“ARMY MATH” is an eyewitness account of the bombing by the SDS Weather Underground of the University of Wisconsin’s Army Mathematics Research Center on Monday, August 24, 1970.
Sam adds, “[I]t’s an account of the effect that level of violence had on the antiwar movement downstream of the event. My piece treats the aftermath – the counterculture’s rejection of violence as a way of ending the Vietnam War – at some length.
At the time, I was a student living across University Avenue at the St. Francis House, the Episcopal Student Center, when the Madison cell of the terror group blew up the Department of Defense research facility (e.g., the Claymore mine was developed there), killing a young post-doc named Robert Fassnacht. (Though only 33, “Fass” was already one of the nation’s foremost authorities on superconductivity.)
As I write in my account – with only a modicum of poetic license – “I was blown out of bed and woke up in a carnal embrace with a stained-glass Virgin Mary.”
The 1750-pound ANFO (ammonium nitrate fuel oil) bomb devastated the campus, and for a year afterward, turned UW into “Old Plywood U.” (It was calculated that more than 38,000 square feet of plywood were required to cover all the broken windows.)
It was the most destructive act of domestic terror in American history until Tim McVeigh and Oklahoma City 25 years later. Ironically, left and right used identical munitions – though McVeigh’s bomb had an extra 100 pounds of fertilizer.”
Sam now lives in Pensacola, FL, and can be reached at sam @ sammills.com