THE BLACK RAG Silver Spring, Md. December 26, 1982 Number Nineteen


On December 8 an anti-nuclear activist named Norman Mayer, 66, was shot to death by police sharpshooters after threatening to dynamite the Washington Monumeat during a l0-hour atandoff with the cops, Acquaintances described Mayer as a drifting loner who narr fanatically charged writh a solo crusade to stop this madness - the spread of nuclear arms.

The Black Rag had talked to this man last August in front of the White House. No peace group in Washington was considered even satisfactory to Mayer then and he urgently insisted that a complete nuclear arms ban be the Number One Priority for all people, as doomsday could occur at any moment. He made and printed up thousands of fliers that he gave to folks on the street and mailed.

Mayer drove his van to the base of the Washington Monument and announced that it was filled with 1,000 pounds of TNT. He said he had a remote control device to detonate the explosives if his demands for a ban and a national dialougue on nuclear weapons were not met. He told all advancing cops to "get the hell out of here!" but did talk to AP reporter Steve Komarow.

Around 7:30 PM he started to move his van from the monument and was immediately hit by gunfire from Park pig marksmen who, with infrared nightscopes, would not aim for the tires of the truck. It appears at least two of the 9-man sniper squad tried deliberately for a kill, as two bullets hit Mayer's head and two more struck his arm. This probability was denied by Chief pig Lynn Herring. The squad was stupid to shoot mayer because for all they knew, he still had his hand on the detonator, even if he was driving, and getting shot could easily have released the device. It was later discovered that no dynamite was in the van. But then Mayer's thinking was foggy to have tried to drive away. Fatal decision. Yet President Reagan said he was pleased with the way the police "handled the situation," i.e. killing Mayer. A vain hollow powerman like him would be.

The message is clear. The State will kill anyone who carries his anti-nuclear passion too far. Even though Norman Mayer was a looneybird he had more dedication (to the point of Nechaevism), raw naked truth,courage and perhaps love than any conservative or liberal Establishment figure could ever hope to have.

"I'm gonna fight me a one-man revolution someway,
Gonna start my rebellion today
But here come the people in gray
To take me away."

R.D. Davies 1971