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Saboteur: An interview with a domestic insurgent

By       Message William T. Hathaway     Permalink
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The cop was closing fast, and I moved onto the shoulder so he couldn't cut me off from the trail again. Another patrol car was speeding from town, red lights flashing, siren blaring, but he wasn't close yet. Approaching the trail, I slowed just enough to slue through the turn. As I careened down the trail away from the road, I imagined the cop swearing at me in frustration.

I was on a tractor path leading into a big area of cornfields, and the tall corn swallowed me up in a second, friendly and protective. It was dark in there, but I kept my lights off so they wouldn't reflect off the stalks and show my position. I slowed down and laughed out loud in the warm, fragrant September night.

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The fields ran for miles, gridded with other tractor paths, and I was sure they couldn't find me here in the dark. The feed corn was so dense that even with a helicopter they'd have to be right above me before they could spot me. I was safe here until dawn.

This was my territory now, but the streets were enemy territory, and I was going to have trouble getting out of here. When I had to try, my best bet would be a road with lots of traffic, so I could blend in. The cops couldn't be everywhere.

A state highway ran north of town, and I headed for it, now pushing the bike so they couldn't tell my direction from its sound. It took hours. I had to cross a couple of gravel roads, first waiting out of sight until it felt safe, then running across. Finally I could hear the highway ahead. It was almost dawn, but I wanted to wait until rush-hour traffic, so I lay down and tried to sleep. The ground was cold, I was hungry, my knee hurt, and a field mouse scampered over me, but I managed to doze.

About 7:30 I crept up towards the highway, peering out from my tractor path, afraid again. To my relief, there were enough motorcycles on the road that I figured the cops couldn't stop them all. I waited until I felt lucky, then started the bike, accelerated along the shoulder, and joined the stream between two big trucks. I saw one cop, but he was going the other way. I kept expecting a patrol car to pull beside me with a shotgun leveled out the window, but it didn't happen.

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I stopped in the next town and hid the bike near a shopping center. I was covered with mud, so I bought new clothes, cleaned up as best I could and changed, then ate a big farmer's breakfast of steak and eggs, grits, and three cups of coffee. It was the sort of place where cops might stop for doughnuts, but none came in. Poor guys must've all had to work overtime.

I took a cab back to near where my truck was parked, drove back to the bike and loaded it in, drove a hundred more miles, and collapsed into the bunk. My body was still clogged with fear, my leg was swollen and aching, I had a nervous tic in my cheek, but I was almost glowing with bliss as I sank into sleep.

It was a long time before I went on another sabotage mission, though.

Once I had a close call at what looked like a perfect set up -- a humvee parked behind a Guard admin building, secluded, dark, no one around. As usual I waited an hour after the bars closed, so the streets would be emptier. Also it was a regular work night, so fewer late partygoers. But as soon as I took the lid off the gas can, this car pulls in and two guys get out, drunk. They were fumbling at their zippers to piss when they noticed me by the humvee. They shouted at me -- probably thought I was trying to steal it. Seeing their chance to become heroes, they forgot about their bladders and started towards me. One of them pulled out a knife.

Part of me wanted to throw the gas can at them and light it, but I couldn't do that. I know what burns are like. Instead I threw the can at an angle between us. The gas spewed out in a long trail, and when I lit it, the flames leaped up, high enough to reach their zippers if they'd tried to get through. That stopped their charge long enough for me to take off on the bike while they were shaking their fists and swearing at me.

Never did get that humvee. Went back a year later and everything was locked up.

Once I found two humvees and a truck parked together. What a blaze they made! Someday I'm hoping to get a whole motor pool ... or a squadron of planes.

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Hathaway : Some people would call that violence.

Trucker: Violence means harming people. I'm very careful not to do that. Destroying war machines is depriving the military of their tools of violence. I'm decreasing their ability to harm people. Since they refuse to disarm, I'm doing it for them.

But I admit I've got some psychological quirks. I like fire -- the huge eruption of flames is magnificent. Torching is an adrenaline high ... like dealing. Apparently I need that. Maybe that makes me neurotic, but if so, I've managed to channel my neurosis into a socially useful activity -- destroying war machines. The real crazies are those who go along with this system and think they're sane.

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http://www.peacewriter.org

William T. Hathaway is a Special Forces combat veteran now working to overthrow the empire he previously served. He is the author of Radical Peace: People Refusing War, which presents the true stories of activists who have moved beyond (more...)
 

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