[sixties-l] The last of the Vietnam-war protesters

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Thu Sep 14 2000 - 04:01:17 CUT

  • Next message: BrentLance@aol.com: "Re: [sixties-l] Query from friend off list"

    The last of the Vietnam-war protesters

    In the wake of the shootings of four students by the National Guard at Kent
    State during an anti-Vietnam War demonstration, students at Washington
    University in St. Louis staged an angry protest during which the ROTC
    building was set afire. During the chaos a "cherry bomb" firecracker was
    thrown at police and firefighters. Howard Mechanic, a student in the crowd,
    was charged and convicted under Nixon's new Federal anti-demonstration law
    designed to squash protests against the Vietnam War.

    The 1968 Civil Disobedience Act prohibited a person from interfering with
    "any fireman or law enforcement officer who is doing his job during the
    commission of a civil disorder." A civil disorder is defined as disruption
    or damage caused by a group of three or more people. During Mechanic's
    trial, 19 prosecution witnesses were called. Only one of them actually
    testified against Mechanic and his testimony was far from conclusive: first
    he said he saw the firecracker in Mechanic's hand, then that he only the
    firecracker in the air and then that the firecracker could perhaps have
    been thrown from five or six feet behind Mechanic. The other witnesses were
    mostly firefighters who established that there were more than three people
    in the crowd. Mechanic was sentenced to five years in Federal prison. To
    this day, Mechanic claims innocence.
    In 1972, having failed in the appeals process after serving twenty months
    on a related state charge, Mechanic decided to flee rather than face
    lengthy incarceration. In the thirty years that followed, living under the
    name Gary Tredway, Mechanic started a successful business, became an
    environmental activist, contributed his time and 25% of his income to
    community causes and became so respected locally that he was persuaded to
    run for a City Council seat in Phoenix. Reports digging into his background
    came up with the decades old conviction and stumbled upon a warrant for his
    arrest: "The last of the Vietnam-war protesters, still sought by the FBI."
    Mechanic subsequently surrendered to Federal authorities. He is now
    imprisoned in Florence, Arizona.

    Use the letter below <http://www.thenation.com/actnow/#moreinfo>
    to send an e-mail to U.S. Pardon Attorney Roger C. Adams expressing your
    support for commutation of the sentence of Howard Mechanic, who is
    presently serving a five year sentence for a thirty year old conviction.

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Sep 14 2000 - 04:56:21 CUT