Monday, April 19, 2010

419 + 420

Today, April 19th, in Massachusetts and Maine, is Patriots' Day.

Patriots' Day (sometimes incorrectly punctuated Patriot's Day or Patriots Day) is a civic holiday commemorating the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the American Revolutionary War. It is observed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and State of Maine (once part of Massachusetts), and is a public school observance day in Wisconsin. Observances and re-enactments of these first battles of the American Revolution occur annually at Lexington Green in Lexington, Massachusetts, (around 6 am) and The Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts (around 9 am). In the morning, a mounted reenactor with State Police escort retraces Paul Revere's ride, calling out warnings the whole way.

Since 1969, the holiday has been observed on the third Monday in April, providing a three-day long weekend. In 2010, the date of April 19th falls on the celebrated Patriots' Day holiday on Monday. In Maine, it is being extended on April 20th, with the State of Maine government shutting down all state offices, for fiscal savings.

The Patriots' Grave (at top) in the Old Burying Ground, Arlington, Massachusetts, is a Masonic obelisk, as is the Acton Monument (below), gravesite of Abner Hosmer and Isaac Davis, who fell at North Bridge on April 19, 1775. The Revolutionary War was, in historical underpinning, a Masonic conflict.

The Boston Marathon is run on Patriots' Day every year so many Bostonians know the holiday as "Marathon Monday". Maine's oldest road race, the Boys and Girls Clubs Patriots' Day 5-Miler, is held in Portland, Maine. The Boston Red Sox have traditionally been scheduled to play at home in Fenway Park on Patriots' Day every year since 1959. Since 1968 the games have started early in the morning around 11:00 AM.

April 19 is also the anniversary of the deaths occurring at the end of the Waco events and the Oklahoma City bombing.

The Waco siege began on February 28, 1993, when the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) attempted to execute a search warrant at the Branch Davidian ranch at Mount Carmel, a property located nine miles (14 km) east-northeast of Waco, Texas. An exchange of gunfire resulted in the deaths of four agents and six followers of David Koresh. A subsequent 51-day siege by the Federal Bureau of Investigation ended on April 19 when fire destroyed the compound. Seventy-six people (24 of them British nationals) died in the fire, including more than 20 children, two pregnant women, and Koresh himself.

The Oklahoma City bombing was the bomb attack on the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995, when American militia movement sympathizer Timothy McVeigh detonated a truck filled with explosives parked in front of the building. McVeigh's co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, had assisted in the bomb preparation. Their motive allegedly was to avenge the government's handling of the Waco siege and Ruby Ridge incidents.

Don't forget. Tomorrow is 4.20.

April 20 is the 121th anniversary of the birth of Adolf Hitler and the 11th anniversary of the Columbine school killings. On April 20, 1999, one teacher, 12 students were killed and 24 wounded at Columbine High School, in Littleton, Colorado, by two heavily armed, trenchcoated students, 17 and 18, who then took their own lives. They liked speaking German to each other and "honored" Hitler, according to their diary entries.

Columbine School Shooting, April 20, 1999's list of dead:
* Cassie Bernall, 17
* Steven Curnow, 14
* Corey DePooter, 17
* Kelly Fleming, 16
* Eric David Harris, 18
* Matthew Kechter, 16
* Dylan Bennet Klebold, 17
* Daniel Mauser, 15
* Daniel Rohrbough, 15
* William David "Dave" Sanders, 47
* Rachel Scott, 17
* Isaiah Shoels, 18
* John Tomlin, 16
* Lauren Townsend, 18
* Kyle Velasquez, 16

April 19 is followed by 420.

What does "420" mean? April 20th? Or something deeper?

High school student Jeff Weise, an Ojibwa, killed ten, including himself, at the Red Lake Ojibwa Reservation in Minnesota, on March 21, 2005. A great admirer of Columbine, it was discovered that Weise left references to Columbine throughout his online presence. For example, he employed a username, which translated to "Abandoned 420."

Columbine and 420

Obviously, one meaning of "420" is directly linked to the Columbine date, as "4/20" is April 20, the anniversary of the Littleton, Colorado shootings. This date is also Adolf Hitler's birthday. The Columbine shooters, Klebold and Harris were extremely conscious that it was Hitler's birthdate, and often spoke German to each other, while walking around in long black trench coats, videotaping themselves.

Copycat Weise left messages on such sites as Weise wore a dark trench coat to school all year round, and had a swastika fascination, a symbol used by both First Nations people and Nazis. In one of Weise's online profiles, he noted that two of his favorite movies were Elephant and Zero Day, based on the events of the Columbine High School massacre.

Jeff Weise virtually haunted the Neo-Nazi Internet forum of the Libertarian National Socialist Green Party under the aliases NativeNazi and Todesengel (German for "Angel of Death"). He admired Hitler, his posts revealed. Weise also alleged online that his school was warned in 2004 that someone was going to "shoot up" the school on April 20, the birthday of Adolf Hitler and the anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre, and that the school authorities "pinned" the threat on him.

But Weise sometimes would sound almost typical. For example, on one of his user info pages, he said he was "nothin' but your average Native American stoner" and mentioned that he used marijuana. After Columbine, one oft-repeated story circulated that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were upset by an unfounded accusation made by an anonymous classmate that the two had brought marijuana to school, prompting a search of their property. Harris and Klebold were said to have found the incident humiliating.

The Other Meaning of 420

The use of "420" for almost four decades is related to the use of marijuana.

4:20 or 4/20 (pronounced four-twenty) is a term used in North America as a discreet way to refer to cannabis and, by extension, a way to identify oneself with cannabis culture. Phrases such as "420 friendly" sometimes appear in roommate advertisements, indicating that the current occupants are tolerant of cannabis users.

It is widely accepted that in 1971, a group of teenagers at San Rafael High School in San Rafael, California, calling themselves The Waldos, used to meet every day after school at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana at the Louis Pasteur statue. The term became part of their group's salute, "420 Louis," and it eventually caught on more widely. Many cannabis users continue to observe 4:20 as a time to smoke communally. By extension April 20 ("4/20" in U.S. dating shorthand) has evolved into a counterculture holiday, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis. Source: Wikipedia

It was the research of Steven Hager, editor of High Times, who found the term 420 originated at San Rafael High School in 1971, among the Waldos. A quote from one of the Waldos in the article notes, "We did discover we could talk about getting high in front of our parents without them knowing by using the phrase 420."

Adolf Hitler, marijuana, Columbine: For copycats, 420 appears to have served as a reflective mirror. For the rest of us, 420 may reflect a dangerous combination that has resulted in terrible memories that now reach beyond the mere date of April 20th.

P. S. - Please give me the intellectual respect to understand this is not an anti-drug message, but one about awareness of the twilight language behind code words like "420" in one shooter's message. To think this is as an anti-marijuana blog is as illogical as thinking I am going to let myself get involved in the quicksand of a pro-gun-control vs pro-gun debate. Blaming drugs, guns, video games, and the long list of candidates seems to ignore what's happening in the imprinted mind of the suicidal potential school or spree shooter.

Finally, a couple other "hot dates" in April are worthy of noting.

April 26th is Hitler's right hand man, Rudolf Hess's birthday and the anniversary of the Erfurt, Germany school shooting in 2002, when Robert Steinhäuser killed 16 and then himself.

Hitler died by his own hand, ten days after his birthday, on April 30, 1945, which was 65 years ago.


RonNasty said...

Wow. Informative and enthralling. Nicely done.

A. Magnus Publius said...

4/20 is also the date of 'Judgment Day' in the third installment of the Terminator film series...