The Nation: War at Attica: Was There No Other Way?

"If we cannot live as people, we will at least try to die like men."

—Attica Prisoner Charles Horatio Crowley ("Brother Flip")

AT 9:44 on a drizzly overcast morning last week, a radio loudspeaker snapped out the order to attack. Through the stinging mist of CS pepper gas dropped by Viet Nam-style helicopters, yellow-clad troopers set off a barrage of rifle fire from atop 30-ft. prison walls. More than 500 officers—armed with shotguns, rifles, pistols and clubs —charged into the crowded compound, shooting as they ran. Sporadic firing continued for nearly an hour. When the onesided battle was over,...

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