|In the month of April, there were killings at Waco, Oklahoma City and
Columbine High School....There was another massacre in 1914 during a coal
strike at Ludlow. Here is an editorial in the Rocky Mountain News about
The Massacre of the Innocents
(Rocky Mountain News, 22 April 1914)
The horror of the shambles at Ludlow is overwhelming. Not since the days
when pitiless red men wreaked vengeance upon intruding frontiersmen and
upon their women and children has this Western country been stained with
so foul a deed.
The details of the massacre are horrible. Mexico offers no barbarity so base
as that of the murder of defenceless women and children by the mine
guards in soldiers' clothing. Like whitened sepulchres we boast of American
civilization with this infamous thing at our very doors. Huerta murdered
Madero, but even Huerta did not shoot an innocent little boy seeking water
for his mother who lay ill. Villa is a barbarian, but in his maddest excess
Villa has not turned machine guns on imprisoned women and children.
Where is the outlaw so far beyond the pale of humankind as to burn the
tent over the heads of nursing mothers and helpless little babies?
Out of this infamy one thing stands clear. Machine guns did the murder.
The machine guns were in the hands of mine guards, most of whom were
also members of the state militia. It was private war, with the wealth of the
richest man in the world behind the mine guards.
Once and for all time the right to employ armed guards must be taken
away from private individuals and corporations. To the state, and to the
state alone, belongs the right to maintain peace. Anything else is anarchy.
Private warfare is the only sort of anarchy the world has ever known, and
armed forces employed by private interests have introduced the only
private wars of modern times. This practice must be stopped. If the state
laws are not strong enough, then the federal government must step in. At
any cost, private warfare must be destroyed.
Who are these mine guards to whom is entrusted the sovereign right to
massacre? Four of the fraternity were electrocuted recently in New York.
They are the gunmen of the great cities, the offscourings of humanity,
whom a bitter heritage has made the wastrels of the world. Warped by the
wrongs of their own upbringing, they know no justice and they care not for
mercy. They are hardly human in intelligence, and not as high on the scale
of kindness as domestic animals.
Yet they are not the guilty ones. The blood of the innocent women and
children rests on the hands of those who for the greed of dollars employed
such men and bought such machines of murder.
The world has not been hard upon these; theirs has been a gentle
upbringing. Yet they reck not of human life when pecuniary interests are
The blood of the women and children, burned and shot like rats, cries aloud
from the ground. The great state of Colorado has failed them. It has
betrayed them. Her militia, which should have been the impartial protectors
of the peace, have acted as murderous gunmen. The machine guns which
played in the darkness upon the homes of humble men and women, whose
only crime was an effort to earn an honest living, were bought and paid for
by agents of the mine owners. Explosive bullets have been used on children.
Does the bloodiest page in the French Revolution approach this in
In the name of humanity, in the name of civilization, we have appealed to
President Wilson. His ear heard the wail of the innocent, outraged and
dying in Mexico. Cannot the president give heed to the sufferings of his
Think, Mr. President, of the captain of the strikers, Louis Tikas, whose truce
with the gunmen was ended with his murder. Think of the fifty-one shots
which were passed thorough the strike leader. Think of his body, which has
lain exposed since his infamous killing. Then, with that vast power which
has been committed to you as the executive of a great nation, attend to the
misery wrought by an anarchistic lust for dollars. Without your speedy aid
the poor and the needy, betrayed by the state, may be slaughtered to the
last smiling babe.