Larry Grathwohl, Hero
"Two, four, six, eight -- now it's time to smash the state!" chanted the mob. One protestor climbed up a flagpole in front of the Justice Department. To the cheers and delight of the crowd, he cut down Old Glory and in its place raised a Viet Cong flag. Police fired tear gas. The mob continued: "Tear the f***ing state down!"
This was the so-called "March Against Death" in Washington, D.C., on November 13, 1969. The chant was the rallying cry for the Weathermen, the violent terrorist group that instigated the riot and whose stated goal was to bring down America, replacing the constitutional republic with a totalitarian communist dictatorship.
Among the many young Americans they attempted to recruit was a student at the University of Cincinnati named Larry Grathwohl, who had recently completed his tour of duty as a paratrooper in Vietnam. The agitators' violent rhetoric compelled Grathwohl to contact the police. This led him to become a reluctant police informer, and later, the only FBI infiltrator in the history of the Weathermen who hadn't been purged by the paranoid communist fanatics.
Grathwohl testified before several federal grand juries and the U.S. Senate, and in 1976, together with Frank Reagan, wrote a book about his experiences with the murderous terrorists. Titled Bringing Down America, it details his personal interactions with Bill Ayers and other Weathermen leaders who, after a botched 1970 police bust had revealed Grathwohl's identity, sentenced the young man to death for "crimes against the people."
A poster inside the underground Berkeley Tribe newspaper displayed Larry's mug shot with the following description:
for crimes against the people.
Alias: Tom Neihman.
Grathwohl has been identified by Weather Woman Linda Evans as a pig infiltrator. Busted in New York with Linda, he was immediately released on O.R. He has lived in collectives in New York, New Haven and Cincinnatti [sic]. Thursday morning he turned up in Berkeley.
Caution: This man is dangerous. He advocated the use of explosives and firearms and is known to be a heavy user of speed.
By then the terrorist group's leaders had gone into hiding and changed their name accordingly: Weather Underground. Four decades later, the story of Weather Underground remains central in the ideological battle raging in America today.
Former rebels have since become the very establishment they had rallied against, bringing down America by other means. With Hollywood, the media, and college professors extolling the moral virtues of monsters, branding terrorists as freedom fighters has become commonplace.
As a result, the unrepentant bomb-throwers and subversives have moved to the most influential positions in our governmental, cultural, and educational institutions, setting the stage for the ascendance of the first radical leftist president -- who happened to start his political career in the living room of Bill Ayers.
The romanticization of radical thugs is an important part of this effort. The most recent shot at whitewashing the Weather Underground: the new Robert Redford film titled The Company You Keep. Scheduled for domestic release on April 5, the picture has been praised by critics as an "unabashedly heartfelt but competent tribute to 1960s idealism." We are supposed to believe that "[t]here is something undeniably compelling, perhaps even romantic, about America's '60s radicals and the compromises they did or didn't make."
Penguin Books has also reprinted the 2004 novel by Neil Gordon on which the movie is based, with Robert Redford's face on the cover along with the following promotional blurb:
Set against the rise and fall of the radical anti-war group the Weather Underground, The Company You Keep is a sweeping American saga about sacrifice, the righteousness of youth, and the tension between political ideals and family loyalties.
The only true American hero in this story is Larry Grathwohl. He risked his life and jeopardized his career to fight violent totalitarians.