I wrote about Eddie Hatcher in my first four posts for this blog called Iran Contra’s Dark Secret Revisited With Activist’s Death. Today would have been Eddie’s 52nd birthday. He died this past May 1st.
When I was in North Carolina in 1996 trying to produce a film about Eddie and the larger Iran Contra cocaine backdrop, I held a press conference to expose what I had uncovered about Jesse Helms and his connection to the cocaine of the Contras and the cocaine-funded military coups in South America, and the conspiracy to persecute Eddie.
At that press conference, there was a reporter/columnist there from the Wilmington Morning Star. Her line of questioning to me was from the perspective that I was glorifying Eddie, who had terrorized 19 people the day he and Timmy Jacobs took the hostages at the Daily Robesonian newspaper.
One of her co-workers had been one of Eddie’s hostages. The woman had suffered nightmares and anxiety from the ordeal she suffered at the hands of Eddie and Timmy.
I have never condoned the hostage taking. I should note here that Eddie and Timmy let many people go free. Regardless, the hostage taking was designed to draw attention to government collusion in the drug running that was destroying Robeson County and other parts of North Carolina—and America—with the cocaine aspect of the Iran Contra conspiracy.
Eddie and Timmy freely agreed to turn themselves over to law enforcement and stand trial. And to the point raised by Eddie’s critics about the hostage taking I would raise this point: George Bush lied to get us into a war with Iraq where 4664 Americans have died so far and 31,494 have been wounded. This does not take into account the, perhaps, hundred thousand who will have nightmares and other psychological disorders as a result of the trauma of war.
What Eddie subjected the hostages to also pales when compared to what Wall Street bankers did to the millions who lost their jobs and their homes with the economic melt down last year they caused.
What about the nightmares and psychological disorders and shattered lives that resulted from their greedy and borderline criminal behavior? I don’t remember them being interested in turning themselves over to law enforcement or standing trial for their misdeeds. I have not even heard them offering up an apology.
And what about the number of people who have suffered as a result of being denied surgeries prescribed by doctors and who went bankrupt because of health insurance industry greed?
What Eddie did had nothing to do with greed, you see, no matter how evil his critics believe his actions were. It had to do with trying to draw attention to a government-involved drug running scheme and avoid being killed by local law enforcement practically the very same day.
His motives were to help stop the drug scourge that was rampant in Robeson County and destroying the community. Eddie did not make billions off his actions.
I used to be confused and confounded by Eddie’s detractors when they did not see the significance of the larger conspiracy Eddie tried to expose in the context of his actions, but after the Tea Baggers this summer, I can see that there are too many stupid people out there.
If Eddie had made billions off his actions he may have been regarded as a folk hero—an opposite and equally erroneous opinion, in my opinion—of what he really was.
But Eddie did not make billions like those who profited off the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or make billions on Wall Street foreclosing on homeowners, or make billions from honest, hard working Americans paying their health insurance premiums.
Many of those who despised Eddie were ignorant of the larger story. But it goes beyond that. Here in America, it seems there are those who prefer being on the side of those, like Helms, who were responsible for the cocaine coming into America to destroy lives and cause nightmares and psychological disorders.
As I said, I don’t condone what Eddie did, but if you compare Eddie’s actions to the actions of others—like American presidents and CEOs---Eddie should have a statue erected in his honor in Washington, DC.