Just before noon on June 26, 1975 was unquestionably the most critical moment in Leonard Peltier's entire life. Everything from that point on is a result of his decisions and actions that day. A day of choices.
There are two inherently vital dates in everyone's life; the day they are born, and the day they die. Everything in between is the result of a multitude of factors; nurture-nature, good decisions and bad, fortune and misfortune, luck, and of course, fate.
The lives of Jack R. Coler, January 12, 1947 - June 26, 1975, and Ronald A. Williams, July 30, 1947 - June 26, 1975, ended tragically and violently as their paths crossed Peltier's during a fateful encounter that sultry June day.
Now, forty years later, Leonard Peltier clarifies for us the path he chose as he marginalizes his criminal acts and provides specific examples that he believes are relevant (Footnote 1). No matter what he was before, it is evident he has slipped into an obvious and persistent mindset, impairing his thoughts, memories and whatever semblance of morality he may have possessed in the moments leading up to, and including, the murder of two wounded and defenseless human beings.
Peltier begins with his signature panhandling, "Make a donation online/pledge to donate monthly, mail donations to the ILPDC..." that has been the cornerstone of this decades-old scam. (Fn.2)
Peltier talks of the young suicides and despair and desperation on the Reservations, protecting native sovereignty, environmental concerns impacting the Reservations and Mother Earth, and racists mascots.
All of these are of critical importance to Native America, but considering the source, they are shallow and meaningless because the messenger has a fraudulent agenda. This is all part of the sociopathic ploy and the continued tactic from Peltier and his "committee" to divert attention away from the facts, away from what really happened.* They are painfully aware that the myth and folklore have to be promoted at all costs. Otherwise, they look like fools. They are playing the game; "Hey, look over here!" "No, look over there!" using every and any effort to steer attention away from the facts of Jumping Bull. This dodge is to keep the Peltierites (sycophantic followers) blissfully content, as well as the curious, from discovering the truth or asking the really hard questions. Answers to which Peltier has stumbled over many times. They have collectively stroked his twisted ego, manifesting delusions into his own fabricated reality. (Fn.3)
No matter how tough, strong and ruthless he may have been in 1976, we know Peltier's weaknesses.
Certainly there are times, when unable to sleep because of the incessant din of prison life that he is unable to drown out, and while staring blindly at concrete walls he described this in his own words; "Maybe one day you realize one of those voices is your own, and then you really begin to worry." Peltier has shown his weakness in the face of fear; "Suddenly your mind begins to play tricks on you and it's as if you hear your spirit telling you to run, to not go in there, and then fear rushes on you almost unbearably, your knees grow weak, you feel as if you're going to wet your pants, you feel like crying, calling out for help. I had a barely resistible urge to turn to the marshals and plead with them, beg them not to take me in that place. I'm sure, if I had, my voice would have cracked and I would have broken down in tears." (Prison Writings, pp. 6, 155) (Yes, a babbling crybaby peeing himself.)
When Peltier's thoughts inevitably drift back to those crucial moments at Jumping Bull, how many times has he thought or wished or prayed that he had taken some other measure. Not firing the first shots that led to the wounding of the agents; not facing two critically wounded human beings; not confronting one who was asking for mercy; not pulling the trigger--three more times. There is little doubt that given the ability to go back in time Peltier would have made other choices. There could have been many other possibilities, none of which would have resulted in a lifetime of freedom denied behind prison walls.
But he made those choices, and instead, he and the others acted as they really were, cowards.
Peltier ends this message as foolishly as it began: "I continue to to pray for the family of my brother Joe Stuntz and for all those who paid such a dear price in those bitter times 40 years ago."
Certainly, we can have empathy for the Stuntz family, but if there is any anger over his death, it belongs squarely on Peltier. Stuntz was undoubtedly following Peltier. Stuntz followed Peltier to his own death. Peltier aside, Stuntz had decisions to make that day as well. With a rifle he shot at the two agents pinned down in an open field. After the agents were incapacitated, he, along with others, went down to the vehicles. Both Coler and Williams were shot point blank in the face. Did Stuntz witness this? Whether he did or not, there were two dead human beings, faces mutilated, who were rolled over to face the ground, and laying at his feet. He did see this as he smiled at Peltier while stealing and putting on the dead agent's FBI jacket. What did he do next? With the same rifle, fire at responding law enforcement until one of them put a bullet in his head. Stuntz was just another AIM criminal that day. We can empathize with his family, but not for Joe Stuntz. He made bad choices, and paid for it with his life.
But this is where the delusional Petlier leaves off, as tightly wrapped in his psychosis as ever and not a word about two murdered federal agents or one ounce of remorse. But what happened to rest of the narrative? The brave warrior who defended his people? Or, "This story is true," his only alibi and the lie of Mr. X. Fact remains, he ran like the coward he was, letting the women and children catch-up as they could.
Has all this been forgotten? Will it be just set aside for the moment to be recirculated again for another audience? Or will Peltier come up with other excuses, like the pathetically lame recent cry about elder abuse.
It's not difficult for President Obama to understand Peltier's conviction and numerous appeals that have been upheld at every turn, nor to recognize an unrepentant convicted murderer who publicly says, "And really, if necessary, I'd do it all over again, because it was the right thing to do (2010)," and, "I don't regret any of this for a minute (2014)" (Fn. 4). The President understands that Peltier is the last person deserving of any consideration for leniency, and certainly not clemency.
Peltier acknowledges this as well as he adds "...time is slipping away from me and I know that if I do not get out under this President I will almost certainly die here in prison."
Leonard, psychosis and delusions aside, accept that reality.
"In the Spirit of Coler and Williams"
*The "committee" has changed many times over the years. Peltier makes excuses for those who come and go, but the reality is, no matter what their intentions, noble and supportive or vicariously bolstering their own shortcomings through Peltier's notoriety, it all comes down to one undeniable fact: Once they get to know the real Peltier, they don't like it and move on. Some sooner than later, and this includes well-meaning attorneys; with the exception, of course, of Bruce "I'll take the Fifth" Ellison.
1. http://www.whoisleonardpeltier.info/general/40th-anniversary-of-pine-ridge-shootout/ (Peltier June 26, 2015 statement; last accessed 7/2/15)
2. http://noparolepeltier.com/debate.html#fraud The ongoing scam of charity.
4) http://www.noparolepeltier.com/debate.html#confession (2010)