RATHER: It is probably accurate to call the man who threatened to blow up the Washington Monument a lunatic. But in his commentary tonight, Bill Moyers asks: in today's world, how do you measure fanaticism?

BILL MOYERS: Maybe Norman Mayer never had a chance to be heard, given his criminal record: his arrests for drug dealing, assault and battery. Maybe he became a criminal because he couldn't be heard. We'll never know, and it doesn't really matter. What matters is that he wanted to tell us that humanity is drifting toward nuclear war. Perhaps this is a cry only lunatics and outlaws can hear. It would not be the first time truth had failed to get the establishment to listen, or the foolish had been chosen to confound the wise.

The wise yesterday were rattling their sabers in Moscow, or putting the finishing touches in the House of Representatives on a military budget of $231-billion for the coming year--S231-billion, including over S2-billion to continue research on the MX missile they had symbolically voted against the day before.

This is the wisdom of the world which proved too much for Norman Mayer, who wanted only to stop the arms race. Once you realize the futility of your cause, you can choose to live as a zombie, a martyr, a cynic or a saint--or today, a video terrorist. Norman Mayer chose to go out that way. It doesn't appear he really had the stomach for it. Those detonators had nothing to detonate. So he played Atari on the monument grounds and died when the game was over. Lunacy? Yes, but it is the lunacy of nations today who hold the world hostage, as he did Washington, with the threat of violence for the sake of peace. This sad little man had the superpowers for a role model. He died unheeded by them, but the star of his own television special. Such was the final lunacy. His pathetic charade received far more time from the media than we'll give the dialogue on nuclear issues which he was crazy enough to think we might honor.