Actions have consequences
December 17, 2013 by Thomas Wictor
It’s my new obsession: actions have consequences. Always be aware that what you do today may haunt you for the rest of your life.
The proudly communist, rabidly anti-gun, pathologically Republican-hating, completely dead loser who attacked Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado, on Friday 13, 2013, was a huge fan of the The Anarchist Cookbook, the Bible of violent maniacs all over the planet. I’ve never read the book, but apparently it’s full of rationalizations for mayhem.
And now the author, William Powell, regrets having written the book and wants its publication discontinued.
Sorry, William. It’s too late for that. Even if Delta Press ceased publishing tomorrow—and publisher Billy Blann is adamant that he’ll never stop printing copies—the Cookbook horse left the barn long ago. It’ll never become unavailable. Besides, the First Amendment prohibits the government from banning it. Like it or not, William, your masterwork will continue to be around in perpetuity.
Is William Powell responsible for the actions of the murderous, definitely deceased loser in Colorado? No. But Powell’s words clearly influence murderous losers.
If the real people of America, the silent majority, are going to survive, they must educate themselves. That is the purpose of this book.
Powell rationalized his book as self-defense. All terrorists do that. When al-Shabaab attacked the Westgate Mall in Nairobi on September 21, 2013, they shouted, “We are here to kill you for killing our women in Somalia!”
In reality, Kenya invaded Somalia to stop unprovoked al-Shabaab terrorism and kidnappings in Kenya. As a terrorist organization whose goal is to force the world to submit to Islam, al-Shabaab necessarily has to lie about its motivations. I’m sure they believe their own lies.
Similarly, William Powell distorts history in order to justify writing The Anarchist Cookbook.
At the time, I was 19 years old and the Vietnam War and the so-called “counter culture movement” were at their height. I was involved in the anti-war movement and attended numerous peace rallies and demonstrations. The book, in many respects, was a misguided product of my adolescent anger at the prospect of being drafted and sent to Vietnam to fight in a war that I did not believe in.
Well, only 25 percent of service members sent to Vietnam were draftees. Powell could also have applied for conscientious objector status. Or he could’ve enlisted in a branch of the service that greatly lessened his chances of being sent to Vietnam as a foot soldier. His practical knowledge of the war was apparently zero. Instead of informing himself, he wrote a melodramatic yet highly lethal guide to killing.
An antiwar statement that instructs people how to commit mass murder. Makes perfect sense to me.
I have no sympathy for William Powell. Though I don’t hold him responsible for the violence that his book has wrought, nobody forced him to be an idiot. In 1971 I was nine years old. One of my teachers was a sadistic, mentally ill sow who once broke a ping-pong paddle while beating me with it.
“This war is isn’t gonna end for years,” she told us gleefully. “All you little boys are gonna get drafted and sent over there to die!”
So what I did was look into it. I discovered that I had several options if I didn’t think I’d be an effective soldier. And I was pretty sure that my physical cowardice could never be conquered. I was afraid of everything.
But at nine years old, I knew about enlisting in the air force, for example, or becoming a conscientious objector, and I knew that draftees had a very low chance of being sent to Vietnam. William Powell was an adult. He has no excuse for his stupidity.
In 1968 one of my neighbor’s children enlisted in the Marine Corps and was sent to Vietnam for several combat tours of duty. When he was home on leave, he’d take us kids to the oil-camp country club, which had a massive, beyond-Olympic-sized swimming pool, and he’d give us rides on his back as he swam the entire length of this blue…ocean. We’d sit on his back, as though riding a dolphin, and he’d do the butterfly stroke. His muscular shoulders were like handlebars we gripped to keep from falling off.
He was nineteen, the same age that William Powell was when he wrote The Anarchist Cookbook. While home from war, this marine made little kids happy. He gave us indelible memories of pure, improbable, deeply reassuring magic. In a frightening age of war, he made us realize that the world wasn’t ending.
You can oppose the Vietnam War. That’s completely honorable, rational, and moral. But there’s nothing honorable, rational, or moral about publishing a book that teaches people how to murder in the name of peace and offers them expiation for their crimes.
William Powell now says he’s a “confirmed Anglican Christian.” Great. That won’t un-write his book.
When people imitate stunts they see in movies and hurt or kill themselves, that’s just Darwinism in action. The movie producers can’t be held responsible. Similarly, rock bands aren’t responsible when troubled teenagers commit suicide after taking drugs, drinking, and listening to the band’s music.
Again, I don’t hold William Powell personally responsible for any of the crimes that readers of his book commit. But he intended that people read his book and commit crimes. They have. Over and over and over.
Powell has to live with that. Forever.
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