Wyoming –-(Ammoland.com)- In Cody, Wyoming there are the remains of a WWII Japanese-American internment camp. Heart Mountain Relocation Center (HMRC) was the name of the camp. Sounds pleasant enough, sort of like a summer camp in the mountains that big city folk’s drive to for a season of family fun. It was only sixty miles from Yellowstone National Park; perhaps the Kawahara family could stop and see Old Faithful before driving over to HMRC.
No, HMRC was a concentration camp, just like the British built for the South Africans in the Boer War and the Nazis build for the Jews in WWII.
The two former stringers of barbed wire viewed their internees as enemies of the state. At HMRC the internees were in most cases, American citizens.
While these folks may have been Americans, they did not look like “normal” Americans.
You know blond haired, fair skinned, rugged Anglo-Saxon (read German) northern European types. Real Americans did not look like the people standing behind the wire at HMRC.
We were attacked by surprised on 7 December 1941, the day that will live in infamy, but by the military forces of the Nation of Japan, not the Inouye family of Southern, California. In fact, Grandpa Inouye had fought as an American soldier in WWI and was hauled off to HMRC in his “dough-boy” infantry uniform, with his combat ribbons and medals now not so proudly displayed on his uniform blouse.
Of course, you have to realize that I was born in 1955 and did not live the hysteria in the US just after Pearl Harbor. This nation was still in open segregation against blacks and the multi anti-Asian laws on the books did not help the plight of the Japanese-Americans. I believe the December 7th attack allowed already dislikes and prejudice against, in many cases, very successful Japanese-Americans to boil over. Now, there was a legal (all though not right) excuse to persecute Americans of a different race.
Please understand that President Roosevelt was spying on Japanese-Americans as far back as 1936. He did not like them, and he had harsh plans for them as soon as Roosevelt could goad Japan into attacking US interests. The problem was those interests turned out to be the US Navy at Pearl Harbor.
Approximately 110,000 Japanese-Americans were removed from their homes and sent to one of ten camps in the interior of America, to keep our coastal shorelines safe from “those people” who might want to help the Emperor of Japan invade California. In pictures of HMRC it looks like many of the WWII Army camps that were built in haste at the beginning of the war. Being retired military as I walked the HMRC site, if you did not know what really happened there you could get the feeling it was the very camp grandfather trained at before he shipped out to the Pacific to avenge Pearl Harbor.
Granted, few if any prisoners/internees were ever mowed down in a hail of machine gun bullets as they tried to rush the wire to escape HMRC, but some did actually go to real prison for draft evasion. As a young American male, you were by law required to register for the draft and expected to serve our country if called to fight. Yes, men interned at HMRC were required to register and then go fight if called to war to defend the very Nation that locked you and your family behind barbed wire. Oh and just before you shipped out your grandmother died in camp because her body just could not take the sub-zero weather of northwest Wyoming living in a tarpaper shack.
There is now a Heart Mountain Wyoming Foundation (heartmountain.org) that was established to preserve what is left of that camp and the memories both bad and good that were created there. Replica buildings have been constructed to be used as a museum and educational center.
I came across the phrase “balance our concern for National Security with a commitment to respect the basic civil rights of all our fellow citizens” in reference to remembering these camps that imprisoned citizens whose only crime was being an American who looked different. I believe this Nation will be attacked again on US soil. It will be horrific and we will seek out and destroy those who perpetrated the action. I fear it will be people who will not look and in this case even think the way “we” do.
I recently attended a lecture at Marquette Law School in Milwaukee where the guest speaker was Sam Mihara (http://sammihara.com/). Dr. Mihara is a retired rocket scientist who worked for the Boeing Company putting satellites into orbit for our nation. Dr. Mihara was also locked up in the American concentration camp at Heart Mountain, WY when he was nine years old. A total of three generation of his family were locked up with him.
His grandfather died in the camp and his dad went blind because the Army would not allow Dr. Mihara's father to continue eye treatments that he was undertaking back at their pre-war home in California.
As I listened to Dr. Mihara tell his story, my dislike for Roosevelt grew in intensity. Roosevelt locked up innocent Americans because they were different and only with intense legal action taken against Roosevelt's raciest regime were these Americans finally let out of their barbed wire cages.
Barbed wire is cheap and easy to string up and cage people inside. Those alleged bad people who might, or maybe, or you know just could possibly hurt good “normal” Americans, if you stand them behind that wire it makes for great photo-ops. If you are not an American citizen living in the US and you don’t like us–go home, now. But if you are an American and you look different (whatever that means) HMRC cannot happen again. That is also why we have a Second Amendment that allows citizens to arm themselves against an unjust government–protection not insurrection.
During the question and answer period of Dr. Mihara's lecture I asked him about the tendency for Americans of Japanese descent to vote liberal Democratic and not be pro Second Amendment. I asked him “what are you going to do the next time they come for you?”
He looked at me like I was asking something very strange. He then with what I thought was a sad excuse, advised me that the young folks (read younger liberal Americans of Japanese descent) were much smarter about the Constitution. So I guess when our over-reaching government locks up the next group of American citizens we do not agree with, the few tame ones of that group still outside the wire, who have law degrees can file suit and hope for the best.
How many Americans will die in the next concentration camp waiting for this nation to come to its senses?
If you are weak. If you are a minority. If you are different this is not a crime. Arm yourself using U.S. laws that say you have that “right.”
Barbed wire does not stop the winter cold of a concentration camp, but the Second Amendment will stop the building of those camps.
No matter where you came from, be an American, defend your family and your life. As a US citizen you swear allegiance to the Constitution, not to the men, good or bad who try to enforce it through manipulation.
Evil hates organization. Armed Americans are organized.
About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:
Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI. His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.” [email protected]