It is understandable in a way that Peltier’s son Chauncey and other family members seek his release – but that understanding must also be tempered with an additional understanding that there must also be a great deal of denial taking place.
I image it is a difficult thing to give up on a family member – to confront and accept the truth, but familial blood can neither absolve or ignore murder regardless of how difficult a task that a may be.
What is often overlooked is that the family and loved ones of a convicted criminal are also in a very real sense victims themselves – their life has been turned upside down, they and the family have been betrayed.
I’ve seen this in more than one family and for some the shame and pain becomes defiance, some sort of survival mechanism that can embrace extreme positions and the eager adoption of conspiracy theories and “set ups”.
Call it human frailty, pride, denial, or defiance as you will – but it remains commonplace and the question to ask is what would we do in a similar circumstance?
I have always believed there should be a way back for people – for Peltier had he of been convicted when the federal death penalty was in existence there would have been no way back.
Time is running out for Peltier, the passage of years is no respecter of persons, it takes it’s toll upon everyone – and while I don’t believe there is a way back in this life for Peltier after decades of lying and exhibiting no remorse there could be in the next if he were to make a clean breast of it.
Failing to due to the ramblings of a delusional “medicine man” like Leonard Crow Dog that individuals like Peltier and Russell Means will be greeted upon their passing by the great chiefs and warriors of the past is far from the reality.
Something I believe on some level both Peltier and Means are and were aware of.
We enter this world naked and dependent and will leave in the same manner regardless of title or social status.
What we will take with us is the truth of who we were and how we lived our lives – that and nothing more.
What we leave behind will be our legacy whether good or bad – a legacy based on the truth of a good character has a greater value than one based on lies.
Peltier by his actions and his actions alone denied his children a father – denied his family a son, a grandson, an uncle, a husband and a provider, he victimized them.
Denied the children and spouses of agents Williams and Coler a father and husband – and in the aftermath two young daughters their mother and grandchildren a grandmother.
Like ripples in a pond the path Peltier chose engulfed many and has continued unabated to this day.