Before Katherine Ann Power can really come to terms with her past as an anti-Vietnam War revolutionary, she should come to terms with the suffering of her victims. And there were many: A policeman slain in a 1970 Boston bank robbery as she drove the getaway car. A widow forced to live in a housing project. Nine children who had to grow up without a father. All the many relatives in an extended family with a law enforcement tradition who had to watch anti-war campus activists issue pamphlets exulting: "Pig is dead."
Yet all Ms. Power could say in a self-indulgent statement issued when she gave herself up after 23 years of undeserved freedom-on-the-lam was that Officer Walter A. Schroeder's death was "shocking to me." She described her deeds as "naive and lTC unthinking" but not that they were wrong and the cause of deep anguish to the Schroeder family.
Not only that. She claimed she was "not directly responsible" for the killing even though Massachusetts law is explicit that anyone charged in a murder felony can be charged with murder. And she still seeks to excuse her actions, saying "the illegal acts that I committed arose, not from any desire for personal gain but from a deep philosophical and spiritual commitment that if a wrong exists one must take active steps to stop it, regardless of the consequences to oneself in comfort and security."
Ponder that statement. No personal gain? What about her emotional rewards from being part of the anti-war movement among campus radicals? One must take active, i.e., illegal, steps. This from a war protester whose excuse was that "the law was being broken everywhere." Regardless of consequences to oneself? What about the consequences to the innocent victims of crimes committed under the anti-war banner?
Even today, Ms. Power's assessment of her past and present remains unconvincing. It resonates with the arrogance of those who were not content to protest the war through peaceful means but thought they had some moral right to commit criminal acts even at the risk of harm to others.
She did not give herself up to atone for her guilt. She gave herself up because of a desire to get some release from lifelong clinical depression. And when she did so, it was only after a year's negotiation with legal authorities and a New Age supper to tell Oregon friends she was not the chef and mom named Alice Metzinger she had pretended to be.
Ms. Powers is to be sentenced Oct. 6. We hope justice will be served.