"It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush fires of freedom in the minds of men."

- Samuel Adams

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Should Taxpayers Fund Murrell's Fanciful Version of 'History''?

Grays Harbor history professor Gary Murrell, in his frequent misrepresentations of US history, doesn’t appear to like America. If he were just a private citizen, that’s his right to spout off. But as a history professor at Grays Harbor College, taxpayers are funding his erroneous teaching to our children. That shouldn’t be tolerated, and it’s time the public demanded an end to institutionally sanctioned lies and distortions.

In his letter response to Schaeffer, Murrell lies by omission. He wrote, “‘One of the most chilling images in early American history is the deliberate firing of Fort Mystic during the Pequot War of 1637,’ according to one historian. ‘Five hundred Indian men, women, and children died that day, burned alive along with their homes and possessions by a vengeful Puritan militia intent on doing God’s will.’ Is Murrell ignorant of facts, or is he purposely omitting details that changes the interpretation?

Why does Murrell omit that the colonialists felt their very survival was threatened when the Pequots had declared a war of annihilation? According to ‘A Brief History of the Pequot War’ (free at http://digitalcommons.unl.edu then search on the title), the Pequots had pledged a ‘Resolution to Destroy the English’ in which they also solicited the support of neighboring tribes. Fort Mystic was the Pequot’s primary staging point. A historical account of the killing of numerous colonials between 1634-7 gives some of the colonials’ rationale for the retribution. Do I fault the Pequots from wanting to drive off the English? No more than I fault the English for wanting to stay. That’s the way the world has evolved over tens of thousands of years.

Why does Murrell omit that over half the attacking colonial force were native Americans who hated the Pequots? In promoting their war against the colonials, the Pequots had solicited another tribe, the Narragansetts to kill the colonists’ cattle, burn the houses, and lie in ambush, while the Pequots and their depending tribes would do the killing. Some tribes feared the Pequots even more, and thus the Narragansetts and some of their Niantic allies sided and ‘marched’ with the colonists.

Yes, hundreds of men, women, and children died that day, but read the historical account and realize that many natives just refused to evacuate the burning fort. Was it unfortunate people died? Of course, and I’m not claiming either side was entirely wrong or right. But I am saying Murrell provides a frequently one-sided viewpoint that skews history towards his negative attitude towards America and organized religion. If you were threatened with extermination, what would you do?

In another omission, Murrell complains about the men who wrote the Constitution, calling them, “a group of bourgeois, fallible, wealthy white men — real estate speculators, merchants, slave owners — the richest men in their states.” He neglects to mention 23 of 40 were military veterans of the Revolution. Why? Probably he felt he couldn’t manipulate public sentiment by including it. He didn’t mention that by being rich but fighting the English in a war they weren’t sure they’d win, they could lose everything. To these men, the risk for freedom was everything. And not all the signers were wealthy. The Secretary of the Constitutional Congress, William Jackson, was an impoverished law student when he joined the signers. Nor does Murrell mention that these men were among the best educated in America, and that by NOT including a nobility system as in England, they actually were reducing the power of their legacy. Gone were titles they may have passed to their later generations. That took guts to create a meritocracy.

Murrell, in demeaning our Constitution, wrote, “contains some decidedly vile provisions as well, especially those that protect and promote the original sin of the United States: slavery.” Anyone who has studied the Constitution knows it didn’t ‘promote’ slavery – it tolerated it as a compromise to keep the country together. Slavery was an abhorrent practice (still practiced in Africa) but America has freed and uplifted more people around the world than any other nations, and should be so honored.

Murrell, no doubt is goading a public response, by using charged phrases, such as “those interlopers stumbled on to shore”...’”the theocratic invasion”... “terribly inconvenient to acknowledge the holocaust perpetuated in the genocide of First Peoples and Africans by the original Europeans and their descendants”...” deliberately sought to wipe out the indigenous population”. Like many progressives, Murrell is an apologist to Europeans setting foot on the Americas – and no doubt laments anyone from European descent being in Grays Harbor as a consequence.

It’s hypocritical that Murrell writes, “Schaeffer would be better off engaging in some serious study of U. S. history rather than attempting to mold and distort history to her dogmatic religious beliefs,” when it is he, as a paid public servant, who is distorting history to our children.

I am not unbiased in this debate. I distrust Murrell in anything he writes, and I’ve begged Grays Harbor College to take responsibility for his unprofessional lying and deleting academic records during a term. I’ve published an account of Murrell’s professorial dishonesty at http://graysharborgop.blogspot.com/2012/05/academic-dishonesty-at-grays-harbor.html.

Randy Dutton
CDR, USNR-Retired

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