Over the past weeks, we have heard a lot about some of Barack Obama's good friends. One name in particular has been prominent in the news coverage: that of Chicago education professor and domestic terrorist William Ayers. I realize that this paper has a significantly younger audience than most newspapers, and that's why I am going to take a few minutes to explain the long-ago time when Mr. Ayers' domestic attacks terrorized our nation. Today, as I review the past of Bill Ayers, ask yourself, "Why is Barack Obama friends with this man, and why did Obama enlist this man to fundraise for his campaigns?"
In 1969 Bill Ayers, along with a group of 1960s anti-government radicals, founded an organization called Weather Underground. In 1969, Bill Ayers and his group of radicals issued an "Official Declaration of War on the United States Government." Since their founding, the Weathermen have engaged in a nationwide campaign of terror and intimidation against the American public. In the 1970s, the Weathermen bombed government office buildings, police stations and banks. Their terror was not limited to bombings; they also incited deadly riots in Chicago, broke convicted felons out of prison and killed two police officers in the course of an armored-car robbery. Ayers led this group of radical terrorists while they terrorized communities and killed innocent Americans.
William Ayers led the group until his girlfriend died in a bomb-making accident. Under his leadership, the group bombed the U.S. Capitol, the Pentagon and police headquarters in New York and San Francisco. Ayers' wife Bernardine Dohrn sat on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list throughout the 1970s, and the couple evaded law enforcement while offering support to their fellow terrorists. Along with his wife, Ayers kept close contact with the group until the 1980s when the Weathermen killed two police officers and stole $1.6 million in a New York armored-car robbery. After the robbery, they aided and supported their anti-government allies. Friends of Bill Ayers were later convicted for the robbery and slaying of two law enforcement officers.
In April 1971 the Weathermen, still allies of Ayers, burglarized a Pennsylvania FBI office. The Weathermen stole hundreds of pages of irreplaceable case files and important evidence. This burglary resulted in the destruction of evidence linking Ayers to the domestic terror activities of the Weather Underground. With a lack of evidence, prosecution attempts against Ayers and many of his allies failed. The 1971 burglary effectively destroyed the case against Ayers and, to this day, he has yet to pay for his crimes.
In September 2001, Ayers released a memoir about his days as a radical anti-government terrorist. After the release he completed an interview with The New York Times in which he said, in part, "I don't regret setting bombs" and "I feel we didn't do enough." When asked if he would "do it all again," Ayers said, "I don't want to discount the possibility."
Sure, Obama was very young when Ayers was an active terrorist but, in 2001, when they were rubbing elbows at campaign fundraisers, Obama was not young. He was old enough to decide, and he made his decision.
Most of the columns I write and you read are based on opinions: mine, yours or otherwise. This week, I have taken a different path; this column has been just the facts. William Ayers and Barack Obama are good friends, they have worked together and Ayers has hosted the Obamas for campaign events in his home. The connection is clear, the facts are clear and the lack of judgment on Obama's part is very clear.
Marcus Bowen is a former vice president of MU College Republicans and serves with the Jackson County Republican Committee. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.