I Was Ready to Go to Prison for My Anti-War Beliefs.
May 24, 2016 9:59 AM   Subscribe

To protest the Vietnam War, I broke into a federal building. Half a century later, I finally got the chance to ask the judge why he made the shocking decision to let me walk.
posted by goatdog (23 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
 
Something in my eye. Must be allergies. Excuse me.
posted by nzero at 10:37 AM on May 24, 2016 [6 favorites]


nzero: yeah, a bit of that going around right now.
posted by el io at 10:41 AM on May 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


Agreed, this post should include a Pollen Alert.
posted by Lyme Drop at 10:56 AM on May 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


He was just lucky that the prosecutor didn't have twenty-seven 8×10 color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one.
posted by delfin at 11:02 AM on May 24, 2016 [32 favorites]


That's a great story. Now I'm wishing I could ask the notoriously hardass Long Beach draft board why they accepted my conscientious-objector application in 1970; I've always wondered about that...
posted by languagehat at 11:04 AM on May 24, 2016 [11 favorites]


Oh my, it is indeed dusty in here. That was lovely, thank you for sharing.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 11:07 AM on May 24, 2016


In a strange coincidence, they both attended the high school central to the book I'm currently reading: Every Man for Himself.
posted by joecacti at 11:21 AM on May 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm not crying, you're crying.
posted by corb at 11:33 AM on May 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


No I'm not. Now pardon me while I fake-sneeze.
posted by Lyme Drop at 11:34 AM on May 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Seriously, good thing I got a new box of tissues for my desk. Time to go mess with a spreadsheet to "clear my throat" as he noted. So nice to hear about an extraordinary Carriage of justice, instead of the commonly described mis-.
posted by ldthomps at 11:42 AM on May 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


Everyone in that story was touching. The father who stood beside him, the way the the author (and it sounds like the other protesters) walked the line between respect for the law and respect for their principles, the decency of the judge who followed the law while showing leniency. The best part for me is that he seems to really appreciate the difference that was made in his life on the day of sentencing and not take it lightly.
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 11:58 AM on May 24, 2016 [9 favorites]


I don't know what all this dust stuff is about, I'm crying about my emotions here
posted by Greg Nog at 12:06 PM on May 24, 2016 [30 favorites]


"I was disappointed when Curtin was assigned our case. He had a reputation as a liberal jurist. I didn’t want a liberal to hear our case. I wanted a villain, someone who, like the notorious Judge Julius Hoffman in the Chicago Seven trial, would embody all that was unjust and outrageous about the legal system."

I've met people who took on similar actions back then. Knowing what I know about them, I couldn't help but wonder if the author felt a twinge of disappointment at not going to jail. Great story, thanks for sharing this.
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 12:07 PM on May 24, 2016 [2 favorites]


He was just lucky that the prosecutor didn't have twenty-seven 8×10 color glossy pictures with circles and arrows and a paragraph on the back of each one.

I am laughing. Good one.
posted by ecorrocio at 12:51 PM on May 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


The things we had to think about then. The best of times, the worst of times, indeed.
posted by y2karl at 1:07 PM on May 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


A very touching story. A lot of things came to the surface back then; it was raw and intense sometimes. Is it just me, or do things seem to be mixed up in a curdled confusing mess these days? And back then actions were taken. What actions can one take now?
posted by kozad at 1:47 PM on May 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


I think that every time seems to be a curdled confusing mess when you are living in it.
posted by tivalasvegas at 3:29 PM on May 24, 2016 [3 favorites]


You can still break into buildings and burn things that are used for evil purposes!
posted by Greg Nog at 4:07 PM on May 24, 2016 [1 favorite]


You can still break into buildings and burn things that are used for evil purposes!

Indeed, you can even take a sledgehammer to the damn thing
posted by Homeskillet Freshy Fresh at 4:25 PM on May 24, 2016


I think that every time seems to be a curdled confusing mess when you are living in it.

Well, there was that whole possiblity of getting drafted and being sent to Viet Nam thing that was hanging over the head of every young man then. Or of being sent to prison for not going. Or moving to Canada. Those all put a bit of a damper on things future for us.
posted by y2karl at 4:29 PM on May 24, 2016


You can still break into buildings and burn things that are used for evil purposes!

Careful what buildings, or you might get convicted of the sabotage act. (And then have it reversed later)
posted by ctmf at 8:32 PM on May 24, 2016


I Was Ready to Go to Prison for My Anti-War Beliefs.

The question then becomes, did he continue doing the kinds of thing that got him arrested in the first place?

Interesting times, 60s/70s. The war was actually a campaign issue. These days- not so much.

Which is one argument for bringing back the draft.
posted by IndigoJones at 7:29 AM on May 25, 2016


Strong men also cry, Mr. Lebowski. Strong ... men ... cry.
posted by benzenedream at 11:53 AM on May 28, 2016


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