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No. 20, March 1, 1968, p. 1

Praise the Lord

February 26th

Induction refusals today, again, and the times are changing. Two guys — a seminarian and a teaching assistant. Lots of groovy cats walking around, like about three-hundred or so, carrying flags and wearing dog collars, and ties and suits — people from Newton, and places like that, and Lununberg, and Fitchburg. Some doctors, and priests, and radical chicks, and everybody into this thing, with B.D.R.G. and Resistance marshalls moving bodies around. And four very straight theology profs stopping in a diner for coffee, and this fat little cop coming and saying "Get back to the parade you motherfuckers!" Praise the Lord.

I went in to refuse that induction — and I am now a broken man — somehow scared, shocked, mad, and more deeply radical than ever, all at the same time.

I went in there to push, to shake up the system, to find a way to say NO to it, and I guess that started to happen — like the Colonel shook so much when I handed him my four legal papers that he couldn't hold onto them ... and the little sergeant who kept nervously pleading "Please, please, no trouble today"... and the examining officer who couldn't understand why I refused to fill out his damn forms. But beside the fact that this system begins to crumble when an honest question is raised, there was the maniacal horror of it all.

Inside were all these scared baby-faced kids whose guts were being ripped out by pie-faced cats in shitty green suits who justified their lives and deeds with references to endless regulations carried out by ass-licking sergeants.

I asked a kid what he came for, and he couldn't speak — he dropped his eyes, and his humanity. Another laughed, told a joke about peace-creeps and demonstrators, and then shook with fear when his row was called. And I tried to speak — and then I was told to leave.

I hassled a little more, made the Colonel sign some more papers, which started him quivering and grunting again ... and I left. And then we all started chanting and moving all the hell over downtown streets, screaming our lungs out to the accompaniment of crashing buildings in demolition projects and the quizzing eyes and foul mouths of shoppers, addicts, cabbies, and business children.

And when we left, one by one, to come again and again until those stones hear and the system is stopped from destroying all that is or ever might be.

Jim Oestereich

Mel Lyman