best ideals, from what ever their origin, in order to make a strong, fair and healthy society, and then I immediately wondered if this would be a threat to the democratic system as we now seem to practice it. We may all think reasonably, but we don’t all have the same mission, nor the same method to achieve "our mission."

At one point I questioned the completion of this entire book because the "seeking of the truth” of a specific moment in history pales into insignificance as I contemplate the crucial questions that need to be addressed and the directions our elected leaders will take in the future.

I got the distinct impression from some self-proclaimed radicals of the 60’s and 70’s that they were responsible for demonstrations and disruptive acts that led to the burning of the ROTC building and they seemed almost pleased that the reason for various acts was motivated by moral and ethical considerations. I also got the same impression from self-proclaimed conservatives and law enforcement and university officials that this radical movement was not only disruptive, but subversive as well, and that any response was appropriate, including, but not restricted to undercover agents, inciting radicals to commit acts that would subject them to arrest, sting operations and bogus rumors. This"law and order” perception was also motivated by perceived moral and ethical considerations.

Both sides seem equally outraged at the attitudes, acts and responses of the other. One thing that bothers me, however, is that the radical side is primarily "up front and open" about their concerns and acts, while the conservative side is primarily "secret and deceptive" concerning their acts and yet, the public seems to have exactly the opposite perception about who is breaking the law of the land,

I met so many delightful people during the entire week from April 30 to May 6, 1990 and we shared happy thoughts that could not be crushed by this tragedy. People who were yet unborn in 1970, people who were intimately involved on both extremes, people who reported, researched, and thought about the events, people from other states and nations, parents of the dead and wounded, all drawn together to remember and reflect. Were these all seditious anti-American radicals? Quite the contrary! I heard more sincere concern for Americas’ future coming from the minds of these people than from the rhetoric emanating from the staunch defenders of democracy coming out of Washington, DC. If treason is defined as "demanding that leaders in America follow the tenants of our proclaimed democratic principles," then place my name on the list.



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