[sixties-l] The little girl excuse of a retired terrorist (fwd)

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Date: Mon Dec 10 2001 - 18:19:04 EST

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    Date: Mon, 10 Dec 2001 14:59:19 -0800
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: The little girl excuse of a retired terrorist

    The 'little girl' excuse of a retired terrorists


    by George Will
    December 10, 2001

    WASHINGTON -- In Southern California, on the shore of the sundown sea, the
    sunset of the 1960s myth continues. The most telling recent episode was not
    the much-remarked death of a semiretired guitarist. Rather, it was the
    little-noticed "girl excuse" offered in court by a retired terrorist. That
    George Harrison's death from cancer at 58 was treated as epochal news is
    redundant evidence of the baby-boom generation's infinite narcissism. That
    cohort's mere size made it important, economically and hence culturally,
    and self-importance has been its defining attitude. Pop music is for
    boomers what the madeleine was for Proustan especially powerful trigger of
    memory. Hence the quintessential boomer movie, "The Big Chill," in which
    some boomers wallow, to the accompaniment of oldies but goodies, in
    bewilderment because one of their peers has died. No one had told them
    their importance would not exempt them from death.
    Last week, in a Los Angeles courtroom not far from where Harrison died,
    there was a display of a boomer's sense of entitlement to exemption from
    life's rules. The aging boomer, bound for prison, is Kathleen Soliahor Sara
    Jane Olson, as she has called herself since she became a fugitive 26 years
    She first became a minor celebrity of the cracked left in 1974 when she
    delivered a fiery speech in Berkeley's Ho Chi Minh Park, as it then was
    called, denouncing the Los Angeles police for the shootout that killed six
    members of the Symbionese Liberation Army, with which she was
    associated. The SLA's brief life featured an assassination of a black
    superintendent of schools in Oakland, a bank robbery in which a mother of
    four was murdered, and the kidnapping, and temporary conversion, of Patty
    Olson hid under her new identity until captured in 1999 in St. Paul, Minn.
    She was evading prosecution for complicity in an attempt, fortunately
    incompetent, to kill LAPD officers with bombs attached to two patrol cars.
    While her lawyers sought repeated delays of her trial, she entertained
    sympathizers with talks about her persecution. Prosecutors waited their
    chance to present 40,000 pieces of physical evidence, such as handwriting
    evidence that she ordered fuses two weeks before the attempted bombings.
    But after Sept. 11 she changed her tune. Never remorseful and now
    self-pitying, she said she was eager for a trial but could not get a fair
    one because Americans were so wrought up about terrorism, and had become
    pro-government. So she pleaded guilty in a bargain that would mean a milder
    Then she walked out of the courtroom and told the media she was innocent.
    She did not feel guilty. The judge, unamused, set another hearing, at which
    he told her a guilty plea is not mere prelude to a press conference. She
    again pleaded guilty, in a pouty way, saying, well, OK, she technically did
    aid and abet the bombing attempts.
    But later her tender conscience again told her she must ask the judge to
    disregard her second guilty plea. At the next hearing her co-counsel, a
    veteran defender of leftists, failed to appear. He later faxed a letter to
    the judge, pleading "bad karma." He had missed his flight from Oakland and
    assumed there would not be a seat on the next flight: "Therefore in a state
    of mind of dank frustration, I went home and went back to bed."
    In his absence, Olson's other co-counsel, a woman, told the judge that
    Olson had been browbeaten by the absent male co-counsel into pleading
    guilty. One of the prosecutors, a woman, accused Olson of using the "girl
    excuse." Thus ended the bomber's career, not with a bang but a whimper.
    The judge said: "She pled guilty because she is guilty. The facts show she
    is guilty." Olson, who will be sentenced next month, is getting what she
    deserves. But the 1960s, supposedly the left's salad days, deserve an
    amnesty from conservatives. The principal political result of the decade in
    which Olson and kindred spirits were active was the ascendancy of
    conservatism, partly because of leftists' activism.
    The greatest political career begun in the 1960s was ignited in 1964 by a
    nationally telecast election-eve speech supporting one of the decade's
    first and most consequential dissenters, Barry Goldwater. Two years later
    the speaker, Ronald Reagan, won California's governorship, partly because
    of his promise to clean up "the mess at Berkeley."
    Of which Olson was briefly a part, thereby contributing to rise of the
    right. Such are the tricks history plays on frivolous dabblers at the
    making of history.

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