On August 24, 1970, Karleton Armstrong and three other men perpetrated the worst act of domestic terrorism prior to the Oklahoma City bombing, detonating a bomb-laden vehicle outside of Sterling Hall, causing extensive damage to 26 buildings, costing $2.1 million in property damage, injuring three, and killing graduate student Robert Fassnacht, a 33-year-old husband and father of three children.
The contrast between an editorial published in the Journal 40 years ago, and the profile of the bombers published this past week, may serve as a case study in how the liberal media has transformed their coverage of domestic terrorists.
Shortly after the attack, a Journal editorial ran hammering down their take on the matter. According to the book, 50 Wisconsin Crimes of the Century, the Wisconsin State Journal called for officials to stop taking a neutral stance on student unrest:
"They've been playing with murder for years. Now they've achieved it... The blood is on the hands of anyone who has encouraged them, anyone who has talked recklessly of ‘revolution', anyone who has chided with mild disparagement the violence of extremists while hinting that the cause is right all the same."
Last week however, that same Wisconsin State Journal did a retrospective piece (h/t Michelle Malkin), profiling each of the bombers and how they were linked to such a tragic moment in history. The profile on Karleton Armstrong strikes a surprisingly pacifist tone:
"From his juice stand on Library Mall, Karleton Armstrong will hand you a strawberry smoothie and you might never know he was responsible for bombing Sterling Hall 40 years ago. For the past 30 years, he has lived in Madison as a respectable businessman, the proprietor of Loose Juice, and before that, the popular sandwich shop Radical Rye."
The piece also includes a glowing statement from a friend of Armstrong:
"Think of someone coming out of Waupun (prison) for such a major crime and deciding to live right in the cauldron where his family is, and remaking his life in such an admirable way."
If you can, please withhold your admiration for a man who also tried to detonate explosives by dropping them from a plane over an Army ammunition plant in 1969, a man who tried to plant explosives at an electric substation at that same plant, and a man who committed acts of arson on an ROTC facility and a Secret Service facility, and save it for the family man who did nothing more than go to work that fateful night in 1970, when others made a decision that took his life.
Forgive and forget though, right Wisconsin State Journal?
The problem is that Armstrong hasn't exactly expressed remorse for his actions. Despite the new article claiming that he refuses interviews out of respect for the wife of the man that was murdered, this AP video shows that Armstrong is indeed talking, and that he still considers the bombing to have been ‘the right thing to do.'
In fact, he proudly declares how people come up to him at his juice stand saying, ‘Karl, so glad to meet you, and you really did the right thing.'
The editorial that ran four decades ago warns the University that,
"If a great University is to redeem itself - if it is to survive as a proud and free institution - It no longer can take refuge in detached neutrality."
The Wisconsin State Journal would be wise to heed their own advice.
Cross-posted at The Mental Recession.