Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, and James Kilgore—three communist revolutionaries who were part of domestic terror groups and who all spent years on the run from the law—approved as a man called for “citizen’s tribunals” against the National Rifle Association to be held at the United Nations.
The comments came at an event promoting the criminal justice reform being pushed by President Obama and the Black Lives Matter movement.
After a question about gun violence in Chicago, a man in the front row suggested one solution would be to “indict the NRA.” It’s unclear how that would solve the high murder rate in Chicago, which has some of the toughest gun control laws in the nation.
Bill Ayers called the idea of a “people’s tribunal” against the NRA “beautiful,” and Bernardine Dohrn nodded in agreement. Both Dorhn and Ayers were leaders in the Weather Underground, a violent offshoot of the Students for a Democratic Society, whose goal was the overthrow of the United States’ government.
In the video, Ayers is wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt. As Breitbart News has reported, #BlackLivesMatter co-founder Patrisse Cullors was mentored by Eric Mann, a comrade of Ayers and Dorhn who was in Students for a Democratic Society and Weatherman.
The call for an anti-gun tribunal is especially sick given the event’s guest of honor, James Kilgore.
James Kilgore was promoting his book Understanding Mass Incarceration: A People’s Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time. The author description describes Kilgore:
About the author: James Kilgore is a writer, an educator, and a social justice activist who teaches and works at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He spent six years in prison, during which time he drafted his three published novels.
That biography does not mention what Kilgore went to prison for a murder that happened during a bank robbery he was part of when he was with the notorious Symbionese Liberation Army.
Let’s fill in some of the details on the past of this mass incarceration expert.
James Kilgore & The Symbionese Liberation Army
Meet James Kilgore, one of the voices helping boost President Obama’s current criminal justice reform agenda.
If people today remember the Symbionese Liberation Army for anything at all, it’s for the 1974 kidnapping of 19-year-old heiress Patty Hearst. Hearst became part of the group and engaged in bank robbery and recorded messages for the group. After her release, Hearst said she was brainwashed, threatened with death, and sexually assaulted.
Most people don’t recall, however, that the group were avowedly communist revolutionaries who, like the Weather Underground, were intent on a guerrilla war to overthrow the United States. The SLA’s slogan was “Death to the fascist insect that preys on the life of the people.”
Kilgore did not drift along with the group; he was a longtime admirer of the SLA who joined after a bloody shootout with police left many SLA members dead, including the group’s leader Donald Weems. James Kilgore knew exactly with whom he was getting involved.
James Kilgore & The Senseless Death of Myrna Opsahl
On April 28, Kilgore and the other members of the SLA robbed the Crocker National Bank in Carmichael, California. A woman named Myrna Opsahl was bringing money from church to the bank when the SLA arrived and shot her.
As the son of one of the other innocent bystanders told the Los Angeles Times about the SLA’s act of terror at the bank that day:
“When they told everyone to hit the floor,” he said, “Myrna was carrying an adding machine in her hand. She didn’t want to drop it, so she didn’t move fast enough.”
“That’s when they turned and blew her away,” Squier said. “My mom, being a nurse, knew it was fatal. There’s a kind of a death gasp when they’re expiring.”
As the New York Times reported in 2002:
The case has long tormented Ms. Opsahl’s family because Patricia Hearst Shaw described years ago in a book and to the police her version of how the robbery and murder took place.
She told of an elaborate and well-executed plan, implicating several former associates of the S.L.A., a group that cut a violent swath through California in pursuit of what it called an agenda of revolutionary change on behalf of minorities.
One haunting detail of Kilgore’s crime is that Opsahl’s husband was a doctor who was on duty when his wife was brought in. A friend of the Opsahls was also on duty that grim day. The Los Angeles Times reported:
“There was nothing anybody could do,” Carolyn Reece said. “Can you imagine the shock of finding out that this is your friend and, more unfortunately, that this poor soul is your beloved, cherished wife?
“I remember how my husband came home devastated from the hospital. I remember how sick at heart he was. I remember how Trygve looked, I remember how the children looked. I remember the funeral, the dinner afterwards and those precious, motherless children.
However, James Kilgore and the rest of the SLA weren’t thinking about Myrna, her husband, or her four motherless children. There was no time for remorse, since they were consumed with thinking about themselves and their “comrades.” The Los Angeles Times continues:
Kilgore complained that (fellow SLA member) Emily Harris was careless with her shotgun and had nearly killed him instead of Opsahl.
(SLA member) William Harris brought in part of a shotgun shell, saying, “This is the murder round.”
“If it hadn’t been for good old Myrna,” he said, “one of our comrades would have been dead.”
While the Opsahl family dealt with grief from that day, Kilgore went on the run and hid out in South Africa. Kilgore enjoyed his life there, becoming a political activist and getting a degree.
In 2002, he was finally brought to justice in the United States and was in prison until 2009.
James Kilgore Covers Up His Past
Nowhere in the one-hour discussion with Bill Ayers in the Chicago bookstore promoting his book on mass incarceration a few weeks ago did James Kilgore mention “good old Myrna,” the mother of four who bled to death on the floor of a bank because she didn’t want to break her church’s adding machine. Nor did Kilgore mention his membership in the Symbionese Liberation Army.
This lack of transparency is par for the course with Kilgore. His biography on his website says:
The author, James Kilgore, lived as a fugitive in South Africa from 1991 to 2002 under the name John Pape. He was an educator, researcher and activist. In 2002, authorities extradited him to the United States where he served six and a half years in prison for political offenses committed in the 1970s.
A “political offenses committed in the 1970s” is Mr. Kilgore’s euphemism for a cold-blooded murder committed and then covered up by communist ideologues of the SLA.
After his release from prison, Kilgore applied for a job at the University of Illinois but left out a key detail:
In 2009, Kilgore wrote to Bowen that he had recently moved to Champaign to rejoin his family after living in Africa for nearly two decades. He did not mention that he had been imprisoned. He included a resume that had a gap in employment from 2002, when he was working in South Africa, to the present, when he described himself as a “self-employed writer.”
Kilgore was briefly removed but then an on-campus leftist organization got 300 signatures to have his job restored. That group and Kilgore are closely allied with Black Lives Matter. Kilgore donated a copy of his book to the Champaign-Urbana chapter of Black Lives Matter for their recent kick-off event.