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John Bear's Bear With Me column is online at coloradodaily .com/columnists

Dear Editor:

I appreciated reading John Bear's commentary "Politics and an Origin Story" on June 2. It reminded me of an incident I was involved in when I was a college student in Boulder back in 1991.

During the Persian Gulf massacre, I had a body bag that I painted with the words "War is a Crime Against Humanity." I used it for dozens of impromptu die-in anti-war demonstrations in various public places, typically by myself or with a friend passing out leaflets. I also used it as a banner during anti-war marches. I carried the body bag around with me, usually with the text books in my daypack, so I would be prepared for a spontaneous die-in demonstration anytime, anywhere.

One day, I had an appointment at the University Memorial Center to have the yearbook staff take my senior photo, so I wore a dark blue suit with a red tie, like I was on my way to a job interview. I was carrying my body bag in a briefcase. I had no idea that the College Republicans were holding a pro-war rally outside the UMC by the Dalton Trumbo Fountain.

I walked out of the UMC after my appointment and found a crowd of people angrily arguing about the Persian Gulf massacre. I walked up between the pro-war demonstrators and the anti-war counter-protesters who were facing off against each other. I set down my briefcase, opened it, pulled out my body bag, and laid down in it between the opposing sides.


Two guys picked me up in my body bag by my ankles and upper arms. They started swinging me back and forth, like they were going to throw me into the Dalton Trumbo Fountain, which had no water in it at the time.

The vice-chairman of the College Republicans, who was a friend of mine, demanded that these guys put me down immediately, which they did.

News photographers on the scene took pictures of the incident with the guys threatening to hurl me into the fountain. The photos appeared in local Boulder newspapers, the Denver Post and the New York Times. I thought it was interesting that the College Republicans were able to get the New York Times to cover their pro-war rally in Boulder.

Gary Swing, Denver