Ron would be turning sixty-six and it is not known how the rest of his life may have turned out; perhaps a long and rewarding career in the Bureau, or as he mentioned to close friends, an interest in law school and maybe a legal career as a prosecutor or Assistant U.S. Attorney. In either instance, based on all we know about his talents, intelligence, dedication and personality, it would have been successful. Perhaps now with grandchildren and looking forward to enjoying his later years, except for his chance encounter with Leonard Peltier and other American Indian Movement prairie dogs
There is no doubt that Jack and Ron were taken by surprise, ambushed, if not deliberately a set up, then an ambush nonetheless.
The kindest words Peltier’s biographer, Peter Matthiessen, could muster in six hundred-plus pages amounted to “in a few wild minutes, Coler had received that shocking wound, and Williams could not or would not desert him – the details, the degree of bravery, the precise order of events are lost.”
In predictable Peltier fashion Matthiessen states, “Williams could not…,” implying a denigration of Ron’s character that maybe he would have if he had not been caught in a deadly crossfire, which only further validates what happened that June day. Ron’s bravery was unmistakable, severely wounded he made his way to Jack to use his shirt as a tourniquet in an effort to save his life.
Although, and we also know this from Matthiessen’s many interviews of those AIM greasy-grass gangsters involved that day, that Ron first waived his shirt “as a white flag in sign of surrender.” Why else would Matthiessen even write this unless those AIM perpetrators described it for him; perhaps even Peltier himself told the true story that way.
We know how it ended; two brave men, severely wounded, surrounded, and then murdered by a pack of AIM cowards.
But Matthiessen, flawed again, claims, “the details…the precise order of events are lost.” Lost? Not hardly. Those details are precisely known by Peltier and the others.
But the “degree of bravery “ is not up for debate, Jack and Ron fought back as best they could under a barrage of rifle fire from two directions. Ron’s valiant effort to aid and save his mortally wounded partner is unquestioned.
“In the Spirit of Coler and Williams”