An Interview With Daniel Berrigan
Americans don’t generally think of the consequences of war. We have grown calloused souls, with the help of a duplicitous leadership, an inert Congress, a morally cloudy church, and the jingoistic media. Add to this our historically embedded racism and you have a poisonous brew indeed, hardening hearts against thought or concern for the slaughtered innocents of Iraq.
Such peaceful, isolated rural houses, obscured by woods, miles from the nearest police, are sitting ducks for thieves. My neighborhood had ten burglaries in a single summer. Before robbing an area, burglars often take pictures of the houses, watch the residents, and make hang-up calls; they might pose as door-to-door evangelists. They hit most often in the early morning.
In 1913, my great-aunt Adela ran away with a boy intent on joining Pancho Villa’s revolutionary Army of the North. She was sixteen. The Revolution promised freedom from tyrants such as Díaz, Huerta, and her own father the rurales captain. Only her youngest brother did not disown her.
I did not begin training as a psychiatrist with an open mind. As strange as it might seem for someone beginning a career based on insight, I had resolved not to change. I was frightened that my personality might be pasteurized by the process, that forces would make of me a blank slate on which others would feel free to write their life stories.
In their letter to the weekly newspaper, the Klan hadn’t said what time they planned to arrive, just that on the anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination they would be in Churchill passing out literature and demonstrating. When I called around town to find out what people were planning to do about it, the consensus in the white community was that we should ignore them.
I’m forever telling myself how lucky I am to have you for a grandson. Your grandmother always said you were one in a million whenever you came to stay with us for a week in Florida. You ate what she gave you without any complaints, you fixed up the sofa bed every morning, and you always asked if there was something you could do for her to help. She loved introducing you to everyone at the clubhouse