"Anyone who kills a cop is okay in my book."
-post on a message board in response to "No To Parole For The MOVE 9 Petition"
Another year comes and goes as it approaches three decades since MOVE members shot down Police Officer James Ramp and wounded a dozen other police Officers and firefighters, the myth of the cult member’s innocence remains persistent and ever-present.
Type in "James Ramp" into the search engine of your computer and you will be treated to a lesson in the most vulgar examples of propaganda. Hundreds, if not thousands of websites across the world help to perpetuate the false-hoods and alternate reality that MOVE and their supporters have been polluting the world with for some three decades.
The MOVE "story" of the death of James Ramp is a story that I know all to well. Many articles are still floating around with my name attached to them that extol the virtues of the MOVE cult, and arguing that the imprisoned members of the group are nothing more than "freedom fighters". The MOVE version of the events of August 8th, 1978 may well be germane to any writings on the matter, but on this day, the anniversary of the murder of Officer Ramp, I believe it imprudent to repeat MOVE’s lies, even if it is in the interest of debunking them.
Not only do I know well the MOVE version of events, but I also know, or to be more exact, "knew" the incarcerated MOVE members rather well. To be sure, I considered them to be family.
I made dozens of trips to the various prisons throughout my years as a MOVE supporter to visit the so-called "MOVE 9". In fact, I spent my honeymoon visiting the MOVE members, and after my child was born, I asked Phil Africa to be her godfather.
In a secure location there are literally hundreds of letters from the MOVE members, including Merle Africa who died in prison nearly a decade ago. I took their collect calls from jail and assisted MOVE in smuggling contraband into the prison.
That was the life I lived for too many years. For so long I lived in denial. But truth has this dogged persistence that gradually began to tear away the myths and lies and propaganda that I had heard and in turn had spewed to others. Eventually, I could no longer bear the burden of conscience and tore myself away from the cult and the killers of James Ramp.
But to say that the burden has been lifted completely would be yet another lie. To write about this or talk about it is not easy. I shudder to think how MOVE’s actions affected the family of Officer Ramp, how my own attempts to revise history and re-write the life of James Ramp as a victimizer instead of a victim must be a consistent source of additional pain to those who loved him.
It is not an easy thing to do to put yourself out there and say that you were completely wrong about something. Especially the murder of another human being. To admit you were working on the side of terror instead of freedom.
This is not a plea for pity. I am un-deserving of it and am not asking for it.
What I am doing is apologizing.
I am apologizing to the victims of MOVE, both past and present. I am apologizing to the family members of the people I helped recruit into the cult. I am also apologizing to my own family for my emotional abandonment while I was immersed in the fools paradise that is known as the MOVE Organization. I could not be more sorry.
So I go forward and attempt to thoughtfully take on the myths that MOVE exists off of.
Sometimes I am successful and other times I do not do as well as I think I should.
I suffer under no illusions that I can about-face people’s way of thinking. I knew when I started this that there would be a segment of the populace who are to involved and invested into MOVE or a similar extremist ideology to hear what I have to say or write.
I knew that the threats against myself and those I love would be made. I also knew that instead of people engaging me in a rational discourse on the subject that I would be subjected to vicious and outrageous ad-hominem personal attacks.
In the past couple of years I have been told that I was everything from a Klan member to an "extreme right-winger", to a police infiltrator who was implanted into MOVE as a teenager to bring the group down. The latest story about me to be hurtled across cyber-space was some bizarre story about me being some raging dope fiend who had been busted by the cops and forced to churn out these blog posts as a way to avoid prison.
It is all absurd of course, but that doesn’t keep people from saying what they do.
After all, we are talking about a cult who believed that a man calling himself John Africa was God incarnate. A man who preached an interesting, but ultimately deadly combination of radical environmentalism and black-power politics that was delivered either through profanity laden harangues or nearly poetic prose on paper. A man who sought to destroy all that he could not understand and who raised from the ashes of the 60's a cult of personality and turned it into a cult of death.
A sect which has at it’s heart rank hypocrisy that abuses children and animals, and seeks to free and idolize murderers in the name of "God" and for the sake of power and greed. MOVE exists today as a means of perpetuating it’s leaders ego and self-enrichment.
Oftentimes, there isn’t much people can do in the face of an entity like MOVE, but to sit on the sidelines and hope that some kind of bureaucracy will step in and do it’s job and make justice happen.
Today is different though.
As I have written before, and as I will likely dozens of more times in the up-coming year, the murderers of James Ramp will be coming up for parole in 2008.
For their part, MOVE is rallying support for their cause through their world-wide network of activists in an effort to persuade the parole board to release the killers of James Ramp.
As a way to counter this audacious attempt to influence the board to release these cop-killers I have started an online petition that calls upon the parole board to deny the murderers of James Ramp parole. It is my hope that this sends a message on two fronts. The first being that society cannot tolerate un-repentant murderers of peace officers being let onto the streets. And secondly that the sacrifice of Officer James Ramp has not been forgotten.
To sign the petition go to: