Sorry for the current no-links, but one often sees unrepentant Weatherman Bill Ayers defended with the notion that they planned their bombings to avoid casualties - sort of a "the medium was the message, not the casualties" idea [see UPDATE]. This defense does devalue the Weathermen who blew themselves up while making bombs, and the four people who died in a Weather-related NY bank robbery.
And now the NY Post provides this:
I was only 9 then, the year Ayers' Weathermen tried to murder me.
In February 1970, my father, a New York State Supreme Court justice, was presiding over the trial of the so-called "Panther 21," members of the Black Panther Party indicted in a plot to bomb New York landmarks and department stores. Early on the morning of Feb. 21, as my family slept, three gasoline-filled firebombs exploded at our home on the northern tip of Manhattan, two at the front door and the third tucked neatly under the gas tank of the family car.
I still recall, as though it were a dream, thinking that someone was lifting and dropping my bed as the explosions jolted me awake, and I remember my mother pulling me from the tangle of sheets and running to the kitchen where my father stood. Through the large windows overlooking the yard, all we could see was the bright glow of flames below. We didn't leave our burning house for fear of who might be waiting outside. The same night, bombs were thrown at a police car in Manhattan and two military recruiting stations in Brooklyn. Sunlight, the next morning, revealed three sentences of blood-red graffiti on our sidewalk: Free the Panther 21; The Viet Cong have won; Kill the pigs.
For the next 18 months, I went to school in an unmarked police car. My mother, a schoolteacher, had plainclothes detectives waiting in the faculty lounge all day. My brother saved a few bucks because he didn't have to rent a limo for the senior prom: The NYPD did the driving.
In many ways, the enormity of the attempt to kill my entire family didn't fully hit me until years later, when, a father myself, I was tucking my own 9-year-old John Murtagh into bed.
Though no one was ever caught or tried for the attempt on my family's life, there was never any doubt who was behind it.Only a few weeks after the attack, the New York contingent of the Weathermen blew themselves up making more bombs in a Greenwich Village townhouse.
Weather involvement is not proven, but this ought to be researched (but not by me, right now; sorry [but see UPDATE II]).
My message - the Ayers-Obama connection is much deeper than most people realize - both worked together on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge, an attempt to reform Chicago's public schools, from 1995 to 2001 (or thereabouts).
Obama did not volunteer this link when asked about Ayers in the Philadelphia debate or at his website, although he seemed to allude to it in his Fox News interview by mentioning an education related board on which Obama served with Bill Ayers' father and brother. But the Chicago Annenberg Challenge is quite different from the Woods Fund of Chicago, where Obama and Ayers overlapped as board members. Ayers led the founding the the Chicago Annenberg Challenge and Obama was the first chairman, so they had to be working together. And a bonus angle - public school reform is obviously a hot topic, and Obama's foray into it led nowhere. Sort of like Hilary with health care, except that mid-90's failure is well known.
UPDATE: As one example of the "never killed anyone" defense, here is The Politico:
But — unlike some other fringe figures of the era — they’re also flatly unrepentant about the bombings they committed in the name of ending the war, defending them on the grounds that they killed no one, except, accidentally, their own members.
Here is the Times profile on Ayers; he is quoted as saying ''I didn't kill innocent people''.
UPDATE II: Page 98 of "The Way The Wind Blew:A History of the Weather Underground" By Ron Jacobs informs us that the weathermen tried to bomb the Murtagh family. It also tells us that at that time the Weatherman cells of 3-5 people were dispersed across the country and in only sporadic, irregular contact; Ayers was not in the NYC cell that bombed the Murtaghs and then blew themselves up a few weeks later. That said, we are also told that each cell was committed to armed action.
By odd coincidence, the chapter in which this information appears opens with a discussion of the feminist rift with the Weather Undergound initiated by Robin Morgan, who happens to have been in the news the last few weeks with a new book and a controversial essay reprising the 1970 essay mentioned in the Weatherman book.