the agents were invited to speak in support of the Johnson administration’s policy in Vietnam, but they declined. The officer demanded Petrick’s serial number, and remarked later, “You’ll be reading more about what happens to Petrick.” What is to happen? A continuing investigation is in progress by Army officials now. Petrick says he’s waiting action on the part of the Dept. of the Army. Meanwhile he’s speaking before anti-war groups around the state. He won’t be going to Vietnam. His unit is due to leave for the war this fall, but Petrick was transferred to an inactive outfit. Petrick contends that support for this war is unusually low among U.S. soldiers. “We have a saying in the Army,” he told his Austin audience, “that when morale is good, nobody talks about it. When the officers start talking about morale they are worried, and when they say it’s good you know it’s bad. When the President sends General Westmoreland all the way to Washington to announce it’s better then it’s ever been . . . well, you can draw your own conclusions.” As for his fellow G.I.’s, Petrick says that “People have come up to me on the base and offered Austin On Jan. 26 George Vizard, IV, a young opponent of this nation’s involvement in the Vietnam war, was arrested and carried bodily from the Capitol by four officers of the law, while attempting to hand out leaflets inside the building during a speech by Secy. of State Dean Rusk before a joint session of the Texas legislature \(Obs., Hubert Humphrey addressed another joint session here, Vizard protested loudly to police when they permitted a 17-year-old Austin youth to walk up to a group of pacifists, grab a sign from one of them, and throw it into the face of a young woman. Vizard was quickly hustled away by friends before officers could arrest him. The next day, however, he was arrested on a charge of abusive language. Vizard, dropping limp to the floor at a University of Texas eating place, was dragged about 100 yards from the building by officers of the Dept. of Public Safety, severely skinning his back, injuries that required hospitalization. He was one of three students banned from the campus by court injunction sought by the U.T. regents on the grounds, as the regents’ petition alleged, that he has “actively opposed the rules and regulations of the University of Texas, as well as vocally and openly opposing the actions of the United States of America in its foreign affairs, thus engaging in activities adverse to the best interest of the University of Texas” Sunday morning, July 23, about 7:30 6 The Texas Observer their support. I have gotten little hostility from the rank and file. The officers regard it as sort of a pain. They’re careful about what they say to me.” As in the case of the Fort Hood Three, a national committee has been organized to assist Petrick and raise a defense fund, should one be required. Other Fort Hood soldiers are coming to express their doubts about and opposition to this nation’s Vietnam policy. Austin on weekends often is the scene of protracted discussion among local folk and Fort Hood soldiers on pass, debating the morality and legality of the U.S. in Vietnam. During “Flipped-Out Week,” sponsored by the U.T. Students for a Democratic Society in April, four Fort Hood servicemen came, each by himself, to participate in a peace march that Saturday to a downtown park, where some 300 persons gathered. Each of the four soldiers discovered that he was not alone at Fort Hood in doubting the rightness of the war. In June, when Petrick spoke in Austin, several servicemen from Fort Hood came as a delegation to the forum sponsored by the UTCEWV. LI o’clock, someone shot and killed the 23year-old Vizard at a drive-in grocery in a residential neighborhood of northwest Austin where he worked. His friends in Austin and in other Texas cities who are involved in the peace movement immediately suspected assassination; Vizard’s life had been threatened several times this year, his friends say, because of his activities in the peace movement. However, police here believe the death was incidental to a robbery at the grocery where Vizard worked. More than $300 was taken from a safe that had been pried open in the back of the drive-in. Another $60 was left in a cash register; that cash was not in plain sight. The latest word from police was that no arrests have been made, though one or two suspects, with records of armed robbery, were in mind. Another local drive-in, which is open all night, had been robbed two hours before Vizard was killed. Austin police received more than 50 telegrams from 21 states demanding that the mystery of Vizard’s death be solved. Most of the messages were from peace groups, particularly in the Eastern part of the country. “How long will Texas continue to stain our national honor?” a telegram from Arlington, Mass., said. William F. Pepper, Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., executive director of the National Conference for New Politics, wired that he hopes a “private investigation will not be necessary.” About 400 persons were attending a meeting in Dallas of the United Texas Organizations for Peace, a gathering that Vizard had planned to attend, when word of the killing was heard on the radio in Dallas, about noon. The meeting was adjourned after the passage of a resolution that called Vizard “a martyr to the cause of peace, non-violence, and reason. He, like the peace workers of Houston who just two weeks ago were attacked by Marine reservists [see story on page 7], was a victim of the brutalizing process that is going on in America today in the name of superpatriotism.” Of particular concern to those in Dallas was the statement reported on the radio, attributed to Austin police Lt. Burt Gerding, that the killing might well have been political. Gerding told the Observer he didn’t say that. About 30 pacifists drove to Austin for a meeting that evening. At the University YMCA more than 150 persons met to consider the situation. There was some discussion about marching either to the Capitol or the police station in protest. Particularly keen for some sort of public demonstration of outrage were the persons who had come from the Dallas meeting. The Austin associates of Vizard, young people mostly,’ and among the most militant of the local peace movement, were less certain that such a step would be wise, expressing uncertainity that the death was clearly an assassination. One Austinite felt some protest was indicated, however. “Who here really doubts who killed George Vizard?” demanded Jim Damon, a leader of the U.T. Committee to End the War in Vietnam. About this time Vizard’s wife walked in and was introduced to the crowd. She spoke for five minutes, with quiet composure. “Thank all of you for your concern and consideration. I think it is a very fine thing that all of these people have come here. . . . I understand there is some question whether this was a robbery or has some political meaning. Of course, it is possible it had some political meaning. Until this is disproved I don’t think we can discount the. possibility. . . . If so, I hope it won’t have the effect of stopping the political movements that have arisen here. . . . “[If the death was not political] we have to understand that that is the system, that is what the system does. It can drive you mad and drive you to killing. “I do ask you all to consider everything you undertake very carefully. . . . I don’t want to see people go flying off the handle thinking this is something it is not at all.” Mrs. Vizard then announced the funeral arrangements, her voice becoming almost inaudible, and left. The decision was made, after some discussion, to conduct a eulogy for Vizard that evening at a downtown park. Two days later he was buried in his home city of San Antonio after a funeral in Austin. At the funeral the Rev. Robert Breihan, director of the Methodist Student Center near the U.T. campus, said of Vizard, “He perceived the horrors of war and declared them intolerable.” G.O. A Sudden Death
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