A notable philosopher once wrote: “all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice… the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce.”
The tragedy: occurred in November 1915 when labor organizer and songwriter Joe Hill was convicted on uncorroborated circumstantial evidence and executed by a Utah firing squad. Hill’s case, appearing to be clearly rigged against him, became a national cause célèbre, with many personalities of the day weighing-in on his behalf. President Woodrow Wilson even tried to intervene to stay the execution. But in the grand tradition of states rights Utah would have none of it. After all, the after-party was set and invitations already printed. For his part, Joe Hill had already come to the conclusion (correctly as it turned out) that he was more valuable to the labor movement dead than alive. In a last letter to labor leader “Big Bill” Haywood, Hill asked to be buried across the state line, indicating that he wouldn’t want to be caught dead in Utah. His last word, shouted while standing blindfolded, was “Fire!”
The farce: who better to relay the story than America’s most trusted purveyors of farce, Fox News?:
Let’s bring the execution process into the 21st century. Why not just put the prisoner’s name on the Military’s High Value Target (HVT) hit list and send a drone to kill him one day while out exercising in the prison yard?
Listen to Ohio State’s own rebel songwriter Phil Ochs sing “The Ballad of Joe Hill”: