Leonard Peltier wasted the life he was gifted with in the taking of other lives.
I believe it was inevitable he would have wound up in prison even if he hadn’t chosen to commit murder such was the path he chose.
Being a thug for an organization like AIM that has a criminal history isn’t a viable career choice – in Peltier’s case it was water seeking it’s own level, and once having found it spending decades attempting to conceal the truth that lay beneath the surface.
I make no pretense of ever having understood what motivates Peltier, I’m not even sure he does other than his obvious desire to be released from prison.
One thing I do know is that Peltier wants to be something he isn’t, a leader and a warrior. He wants to be remembered as someone likened to warriors and leaders of the past.
That’s all he has left, there’s no hope of clemency with the new administration, no escape from Coleman like the short lived one from Lompoc during which yet another person lost their life.
Further petitions, rallies, and the continuation of a myth based on lies will garner the same results, nothing.
I’m surprised there hasn’t been a communique, some personal proclamation that he stands fearless without remorse as he is wrapped in a shroud of certainty that there is no key, no door to open with it.
There is nothing to celebrate in wasting a life, less when it is the result of taking other lives – there is both a sadness and a visitation of justice upon Peltier in having done so.
Children have grown up without their father even as they have children of their own – the closure or relief sought is a half empty glass.
A void on both sides of the aisle exists through no fault of the children or grandchildren, a vacuum resulting from choices made by one man who mistakenly believed federal agents had come for him related to a Wisconsin fugitive warrant.
I have no doubt that if it weren’t for that mistaken belief the events at Jumping Bull would not have taken place – that children and grandchildren would have had the fullness of life a father and grandfather contribute to.
That wives wouldn’t have slept in beds that suddenly became too big, too desolate, too lonely.
Time has a way of healing, a mercy that transforms wounds into scars that serve as a reminder of the pain at the moment of inflicting but cannot be re experienced, only remembered – a senseless and unwelcomed memory visited upon many as the result of a choice made by one man, Leonard Peltier, and that is his legacy, the legacy of a wasted life.
I believe all children enter the world pure, they are innocent regardless of circumstance, I would also like to believe when the time for us to pass on nears we would make an attempt to regain some measure of a lost innocence – I would like to think when that time looms on the horizon for Peltier he would do the warrior thing he has long laid claim to being and accept responsibility for his actions, to add some measure to the half filled cup.
I’ve blogged about Peltier numerous times over the years, advocated for justice for his and AIM’s victims while making note that I once supported Peltier and then caught some heat when the myth became too transparent and questions led to being called a sellout or fed.
But I also came to know a great many of our people who believed as I did, who agreed that a thug who wantonly murders or sticks a gun in one our women’s mouth to interrogate her is only that, a thug, not a warrior nor a leader.
Who believed as I did that the leaders of a movement who will lie, steal, scam, and in the end commit multiple murders to cover their tracks or impose their will also qualify as thugs.
I had said if Peltier were to be granted clemency as a misguided effort to “heal” the nations such a decision would be above my pay grade and I would accept it
His petition for clemency was denied and I likewise accept that as being neither a time to rejoice or to mourn, merely a result of choices made at a place known as Jumping Bull.