Leonard Peltier screwed up, folks. He participated in (along with Dino Butler and Bob Robideau) the execution-style killings of two defenseless/wounded men. And then he frigging lied about it. I mean, sure, that was a volatile time (1975) and place (Pine Ridge Indian Reservation) and all (atrocities committed on both sides) but, clearly, Peltier and his cohorts over-reacted, panicked, and eventually fled......................................................For those of you who don't know the narrative, two young F.B.I. agents (Jack Coler and Ronald Williams), in pursuit of a vehicle that they thought carried the fugitive, Jimmy Eagle, entered the Jumping Bull compound on the Pine Ridge Reservation. As they continued the pursuit, they met with a gauntlet/intensive gun-fire from a group of A.I.M. (American Indian Movement) activists. These agents were wounded immediately and, yes, because of this, were only able to return several rounds in return. At some point after this, Peltier, Butler, and Robideau approached the vehicles and, no doubt fearing that these men would live to tell their story, unloaded point-blank several rounds into their heads. They then, of course, fled and one of the great man-hunts of the 20th century occurred. Butler and Robideau were arrested and tried first (they were ultimately acquitted on grounds of self-defense). Peltier was ultimately extradited from Canada where he faced a separate trial. Not content to beat the rap simply on a self-defense plea, Peltier and his defense team instead put up a bunch of smoke-screens. Among them was the creation of a fictional character (the supposed real killer), Mr. X. Needless to say, the jury didn't buy it and Peltier was convicted of murder and sentenced to consecutive life terms in prison (life sucks, huh, Mr Peltier?).........................................................And like I said, folks, so, too, has this fellow lied and lied repeatedly. He claimed that this whole episode was part and parcel to a larger gun-fight between the F.B.I. and A.I.M.. Wrong!! It was an ambush. The other F.B.I. agents arrived on the scene significantly later. He initially said that he knew the identity of Mr. X - his refraining from naming him coming strictly out of honor. He now says he has no idea at all who the real Mr. X is - only that there is one. He claims that a group of innocent people (holed up in a house) were caught in the cross-fire in what was essentially an even-Steven battle. Wrong on both accounts. There were no people at all between the agents' vehicles and the bluff from which Peltier and company started raining bullets on them. And neither was it an even-Steven exchange. Inspection of the vehicles showed that 125 bullets had hit them (dozens more were probably fired and missed). It's also clear that the agents returned only limited fire (only a couple of bullets per man were missing from their rounds). I could go on but I won't. Hopefully, you've already gotten the message...........................................................Of course, none of these facts seem to matter to that legion of bleeding hearts, all apparently supporting this fellow - everybody from the actor, Robert Redford to the Reverend Jesse Jackson (yeah, the usual suspects). And you know what, I'm not necessarily opposed to giving Mr. Peltier a break, either. That was an extraordinarily tense period in which a lot of people (the F.B.I. included) over-reacted, lost their heads, etc.. My only point is that maybe Mr. Peltier needs to show some honor here and admit to what he did. As far as I'm concerned, there's clearly a statute of limitations on martyrdom - Mr. Peltier's running out many, many, MANY, "moons" ago.
Editor's Note: WILL "TAKE NO PRISONERS" HART brings a serious no nonsense moderate perspective to the rough and tumble of political debate. Will blogs regularly at Contra O'Reilly.