Advocates of a clemency or pardon for Leonard Peltier often raise the issue of the amount of time he has served-closing in on four decades.
That’s a long time, not a record, but nonetheless a long time.
What they seem to fail to grasp is that the passage of time is inclusive-that it doesn’t stop and remain fixed for any other than victims whose lives have been taken.
It stopped for Annie Mae Aquash, Ray Robinson, Buddy Lamont, Nogeeshik Aquash, Jack Coler, Ron Williams, Roque Duenas, Jancita Eagle Deer, those who lay in hidden graves as the result of WK2, and others who may never be known.
The advocates will often talk of a complicity in these murders by the feds-if there is a value in that then they must likewise assert that as a member of AIM-more specifically one of Dennis Banks security grunts, then Peltier must likewise be complicit. Begins to get a little murky and places an onus on the advocates doesn’t it?
Of those victims listed above no one to my knowledge has claimed that Peltier had a direct physical involvement in their deaths with the exception of Williams and Coler – despite the nagging time line, the exposed lies of when he was in jail in Canada, and Peltier’s own admission that he was in and out of the country during pivotal dates.
Yet time or the memory of these murders hasn’t stopped for the families and friends as each fell-there is no pardon or clemency that can be sought that will release their loved ones from the graves they lay in.
No surcease of sorrow-nothing to fill the void in a child’s life, or the vacancy left in a family-something to consider with each new attempt by Peltier to portray himself as a victim worthy of release.
He wants to mentor youth? What he has done for the now adults who were the youthful children of his victims?
Did he teach them to paint or counsel them in the right and wrongs of life, remember them during Christmas toy drives, or contribute to college scholarships?
Has he ever done a single thing to alleviate their suffering?
Did he tell them of the value of being a “warrior” which he claims to be and will never truthfully ever be able to make such a claim?
What has he done for the children of Annie and Ray to assist in obtaining the justice they deserve other than to obstruct, lie, support the murders, and in the end say he wouldn’t help put another indigenous man in prison?
Even Banks and OJ went through the motions of offering a reward or conducting an “independent investigation”.
Often overlooked is the fact that family members of a perpetrator are in some ways a victim, and made to suffer as well-what has Peltier done for them other than to construct a prison where they also serve each day and allowed to live only a half life?