Ayers Defends Weather Underground Bombings

So Bill Ayers was here in Northeast Ohio over the weekend. He was the keynote speaker at the annual commemoration of the 1970 shootings at Kent State University. The Akron Beacon Journal reports:

There is no relationship at all between what Weather Underground members did and the bombings that two brothers allegedly committed on April 15 in Massachusetts, Ayers said in response to a reporter’s question. No one died in the Weather Underground bombings. . . .

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., committed daily war crimes in Vietnam “and I get asked about violence when what I did was some destruction of property to issue a scream and cry against an illegal war in which 6,000 people a week are being killed,” Ayers said. . . .

“To conflate a group of fundamentalist people [in Boston] who are nihilistic in some way with a group of people who spent their lives trying to oppose the murder of 6,000 people a week … and still the killing went on. And still the killing went on. What would you have done?” Ayers said. “There’s no equivalence [with Boston]. Property damage. That’s what we did.”

“No one died” from the WU’s bombings, unless one counts members of the WU itself (and if one assumes that the WU was not responsible for events like the police station bombing in San Francisco). In March 1970, three WU members died when one of their own explosive devices — a nail bomb — blew up. Nail bombs are not usually constructed to destroy property.

In his talk to the crowd, Ayers mentioned that in 1970, he lost three friends in the Weather Underground, including his lover, Diana Oughton. He did not explain in his talk how they died – they were killed when nail bombs they were making in a Greenwich Village townhouse blew up.

Telling the crowd the circumstances of those deaths would have been “inappropriate,” Ayers said afterward. “Everybody here knows,” he said.

Authorities said the bombs were intended to be used at a dance at the Fort Dix Army base in New Jersey.

“No one knows for sure but I think they were. And had they carried it out it would have been a catastrophe,” Ayers said. “But they didn’t and it didn’t happen. But what did happen is, on that same day John McCain murdered civilians. Do we have any responsibility for that? Should there be any reconciliation for that? Should he tell the truth about it?”