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Today, June 4th, is the twentieth anniversary of True American Hero© Marvin Heemeyer’s righteous rampage through a Colorado town (link paywalled, but 12 Ft Ladder worked for me).

20 years after a bulldozer rampage in a small Colorado town, the legacy of the “killdozer” lives on
In Granby, Marvin Heemeyer’s homemade revenge machine “radiated evil” — but to some, he’s a folk hero

Only “some”?!? The hell you say.

GRANBY — Few physical reminders remain in this unassuming mountain town 20 years after a rampage by an aggrieved muffler shop owner attracted worldwide attention.

Marvin Heemeyer — convinced he’d been wronged by town leaders — plotted for more than a year, crafting and installing a 40,000-pound steel and concrete enclosure atop a bulldozer. He then smashed his makeshift tank into 13 buildings in a one-man act of revenge and retribution.

Tread marks are still engraved in the pavement in front of the Sky-Hi News building, which Heemeyer collapsed with his 85-ton armored Komatsu bulldozer on June 4, 2004, during a 2 1/4-hour slog from one end of town to the other. He and his dozer damaged or toppled Granby’s town hall, an electric utility building and a concrete plant as police fired high-caliber rounds repeatedly — but to no effect — at the slow-rolling behemoth.

At Thompson & Sons Excavating, what is likely the only remaining intact piece of Heemeyer’s fearsome machine — a trunnion that secured the blade to the dozer — now serves as a peculiarly heavy bookend on a shelf in the Thompson brothers’ shop. Back on that day, the chunk of iron fell off the bulldozer as it rammed through the front wall of their home.

Heemeyer, 52, fatally shot himself in the head after part of his bulldozer fell through the floor of a hardware store he was demolishing. His body wasn’t retrieved until the next day, when SWAT teams used explosives and a cutting torch to breach the nearly impregnable compartment he had built. He was the only person to die in the rampage.

The Grand County town of 2,100 has largely moved past the destruction wrought by Heemeyer 20 years ago this Tuesday. But the man who caused the damage lives on through music, on merchandise and inside the minds of those who see him as someone pushed to the edge by a heartless government — and forced to take matters into his own hands.

What struck a chord with some, especially those on America’s political fringes, is that the South Dakota native and Air Force veteran was acting out against government leaders who he felt had targeted him with unfair land use and zoning decisions. In some cases, he targeted their family members.

Now THAT’S some good old American ingenuity in dealing with unfair goobermint edicts, right there. See what I meant when I said “True American Hero” before? The man’s a legend, and has since gone on to be immortalized in extreme-metal song, bless him. Far as I’m concerned, June 4th should be officially declared a holiday in those dwindling few parts of America that remain, y’know, America.

Update! Stephen posts the appropriately Killdozerized version of the Gadsden flag.

I love it! Steve’s post has plenty more details.

Heemeyer, a 52-year-old small business owner, seemed at first like a good neighbor. An Air Force vet and a South Dakota native, he moved to neighboring Grand Lake, Colo., in 1989 after his USAF stint and seems to have been generally well-liked. 

Nevertheless, Heemeyer would spend the last 18 months of his life holed up in an otherwise unused part of his old muffler shop, modifying a Komatsu D355A bulldozer into an impenetrable battering ram. Calling it Marv’s Komatsu Tank (or MK Tank), Heemeyer armored the tank with concrete and steel plates. There were external video cameras — shrouded with ballistic glass and complete with compressed air nozzles to clear away dust — so he could remain inside, fully protected.

There was an A/C unit and fans. Steel-plated gun ports. Ballistic plastic. And enough food and water for a week.

At about 2:15 pm, Heemeyer busted Killdozer out of its hiding place and right into Mountain Park Concrete, owned by the rival Docheff family.

The city quickly took up arms, with civilians and police firing more than 200 rounds into KIlldozer to no avail. Undersheriff Glenn Trainer even climbed on top with his pistol, looking for a way to shoot inside.

Killdozer made its way through more than a dozen buildings and various streetlamps and roadsigns. Attempts to stop it with a front-end loader and two tractor-scrapers were brushed aside.

There’s also an inspiring video chronicle of Heemeyer’s Retribution Machine in action. You may laugh the guy off as just another nut, and perhaps he was nuts at that. Nonetheless: creativity, ingenuity, fearless determination—the bottom-line fact remains that, if America That Was is ever to be saved, it’s going to be nuts like Marvin Heemeyer in the vanguard, leading from the front, who save it, not mild-mannered, squarejohn family-types from the ‘burbs. Heemeyer’s situation was the microcosmic version of what all Real Americans are up against today, just twenty years before.


11 thoughts on “KILLDOZER!!!

  1. While I applaud his efforts, I still only give him a “B”, for poor intel, and incomplete execution.

    If you’re going to take yourself out, ensure an adequate supply of mourners: take every last one of your enemies and tormenters with you at the same time.

    The fact that even after the rampage, it took them 12 hours to cut into it sufficiently gets an A+ though.

    He should have rigged it to explode a couple of hours after he shuffled off his mortal coil.

    If you’re going to be Samson, BE SAMSON.

  2. I used to fantasize about exactly the same thing long before this gentleman put it into practice.
    The other, a ’53 Chevy encircled with railroad ties, making it a nice bumper car…

  3. Documentary with actual footage – The only thing to stop that thing quickly would be the main gun on a tank. Something similar to this – without a tank, but with an enraged resident with an automatic rifle – happened to the city council in Kirkwood, MO, an incorporated suburb in St Louis County. The guy lost it after being repeatedly screwed around by the city, and a munber of people ended up dead or wounded.

  4. and perhaps he was nuts at that

    George Washington thought he could defeat the British with a Christmas Day attack after crossing a freezing river in oared boats. I imagine everyone thought that was nuts…

    1. To be fair, I should probably mention a few things the casual observer likely missed:

      Heemeyer was committing suicide, and just taking some items out before he left. He was an unhappy man.

      He was particularly disgruntled because government would not restrict the use of land beside him. A concrete plant was built there.

      There are many things wrong with government from up top to down at the small town level, but Heemeyer wasn’t trying to right those wrongs, he just wanted the government to do it his way.

  5. How do you stop an armored bulldozer?
    Same way you stop a tank, blow the tracks off.

    For the record, next time you see this, if it ain’t a Cat, it will not be me 🙂

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