Rocky Mountain Demolition Man Marvin Heemeyer Was An Air Force Veteran
Marvin Heemeyer, the Granby, Colorado man who assaulted the town in protest against the building of a concrete factory near his muffler shop, and allegedly killed himself, was an Air Force veteran according to this Rocky Mountain News article about him.
My immediate response to Heemeyer's military style assault on the town was that he must have had some military training in his past, and sure enough he did. Given the date of his entry into the Air Force, 1969, Heemeyer was most likely a participant in the most intense aerial bombardment in history, the bombing of the three predominantly peasant nations of Indochina, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, from the air by U.S. military forces.
Days before the U.S. led invasion of Iraq last year, International Solidarity activist Rachel Corrie of Olympia, Washington was killed by an Israeli soldier operating a U.S. made Caterpillar bulldozer in occupied Rafah in the Gaza Strip. Corrie was killed while unarmed and was attempting to prevent the demolition of the home of a Palestinian pharmacist. What we saw in Granby on Friday is happening in the Occupied Territories to Palestinians on a daily basis. The homes and farms of Palestinians are being bulldozed on a daily basis to make way for exclusively Israeli settlements, and these tactics of using bulldozers against a population living under military occupation are being used by U.S. forces in Iraq as well.
The reaction to the killing of Rachel Corrie has been very revealing about our political culture. No official investigation has been taken up by the U.S. Congress, even though this it is this political body that appropriated the money that made it possible for the Israeli soldier who killed Corrie to have a bulldozer to drive around with in the Occupied Territories in the first place. Of course, Corrie's death has been greeted nothing but applause from pro-war right-wingers. This tells us a lot about our political culture. Running over an unarmed woman with a bulldozer is condoned by the dominant political culture of our society and this is why I'm more than a little tired of seeing these reactions of "surprise" at the events in Granby two days ago. You reap what you sow, and that's what was happening in Granby. The incident in Granby was just another day in the life of the Empire. Until the dominant political culture of this country disowns the use of military violence as a means for expressing its political will globally, we can only expect more incidents like one in Grandby on Friday.
It is won't be surprising if psychiatrists and critics of psychiatric drugs will line up to posthumously exonerate Heemeyer for his actions on the grounds that he was either crazy for what he did or that any psychiatric drugs he might have been on "caused" him to behave the way he did in his final hours. Right now I haven't read any biographical accounts of Heemeyer stating he was in psychiatric treatment before he carried out his assault on Grandby. We'll find out soon enough since this story is getting so much media attention. -Rick
Acquaintances describe two different sides to Heemeyer
By Tillie Fong, Brian D. Crecente And Charlie Brennan, Rocky Mountain News
June 5, 2004
Marvin John Heemeyer was a happy-go-lucky guy who looked out for others, a snowmobile enthusiast licensed to perform weddings.
Bob King, owner of Pancho and Lefty's bar in Grand Lake, said Heemeyer came in every Thursday afternoon. He was part of a crowd of drinkers called the Thursday Group, who came in after snowmobiling.
"He was enjoying life. He was a pretty active guy. He was always pleasant and jovial when he came in here. This was a total shock to me," King said.
But there were others who knew another side to the 6-foot, 230-pounder with the neatly trimmed graying beard and hair.
Although Heemeyer never threatened or attacked him, -Thomas Hale, Granby's town manager, thought his behavior was odd. Hale said that whenever he saw Heemeyer in Grand Lake and said hello, Heemeyer would just walk away.
Ken Heemeyer said he lost track of his older brother after Marvin went into the Air Force in 1969.
"There's a lot more to what he's doing in Granby," said Ken Heemeyer, who lives in Castlewood, S.D.
Cliff Eudy was a former business partner of Heemeyer during the late 1970s and ran Scotty Mufflers before the two had a falling out in 1980.
Eudy remembered he first met Heemeyer in 1978 when he went to work for him for about seven months at one of the Scotty Mufflers shops on West Colfax Avenue.
Eventually, Eudy said he and Heemeyer bought out Scotty Mufflers from Bud Karsh and proceeded to own four shops.
Their business problems began when they fell into debt and owed money to Exhaust and Suspension Systems.
Eudy said the two had agreed to raise money to pay off the debt. Eudy was able to borrow $10,000 from his ex-wife's family and put it in the bank.
Heemeyer didn't do his share, however, and tried to withdraw money from Eudy's account, Eudy recalled.
"I told him that's not fair to me," Eudy said. "We sat down and talked for three or four weeks, and I thought by talking to him I thought I had an understanding that we could do things together."
They couldn't, and the two went their separate ways. Hee-meyer took over a shop on South Broadway in Englewood and renamed it the Mid-States Muffler Shop, while Eudy took control of a shop on West Colfax.
The two got rid of muffler stores in Commerce City and East Colfax Avenue because they were losing money.
Eudy said he later was forced to go into bankruptcy. Heemeyer, he said, sold his muffler shop on South Broadway and opened up a new one in Boulder. Eudy didn't see or hear from Heemeyer much afterward.
Colorado records showed that Heemeyer owned a business, Cornice Snowmobile, which was formed in 1996 but dissolved in 2002.
While Eudy said he didn't think Heemeyer had a short temper, he thought Heemeyer was a shady businessman.
"He was a very friendly, personal type of guy until you really got involved with him," Eudy said. "In my mind and in my opinion, he's a backstabber. He was real nice when he could get what he could out of you. When he got to the point where he couldn't get what he could out of you, he would get nasty."
On a January afternoon spent drinking, Bonnie Brown, 48, Heemeyer's friend for the past year, saw a darker side to a man whom she considered compassionate.
Heemeyer said he was angry about how the town had treated him, that he felt he had been cheated.
"He was talking about the sale of his business and how he had to pay too much money for it and how the town was involved in undercutting him and would charge him excessive taxes and all these other fees that they had not assessed to other people," she said.
Brown said he told her that he would build a bulldozer and attack the people who had hurt him.
"I wasn't really paying attention, because I didn't really think he was capable of doing something like this," Brown said. "He has never showed any signs of anything like this."
Brown was shocked when she saw that Heemeyer was carrying out what she thought were idle threats. When she heard second- hand reports that Heemeyer appeared to be firing from his bulldozer with a large-caliber weapon, she doubted that could be true.
She said she couldn't imagine the man she knew causing physical harm, even to his sworn enemies.
"I know that even in doing this, he would never want to harm anyone," she said. "I don't think he would hurt them intentionally, but that he would go after their business and hurt them financially, the way they hurt him."
Brown said it was difficult to reconcile the friend she considered so kind with the man who welded himself into an armored bulldozer and rampaged through Granby.
"This is not like him," she said. "He was easygoing, happy-go- lucky. He was compassionate."
A native of South Dakota, Heemeyer moved to Colorado in the mid-1970s.
Brown met Heemeyer after going on a date with one of his best friends.
"That didn't work out, and so then Marv wanted to take me out," she said. "We talked about going ice fishing and different activities, but then I never wanted to do it. He just wasn't my type. I just thought he was a nice guy and he was a friend and that he would find somebody else."
Brown described Heemeyer as a protective friend, someone who looked out for others.
Granby by the numbers:
Granby is 95 miles west and north of Denver.
- Population: 1,525
- Elevation: 7,935 feet
- Annual snowfall: 100 inches
- Median home value: $153,200
- Racial makeup:
crecenteb@RockyMountainNews.com or 303-892-2811Staff writers Lynn Bartels and Hector Gutierrez contributed to this report.
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