Sunday, December 30, 2012


Religion Clause: Swartzentruber Amish Group Moving From ... | Amish Denomination |

From today's New York Times:

Braced for Hardship, an Amish Clan Awaits Sentences in Shearing Attacks

Published: December 29, 2012

BERGHOLZ, Ohio — At their afternoon meeting in a bare farmhouse room, in a circle with infants on their laps and toddlers tugging at their skirts, the women of this breakaway Amish settlement have some most un-Amish matters to discuss.

Sixteen residents of Bergholz, Ohio, may face time in prison.

Who will make the weekly van ride to visit their nine menfolk in prison, awaiting sentencing for a series of beard- and hair-cutting attacks against other Amish last year? And who will mind all the children left motherless for the day?

Should the six mothers who were also convicted, but are home on bail, sign over legal guardianship of their combined 47 children to friends or relatives, in case both parents wind up in prison?

By kerosene light, the women pass around handwritten letters from their imprisoned bishop, Samuel Mullet Sr., offering reminders about farm chores and descriptions of prison food and chess games with his jailed sons.

The farmhouse yard bustles with giddy children’s play, but the air is burdened with a shared dread of what will happen on Feb. 8. On that day, a federal judge is scheduled to announce punishments for the assaults by Bergholz residents in the fall of 2011 that spread terror through the Amish of eastern Ohio and led federal prosecutors to file felony hate-crime charges, arguing that the victims were harmed for religious reasons. Sixteen residents of this insular community of 137 — 10 men, 1 of them out on bail, and 6 women — were convicted this fall.
“It’s getting scary,” said Elizabeth Miller, 38, as she cradled one of her 11 children. She and her husband, Lester Miller, took part in the assault on his parents in September 2011, shearing the father’s beard and the mother’s hair, both treasured symbols of Amish identity; he is among the men being held without bail.

The parents had condemned Mr. Mullet as a cult leader, but Mrs. Miller, her husband and several of his siblings and their spouses remained loyal to Mr. Mullet’s vision of a more “pure” Amish community. In courtroom testimony, one of the 12 attackers said they had considered the parents to be straying hypocrites who needed a lesson.

Now, preparing for prison even as she prays for leniency, Mrs. Miller has arranged for a cousin, Mary Mast, 47, to take care of her children, who range in age from 1 to 15.

Several years leading up to the assaults had been marked by feuds with outsiders and wrenching internal strife, culminating in the five separate attacks on Mr. Mullet’s Amish critics that brought calamity to the community.

With nine male breadwinners — half the married men — in federal prison, residents say they have pulled together as never before.
The hardships were eased by a $3 million payment for gas exploration rights on Mr. Mullet’s 700 acres, an offer that arrived, providentially, just as the leader and his followers faced financial ruin. Mr. Mullet used part of it to pay off his mortgage and those of his sons on adjacent land.

Martha Mullet, his wife of 46 years, was not charged with any crime and is managing the rest of the money. She has paid for the $250 van rides to the prison and doled out cash to families struggling without fathers — generosity that has bound together this community but also deepened the dependence of some.

“We are praying that God will send another miracle,” Mrs. Mullet, 64, said of the hope that the judge will give the men short sentences and the women probation.

The remaining men and their crews of teenage boys still earn money in construction and farming, and they hunt deer in the fall for meat.

While admitting that the attacks were a mistake, many church members and Mr. Mullet himself, who spoke in a two-hour interview at the Northeast Ohio Correctional Center in Youngstown, called the hate-crime charges overly harsh.

Prosecutors have described the clan’s unorthodox practices as signs of Mr. Mullet’s dictatorial domination. Those practices included earlier beard-cutting of men by their own wives for ogling “English” women at Walmart, the forcing of men to do penance for impure thoughts by making them sleep in chicken coops and Mr. Mullet’s decision to abolish formal church services as meaningless displays.

His followers say they accepted these acts to get closer to God. Shorn of their beards, the men were supposed to confront their sinful ways and redouble their faith.

Even now, Bergholz residents do not seem to fully understand how terrifying these practices were to outside Amish communities, who heard of brethren assaulted in their homes at night and humiliated with scissors, clippers and shears designed to trim horse manes.

Mr. Mullet, who was also accused in trial testimony of engaging in intimate sexual “counseling” of female followers, claimed he never had sex with them. He has been maligned by lurid rumors, he said, spread by Amish rivals who resented him for exposing their sins.

Because the convictions described the forcible restraint of the victims as kidnapping, Judge Dan Aaron Polster, of Federal District Court in Cleveland, will have unusually wide discretion in sentencing and could hand down anything from probation to life sentences, said Edward G. Bryan, Mr. Mullet’s lawyer. The prosecution has indicated that it will seek lengthy prison terms for at least several of the men.

Throughout the arrests, the trial and now the tense waiting, only one member of the group, a 19-year-old grandson of Mr. Mullet’s, has left Bergholz. The rest have vowed to stick together, following the vision that brought Mr. and Mrs. Mullet here nearly 18 years ago, and to stay removed from what they describe as rampant drinking, smoking, use of musical instruments, premarital sex and other sins of nearby Amish.

“No matter if he gets life in prison, he will still be our bishop here,” said Wilma Mullet, 30, one of Mr. Mullet’s daughters, who did not participate in the 2011 attacks.

Mr. Mullet’s stature was clear on Thanksgiving Day, when he conducted the marriage service for his youngest daughter, Lizzie, and Ferdinand Miller, whose father is also being held. Mr. Mullet presided from behind glass in a prison visitor room, reciting vows and prayers via telephone as nearly 20 Bergholz residents stood behind the couple on the other side, then returned to their settlement for a bittersweet celebratory dinner.

Mrs. Mullet sat stoically through the September trial of her husband, three sons and 12 other church members.

But in Bergholz last week, she burst into tears as she bemoaned the upheaval and what she sees as the unfair severity of the prosecutions.

“We’re not denying that we did wrong,” she said, “but it should never have been classified as a hate crime.” Her sons felt they had a reason for the attacks, she added, “because of the way our community was being treated.”

“They can go on with their lives,” Mrs. Mullet said of the shearing victims. “Their hair and beards will grow back.”

“But they don’t want our families to have any lives at all,” she said.

In the prison interview, Mr. Mullet, 67, in a yellow jumpsuit, complained of the conditions in the section of the Youngstown prison reserved for those awaiting sentencing. He said inmates are locked up several times a day in 6-by-12-foot cells that were built for two people but now have a third bunk on the wall and an open toilet with no privacy.

The men have kept their beards and mostly keep to themselves, Mr. Mullet said, but they do not pray together. “How do you live an Amish life with 100 inmates screaming and cussing?” he said.

By all accounts, Mr. Mullet did not participate in the attacks, but he was convicted as a co-conspirator. He sought to play down the strength of his authority.

After learning of the first attack, he recalled, “I said, ‘If you’re going to do something like that, leave me out of it.’ ”

“I guess I didn’t want my beard cut off, and that probably would have happened if I had tried to stop them,” he said. “The only thing I did wrong was that I didn’t tell them to stop.”

But this month, Judge Polster, as he denied Mr. Mullet’s request for a new trial, said the jury had good reason to place Mr. Mullet at the heart of the conspiracy.

“Suffice it to say, the evidence at trial conclusively established that defendant, as bishop of Bergholz, ran his community with an iron fist,” the judge wrote in a ruling on Dec. 6. “Nothing of significance happened without his knowledge and approval.”

Sam Mullet

Thursday, December 27, 2012


While spending some time on the road this past year, I noted that many of the 53 foot semi-trailers had skirts.

My first thought was aerodynamics, and indeed that is the reasoning behind this realatively simple design concept.  There are several companies that market the skirts, such as the Duraplate Aeroskirt and the Trailer Blade by Strehl.  There is an approximate savings of 7.5% on fuel costs, and with  diesel now at around $3.50 a gallon, it would seem that the skirts would be a wise investment with the added benefit of reducing total emmisions.  Several carriers have outfitted 100% of their trailers with this simple yet effective device.  One possible drawback might be an increased possibility of a blow-over since strong cross winds cannot easily pass under the trailer.

Strehl Trailer Blades

Monday, December 24, 2012


Although it is still Heiligabend here in Colorado, I thought I would send along a Christmas Greeting to One and All.




It was just a .22 revolver.  Found while snooping around grandma's place - she probably didn't even remember that she had it.  Flashing the gun should show all the people who hand out the insults that this means business.  Grandpa said never pull a gun unless you intend to use it.  The dude was 6'8" and was handing out the challenges.  Flashing the gun did not slow him down.  So the gun was pulled and used.  Who knew that the victim was Ben Wilson, the number one high school basketball player in the country who had promise equal to or greater than Michael Jordan.  Besides, with even the basic trauma care at the local hospital, Wilson would not have died.  But he did.

I just happened to catch ESPN's 30 for 30 Special on Wilson - Benjy and I recommend it for anyone interested in basketball and gun violence.  Some words from the directors of the special can be read here.  Several things struck me - after Ben died, there was a great outpouring of emotion and concern about black kids killing black kids, the call for more strict gun control laws with thousands of signatories, and talk of Wilson's death being a turning point in Chicago violence.  That was 1984, and I would venture to say that next to nothing has changed.  About the only positive change was that the city of Chicago no longer mandates that shooting victims be transported to the nearest hospital regardless of whether or not it has a trauma unit or trauma surgeons on call.  No doubt many lives have been saved because of this change in policy.  However, the underlying problem remains the same - this country does not have a gun problem, it has a killing problem.  Without a doubt, the widespread availability of firearms makes it much easier to kill, which increases the number of deaths.  There is a culture of killing that runs the gamut from gangs to warmongers. 

Ben wore jersey number 25, and several other players have worn that number in Wilson's honor.  From the Wiki entry linked above - Wilson's friend and Simeon teammate, former NBA and University of Illinois player Nick Anderson, wore jersey number 25 during his career in Wilson's honor. Juwan Howard wore 25 at the University of Michigan as a tribute to Wilson. Current Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose, who graduated from Simeon Career Academy in 2007, wore number 25, and the team won the state championship in 2006 and 2007. Simeon basketball player Jabari Parker [who just committed to Duke] had the number 25 stitched into the team sneakers during his time at Simeon.

Interestingly one of Wilson's teammates at Simeon was R. Kelly.  


Saturday, December 22, 2012


If you clicked on the picture, you probably have an idea where this is going....

** Fulfilled a civic duty this week.  I doubt that very many people are overjoyed when they receive the Summons for Jury Duty, but it really is a part of what makes this country work.  Boulder has a one-day, one-trial system, and the single trial of the day was an alleged 3rd degree assault that occurred within the Boulder County Jailhouse.  So immediately there was some eye-rolling among the 20-or-so prospective jurors.  I made the random call of twelve, six of which were seated which included yours truly.  Although there was a video and testimony from the accuser and the reporting police officer, we all agreed that there was reasonable doubt that the attack was carried out by the defendant.  Acquittal.  The certificate of appreciation that we received states:

"...trial by jury is more than an instrument of justice
and more than one wheel of the constitution:
it is the lamp that shows that freedom lives..."
Duncan v. Louisiana

**  The End of the World came and went, and entirely unsurprisingly, we are all still here.  Of course for many it was indeed the last day on this earth, but for even more, it was their first day.  Having a 12-21-12 birthday should be fun for those folks - born on the day the earth was to end.

**  Another week, another mass murder - I cannot add anything to what has already been said.  However, read the Second Amendment to the US Constitution folks, you know, the part about gun ownership being tied to a well regulated militia.

**  The University of Colorado hired yet another head football coach, and now will be paying one current and two former head coaches.  I will save my rant for another day, but for a reminder about the hiring of the previous coach, John Embree, go read this previous post.

**  The Broncos and CU basketball are all on a roll.  Nuggets somewhat.  Pepperdine - not so much.

**  Trail running is one of the greatest outdoor activities.

**  The Hop Diggity at the Wild Mountain Smokehouse in Nederland is a great brew!  Right up there with Modus Hoperandi from Ska in Durango

**  And here is a song that most of you have never heard of, but was one of my favorites from a long, long time ago.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


Saturday Has Been Cancelled


In catching up with some of the happenings of the past couple of months, I noted the passing of Andy Williams.  His career was given a tremendous boost, if not indeed launched, by the song Moon River.  However, of all of his songs, my favorite is Canadian Sunset.  

Words and Music by Norman Gimbel and Eddie Heywood

Peak Billboard position # 7 in 1956

Competing version by writer Heywood and Hugo Winterhalter hit # 2

Once I was alone
So lonely and then
You came, out of nowhere
Like the sun up from the hills

Cold, cold was the wind
Warm, warm were your lips
Out there, on that ski trail
Where your kiss filled me with thrills

A weekend in Canada, a change of scene
Was the most I bargained for
And then I discovered you and in your eyes
I found the love that I couldn't ignore

Down, down came the sun
Fast, fast, fast, beat my heart
I knew when the sun set
From that day, we'd never ever part

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Indiana's Health Ranking
H/T to Cousin Steve
From Gawker:  "The big news for 2011 is that Tennessee has moved from the list of the most obese down to the list of "almost the most obese," while Indiana has soared to great new lows, taking Tennessee's place on the list of the fat shamed."
Good News Bad News - Colorado remains the slimmest amongst the 50 states, but its obesity rate of nearly 20% would have made it the fattest state a couple of dozen years ago.
Your Guide to FatLandia
Map of 2011 Fattest States

Monday, December 17, 2012


As I became acquainted with the Pepperdine students in this year's Heidelberg program, I was struck with a resemblance.  Pepperdine Student Matt Hall and Denver Nuggets Player Danilo Gallinari.  Agreed??


Friday, December 14, 2012


Back in Boulder for the Christmas-New Year break between semesters, and decided to make a few random observations regarding being back in the USA vis à vis Deutschland:

     1.  Plus-sized people.  This was apparent as early as the boarding area for the Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt to Denver.  XXL and beyond is quite uncommon in Heidelberg.
     2.  Clear skies and sunshine!  Fairly uncommon in Heidelberg this fall which is noticeable when one is used to 300+ days of sunshine per year.
     3.  Far fewer smokers.  US Males = 26.3%  US Females = 21.5%  German Males = 37.4%  German Females = 25.8%  And what is very noticeable is the preponderance of young smokers in Germany.
     4.  Shorter people.  Far fewer men over 6'6" and women over 6'0" - I have no data, but there sure are a lot of tall folks in Heidelberg.
     5.  SUV's and big trucks.  Rare in Heidelberg
     6.  Good Mexican, Tex-Mex and Southwest Cuisine!  Sketchy in Deutschland.
     7.  Boulder is less ethnically diverse than Heidelberg.
     8.  An abundance and nice variety of excellent beer on tap at most restaurants and tasting rooms.  A typical German pub/restaurant will have 3 or 4 on tap.
     9.  Far fewer bicylclists and walkers even though Boulder is a biking town.
   10.  I prefer being in GMT -7 versus GMT +1
   11.  Go Broncos and Nuggets!!  [Avs too if they ever get past the lockout]

Sunday, December 09, 2012


For Javi

Ghost Bikes are small and somber memorials for bicyclists who are killed or hit on the street. A bicycle is painted all white and locked to a street sign near the crash site, accompanied by a small plaque. They serve as reminders of the tragedy that took place on an otherwise anonymous street corner, and as quiet statements in support of cyclists' right to safe travel.  (

Ghost Bike 4

Ghost Bike 5

In addition to the Ghost Bikes, Memorial Rides are also common.

Saturday, December 08, 2012


On December 1, I posted Faces of American Dead in Vietnam: One Week's Toll.  Now both the New York Times and the Washington Post have similar graphics for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.   The New York Times interactive graphic is entitled Faces of the Dead and chronologically identifies each service member who had died in Afghanistan or Iraq.  The Washington Post  graphic is called Faces of the Fallen and has other data in addition to the pictures.  The Post notes that 6,612 U.S. service members have died in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.  The Post information is updated at least weekly.


Friday, December 07, 2012


As the years go by, fewer and fewer folks remember December 7th as "a date which will live in infamy."

December 7, 1941, a Date Which will Live in Infamy    

Thursday, December 06, 2012


December 6th has long been a special day because it is the birth day of our daughter.  However, I learned that it is also a special day for many folks, particularly in Germany, because it is Saint Nicholas Day.

You can read about Saint Nicholas here and here, but the Saint Nicholas Center website is completely dedicated to Nicholas and Saint Nicholas Day.  Here are a couple of snippets from the site:
The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to the those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.
Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day, December 6th (December 19 on the Julian Calendar).

In Roman Catholic areas of southern Germany, such as Bavaria, Sankt Nikolaus still comes as a bishop with flowing beard and a bishop's miter and staff. Houses are thoroughly cleaned and children clean and polish their shoes or boots in preparation for the saint's visit. On the evening before St. Nicholas Day, children put letters to the good saint along with carrots or other food for his white horse or donkey on a plate or in their shoes. These are left outside, under the bed, beside a radiator, or on a windowsill in hopes of finding goodies from St. Nicholas the next morning. During the night Sankt Nikolaus goes from house to house carrying a book in which all the children's deeds are written. If they have been good, he fills their plate, shoe or boot with delicious fruits, nuts and candies. If not, they may find potatoes, coal, or twigs.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012


If you are not amused by The Big Bang Theory, you may not be amused by these bloopers.  For me - actually laughed out loud a few times.....and there are many more on YouTube.

Monday, December 03, 2012


You can read all about the Heidelberg Castle here and here, and see nice pictures here, but what follows are pictures that I took which means that when you click on them, you will see enlarged versions with nice details.  The Pepperdine house is only a couple of blocks from the castle with an address of Graimbergweg 10, and you can read about Graimberg here.

Saturday, December 01, 2012


The following is taken from the Life Magazine website. When I was looking for the Life cover of the Kent State shootings, it brought back vivid memories of this particular issue of Life. I still have a copy in a storage box in the garage. I highly recommend clicking here to visit the website and page through the pictures of 101 of  the 242 military service personnel who died that week.

In June 1969, LIFE magazine published a feature that today, incredibly, remains as moving and, in some quarters, as controversial as it was when it sparked debate and intensified a nation’s soul-searching more than 40 years ago. On the cover, a young man’s face — the very model of middle-America’s “boy next door” — along with 11 stark words: “The Faces of the American Dead in Vietnam: One Week’s Toll.” Inside, across 10 funereal pages, LIFE published picture after picture and name after name of 242 young men killed halfway around the world — in the words of the official announcement of their deaths — “in connection with the conflict in Vietnam.”
Vietnam, One Week's Dead, LIFE magazine cover, 1969
Michael C. Volheim, 20, Army, SP4, Hayward, Calif.

LIFE, June 27, 1969

To absolutely no one’s surprise, the public’s response was immediate, and visceral. Some readers expressed amazement, in light of the thousands of American deaths suffered in a war with no end in sight, that it took so long for LIFE to produce something as dramatic and pointed as “One Week’s Toll.” Others were outraged that the magazine was, as one reader saw it, “supporting the antiwar demonstrators who are traitors to this country.” Still others — perhaps the vast majority — were quietly and disconsolately devastated. (See reader’s responses at the bottom of this page.)

Here, four decades after the last American combat troops left Vietnam — and as the United States once again fights a protracted, ambiguous war with a shadowy enemy on the other side of the globe — is republishing every picture and every name that originally appeared in (as the article itself was titled) “One Week’s Dead.”

Below is the text, in full, that not only accompanied portraits of those killed, but also explained why LIFE chose to publish “One Week’s Dead” when — and in the manner — it did.

From the June 27, 1969, issue of LIFE:

The faces shown on the next pages are the faces of American men killed — in the words of the official announcement of their deaths — “in connection with the conflict in Vietnam.” The names, 242, of them, were released on May 28 through June 3 [1969], a span of no special significance except that it includes Memorial Day. The numbers of the dead are average for any seven-day period during this stage of the war.

It is not the intention of this article to speak for the dead. We cannot tell with any precision what they thought of the political currents which drew them across the world. From the letters of some, it is possible to tell they felt strongly that they should be in Vietnam, that they had great sympathy for the Vietnamese people and were appalled at their enormous suffering. Some had voluntarily extended theirs tours of combat duty; some were desperate to come home. Their families provided most of these photographs, and many expressed their own feelings that their sons and husbands died in a necessary cause. Yet in a time when the numbers of Americans killed this war — 36,000 — though far less than the Vietnamese losses, have exceeded the dead in the Korean War, when the nation continues week after week to be numbed by a three-digit statistic which is translated to direct anguish in hundreds of homes all over the country, we must pause to look into the faces. More than we must know how many, we must know who. The faces of one week’s dead,unknown but families and friends, are suddenly recognized by all in this gallery of young American eyes.

Below is the text, in full, from the last page of the “One Week’s Dead” feature in LIFE:

‘I see death coming up the hill’
On the back of a picture he sent home shortly before his death near Saigon, Sgt. William Anderson, 18, of Templeton, Pa., jotted a wry note: “Plain of Reeds, May 12, 1969. Here’s a picture of a 2-star general awarding me my Silver Star. I didn’t do anything. They just had some extra ones.” His family has a few other recent photographs of the boy, including one showing him this past February helping to put a beam into place on his town’s new church. His was the first military funeral held there.
Such fragments on film, in letters, in clippings and in recollection comprise the legacies of virtually every man show in these pages. To study the smallest portion of them, even without reference to their names, is to glimpse the scope of a much broader tragedy. Writing his family just before the time he was scheduled to return to the U.S., a California man said, “I could be standing on the doorstep on the 8th [of June]…As you can see from my shaky printing, the strain of getting ‘short’ is getting to me, so I’ll close now.” The ironies and sad coincidences of time hang everywhere.

One Pfc. from the 101st Airborne was killed on his 21st birthday. A waiting bride had just bought her own wedding ring. A mother got flowers ordered by her son and then learned he had died the day they arrived. A Texan had just signed up for a second two-year tour of duty when he was killed, and his ROTC instructor back home remembered with great affection that the boy, a flag-bearer, had stumbled a lot. In the state of Oregon a solider was buried in a grave shared by the body of his brother, who had died in Vietnam two years earlier. A lieutenant was killed serving the battalion his father had commanded two years ago. A man from Colorado noted in his last letter that the Marines preferred captured North Vietnamese mortars to their own because they were lighter and much more accurate. At four that afternoon he as killed by enemy mortar fire.

Premonitions gripped many of the men. One wrote, “I have given my life as have many others for a cause in which I firmly believe.” Another, writing from Hamburger Hill, said, “You may not be able to read this. I am writing it in a hurry. I see death coming up the hill.” One more, who had come home on leave from Vietnam in January and had told his father he did not want to go back and was considering going AWOL, wrote last month, “Everyone’s dying, they’re all ripped apart. Dad, there’s no one left.” “I wish now I had told him to jump,” the boy’s father recalled. “I wish I had, but I couldn’t.”

Such despair was not everywhere. A lieutenant, a Notre Dame graduate, wrote home in some mild annoyance that he had not been given command of a company. (“I would have jumped at the chance but there are too many Capts. floating around”) and then reported with a certain pleasure that he was looking forward to his new assignment, which was leader of a reconnaissance platoon. In an entirely cheerful letter to his mother a young man from Georgia wrote, “I guess by now you are having some nice weather. Do you have tomatoes in the garden? ‘A’ Co. found an NVA farm two days ago with bananas, tomatoes and corn. This is real good land here. You can see why the North wants it.”

There is a catalogue of fact for every face. One boy had customized his 13-year-old car and planned to buy a ranch. Another man, a combat veteran of the Korean War, leaves seven children. A third had been an organist in his church and wanted to be a singer. One had been sending his pay home to contribute to his brother’s college expenses. The mother of one of the dead, whose son was the third of four to serve in the Army, insists with deep pride, “We are a patriotic family willing to pay that price.” An aunt who had raised her nephew said of him, “He was really and truly a conscientious objector. He told me it was a terrible thought going into the Army and winding up in Vietnam and shooting people who hadn’t done anything to him…such a waste. Such a shame.”

Every photograph, every face carriers its own simple and powerful message. The inscription on one boy’s picture to his girl reads:

To Miss Shirley Nash
We shall let no Love come between Love.
Only peace and happiness from Heaven Above.
Love always.

Perpetually yours,

Below are some of the reactions from readers that were published in the August 18, 1969, issue of LIFE — in which the entire Letters section of the magazine was given over to responses to “One Week’s Dead”:

Your story was the most eloquent and meaningful statement on the wastefulness and stupidity of war I have ever read. — From a reader in California

Certainly these tragic young men were far superior to the foreign policy they were called upon to defend. — From a U.S. Marine Corps Captain (resigned)

I feel you are supporting the antiwar demonstrators who are traitors to this country. You are helping them and therefore belong to this group. — From a reader in Texas

I cried for those Southern black soldiers. What did they die for? Tar paper shacks, malnutrition, unemployment and degradation? — From a reader in Ohio

While looking at the photographs I was shocked to see the smiling face of someone I used to know. He was only 19 years old. I guess I never realized that 19-year-olds have to die. — From a reader in Georgia

I felt I was staring into the eyes of the 11 troopers from my platoon who were killed while fighting for a cause they couldn’t understand — From a Marine second lieutenant in New Jersey who had commanded a rifle platoon in Vietnam

Thursday, November 29, 2012


Guest Commentary by | November 27, 2012

In Memoriam: Lawrence Guyot

Lawrence Guyot
By Alan Bean
I first learned about Lawrence Guyot from reading Taylor Branch’s celebrated Trilogy on the King Years. His name came up again when I researched the background of the Curtis Flowers story.
Readers of this blog will know that Guyot, Fannie Lou Hamer and several other civil rights activists were beaten within an inch of their lives by men under the command of Sheriff Earl Wayne Patridge at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Winona, Mississippi in June of 1963. Three decades later, Mr. Flowers was arrested on the basis of fabricated evidence for the 1996 slaying of four people at a Winona furniture store.
A little over a year ago, I had the chance to meet the man in the flesh when he spoke at an event in Cleveland, MS sponsored by the Samuel Procter Oral History Program at the University of Florida. The civil rights icon seemed more interested in telling the students what they needed to do in the present moment than he was in sharing tidbits of civil rights nostalgia. This September, my wife Nancy and I shared our story with the Florida students
This New York Times story captures the essence of Guyot’s amazing saga. There was nothing unusual about the man. He was not particularly eloquent or brilliant; he just refused to back down in the face of injustice. Without Lawrence Guyot’s brand of anonymous courage, the civil rights movement could not have succeeded.

Lawrence Guyot, Civil Rights Activist Who Bore the Fight’s Scars, Dies at 73

Published: November 26, 2012
Lawrence Guyot, who in the early 1960s endured savage beatings as a young civil rights worker in Mississippi fighting laws and practices that kept blacks from registering to vote, died Thursday at his home in Mount Rainier, Md. He was 73.
His daughter, Julie Guyot-Diangone, confirmed his death, which she said came after Mr. Guyot had suffered several heart attacks, lost a kidney and became diabetic.
Mr. Guyot (GHEE-ott) was repeatedly challenged, jailed and beaten as he helped lead fellow members of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and student volunteers from around the nation in organizing Mississippi blacks to vote. In many of the state’s counties, no blacks were registered
He further pressed the campaign for greater black participation in politics by serving as chairman of the integrated Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, formed to supplant the all-white state Democratic Party. It lost its challenge to the established Mississippi party at the Democratic National Convention in 1964, but its efforts are seen as paving the way for the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Lawrence Guyot displays the wounds inflicted in a Winona prison cell
A famous moment in the civil rights movement occurred after Fannie Lou Hamer and two other civil rights workers were arrested for entering an area of a bus station reserved for whites in Winona, Miss., in June 1963. Mr. Guyot went to Winona to bail them out of jail. When he asked questions about their rough treatment, nine police officers beat him with the butts of guns, made him strip naked and threatened to burn his genitals. The abuse went on for four hours until a doctor advised the officers to stop.
Mr. Guyot was taken to a cell and beaten some more. The cell door was left open to the outside, with a knife lying just beyond. The guards’ apparent idea was to entice him to try to escape, but he saw two men lurking outside and stayed in his cell. “I didn’t fall for that one,” he is quoted as saying in “My Soul Is Rested: The Story of the Civil Rights Movement in the Deep South” (1977), by Howell Raines.
Mr. Guyot was released after Medgar Evers, another civil rights activist, was assassinated in Jackson, Miss., on June 12. Mr. Guyot thought that the authorities feared the effects of another assassination of a civil rights worker when national attention was focused on Mississippi.
Later in 1963, Mr. Guyot was imprisoned at the infamous Mississippi penitentiary Parchman Farm. He was beaten, and went on a 17-day hunger strike. He lost 100 pounds. “It was a question of defiance,” he said in an interview with NPR in 2011. “We were not going to let them have complete control over us.”
In a recent interview with The Afro-American Newspapers, Timothy Jenkins, an educator who worked with Mr. Guyot in the 1960s said: “He is significant because he knew there is a price more ultimate than death. It is disgrace.”
Lawrence Thomas Guyot Jr. was born in Pass Christian, Miss., on July 17, 1939. His father was a contractor. Mr. Guyot attended Tougaloo College in Tougaloo, Miss., a historically black college that had some white faculty members and welcomed white students. He graduated with a degree in chemistry and biology in 1963.
While in college, he became involved with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and traveled around the state conducting civil rights workshops and doing other organizing. He and his colleagues concentrated on voter registration, not desegregation. When he took someone to the courthouse to register, he was often followed by two cars of whites.
Mr. Guyot was haunted by a 1964 conversation he had with Michael Schwerner, the civil rights worker who would be murdered that year along with his fellow workers Andrew Goodman and James Chaney. As Mr. Schwerner was preparing to drive to Mississippi from a training session in Ohio, he asked Mr. Guyot if it was safe to go. Mr. Guyot said yes, and always felt responsible for what happened later.
“I told him to go because I thought there was so much publicity that nothing could happen,” Mr. Guyot said in an interview with The Sun Herald of Biloxi, Miss. “I was absolutely wrong.”
In 1968, while in Chicago as a delegate to the Democratic convention, Mr. Guyot went to a doctor after falling ill. The doctor told him that he had heart trouble and was overweight, and that if he went back to the civil rights struggle in Mississippi he had perhaps two months to live. Instead he went to Rutgers School of Law and, after graduating in 1971, moved to Washington, where he did legal work for city agencies and was an informal adviser to Mayor Marion Barry, a fellow native Mississippian.
In addition to his daughter, Mr. Guyot is survived by his wife of 47 years, the former Monica Klein; his son, Lawrence III; and four grandchildren.
Mr. Guyot favored same-sex marriage when it was illegal everywhere in the United States, noting that he had married a white woman when that was illegal in some states. He often gave inspirational speeches on the meaning of the civil rights movement.
“There is nothing like having risked your life with people over something immensely important to you,” he said in 2004. “As Churchill said, there’s nothing more exhilarating than to have been shot at — and missed.”
Some of you readers, like me, were teenagers and college students during these times, and thus will remember well the names and events of the civil rights and anti-war movements.  Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman, the Life Magzine cover photo of Kent State, and myriad other images are etched into our minds.