turning point

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

(JOE is alone at a table. SARAH and LEO knock on door. JOE answers)
JOE: Yes?
SARAH: We are interested in joining the Quaker church.
JOE: Quaker meeting, you mean?
LEO: Yes. You see, well, I was drafted, and, well, uh, um….
JOE: You are thinking of CO status?
LEO: Yes, exactly. You see, my classmate might go to Canada, and I have a friend who shot off his toe, and those choices just didn’t seem right…
JOE: Well, come on in.
LEO: Isn’t it true that you object to all wars?
JOE: Some of us do. Yes, in general, that’s true.
SARAH: So you’re nonviolent? Does that mean you wouldn’t throw a rock at the university? or the bank?
JOE: Like they’ve been doing out here on State Street? No, I wouldn’t, probably.
LEO: But they’re the system. The government. It’s their war. And Army Math is helping them out. Army Math and the University of Wisconsin are helping the government by doing research in deadly chemicals. Killing civilians in Vietnam.
JOE: Look, this isn’t easy for me. I teach at the university. I care what my university does and who gets killed as a result. All I can say is, when they protest Army Math, I’m out there. But when they throw rocks, I’m not throwing rocks. You have to think about what’s right. When you do violence, you become part of the problem.
SARAH: But don’t you think it’s necessary to do SOMETHING to get them to stop? Do you think they’ll listen if we just keep carrying signs and yelling?
JOE: When you resort to violence, you make the problem worse. There are non-violent ways of resisting the war and the university.
LEO: So how do you join this meeting and become a conscientious objector?
JOE: Well, it’s a long process, actually, and the first step is believing in your heart that this is what you want. You won’t really hold up if you don’t.
LEO: What do you mean?
JOE: What I mean is, if you are going through the process, and you have violence in your heart, it will show up eventually. You won’t be able to hide it.
SARAH: Thank you, Mr. Elder.
JOE: Call me Joe.
SARAH: We’ll be back soon. Or Leo will, maybe.
JOE: I hope so.
(they leave. NEWSCASTER enters)
NEWSCASTER: Four students were killed today in Kent, Ohio, when the Ohio National Guard shot at a group of students who were confronting them as part of the continuing May Day protests against the Vietnam War on the campus of Kent State University. We’ll have a live report from Kent in just a minute. Meanwhile, reports from here in Madison say that students have again taken to the streets…

PROTESTER #1: Down with the war! US out of Cambodia!
PROTESTER #2: Shut down the university! Down with Army Math!
PROTESTER #3: 1, 2, 3, 4! We don’t want to go to war!
PROTESTER #4: 1, 2, 3, 4!
POLICEMAN: OK, I’ve had it. Get going. Get out of here! (waving stick)

KARL: They’re killing us now. We’re in the endgame. Army Math is next.
DWIGHT: What do you mean?
KARL: I mean, this is war. This is revolution. Four students dead in Ohio. We’ll be next. We can’t stand around and take this.
DAVID: So what do you plan to do?
KARL: Army Math. It’s the enemy. It’s time to let them know we mean business. Hey, Dwight, remember the Badger Ordnance Works?
DWIGHT: I remember. That’s why they called us “The New Year’s Gang.” But that was just vandalism.
LEO: You were behind that explosion outside of Baraboo in January?
KARL: Yeah, and the Red Gym and the Primate Research Center, too.
DWIGHT: I wasn’t involved in those.
DAVID: Far out, man! You’ve been making the revolution!
DWIGHT: Hey, guess what. David says we can make a powerful bomb. We just need ammonium nitrate and fuel oil. Ammonium nitrate is just farm chemicals. I’m not exactly sure about the chemistry, though. I wasn’t doing so well in Chemistry.
DAVID: Good thing they cancelled finals, huh? Hey, Leo, you work out at the airport, don’t you?
LEO: Yeah, but I’m not so sure I want to get involved in this.
KARL: We need you, man. Now’s the time. Look, the government, the university, they’re in this together. We need to get together ourselves. Dwight, you know Mom’s yellow Corvair? We’re going to need it. Leo, they’ve got fuel oil out there at the airport. This is a revolution, brother. They’re killing people now. You’re going to have to decide…are you with us, or are you with THEM?
(they leave)

NEWSCASTER: Since the Kent State killings in May, Madison has been non-stop protests. 1800 National Guardsmen and 400 policemen were called then, and the university was shut down, finals were cancelled. Still the riots continue. Ten to fifteen thousand protesters every week.

PROTESTER #1: US out of Cambodia! Stop the war!
PROTESTER #2: Down with Army Math! Stop discrimination! No more ROTC!
PROTESTER #3: Down with the pigs! Down with the pigs!
PROTESTER #4: 1, 2, 3, 4!
POLICEMAN: OK, out of here! Enough! I’ve had it!
(they leave)


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