Did the zoning dispute go badly for him? No doubt. Did he have multiple chances to avoid that outcome? It seems like it. Did the city leave him no choice but to do what he did? Well, most schools of morality posit that even in the most bitter business disputes, there are always non-Killdozer options.
It’s Sheer Dumb Luck That No One Died
Heemeyer’s bad temper and general cantankerousness were well-known enough that when his rampage started, Piechocki immediately knew that the man in the homemade tank destroying the town had to be him. “I don’t think there was any question at the time who it was while it was still going down.” He added, “I felt his purpose was to destroy as much property as he could in as short a time as he could.” Specifically the property of those who had wronged him. In addition to the newspaper, Heemeyer tore through the concrete plant, the town hall, a hardware store owned by another man he had a dispute with — he’d made a list. That’s where the noble vigilante story comes into play. He wasn’t out to hurt anybody, they say, just to do to others what they’d done to him.
But as Piechocki points out, the lack of a body count was down to pure luck. “When he attacked the town hall, the library is in there, and my son was in that library at that time. Gambles, the store he got stuck in, what happened if somebody was stuck in there?” In fact, most of the buildings were occupied right up until the inhabitants ran away screaming that a Killdozer was coming their way.
Pilgrim StudiosSo really, more Attempedkilldozer.
Oh, and those gun ports weren’t for decoration. Heemeyer at one point stopped to shoot at some huge propane tanks with that .50 caliber. We’re not experts, but “firing high-caliber rifles at gigantic explosive tanks” does not seem like the sort of thing you do if you’re super concerned with avoiding civilian casualties (the police say that if they’d ruptured, anyone within half a mile would have been in danger). Or maybe he was concerned, but figured the possible death of a random child or two was part of the cost of getting justice for the death of his muffler shop.
The fact that the public was so eager to turn Heemeyer into a hero probably says less about him and more about our hilariously low standards for heroism.
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Bulldozers and all such derivatives are best experienced in Hot Wheels form.
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