We are living in extraordinarily dangerous times, when evil, rather than justice, prevails. The schoolyard is terrorized by thugs and punks with names like Bush, Cheney, Limbaugh, Robertson, Clinton, Rockefeller, Rice, Rumsfeld, Perle, Kristol and Giuliani—pedigreed people all.

In an inconspicuous corner of the schoolyard, the good people—and they are legion—keep to themselves, afraid. No one wants to be hurt; and the thugs and punks are dangerous, even criminally insane people. They have terrible weapons and criminal gangs who patrol the schoolyard to intimidate and terrorize, looking for those who talk to others; looking for signs of organization and resistance. The good people have witnessed their maiming and killing countless times. They have every reason to be afraid.

An aberration of nature, the blood of the punks and thugs is not red like ours; it is green, the color of money. They have an insatiable thirst for blood—our blood; the blood of all innocents. Blood money is their currency. Through some kind of strange alchemy, they are able to convert blood into money to own the world.

Every aspect of the schoolyard: the church, the Federal Reserve, the banks, the workplace, the corporation, and the militia are under their control. Not only do the thugs and killers have weapons, they have chemical and nuclear weapons, doomsday machines by the dozen. They have no regard for life, human and non-human alike. They are incapable of rational thought guided by just principles. The world, every inch of it, belongs to them. They are its rightful masters, so they think—holding patents on life’s genetic blueprints; gods among mortal beings, without limitations. They are our all knowing superiors and we are their helpless, foolish children tugging anxiously at their pant legs, vying for attention.

The thugs and punks are aggressive without restraint, and they wear the garments of priests and saints and public service. Their minds are disturbed, their hands stained with the blood of the innocent. Their conscience, if it exists at all, is unstained by guilt or principle. Their decadent, wrinkled bodies are devoid of soul, sustained by the embalming fluid of the walking dead.

Their ancestors were the inventors of chattel slavery; ours were their servants who worked the fields and died in their wars. Their ancestors tormented and eradicated the aboriginal peoples under the flag of religion and manifest destiny—testaments to their stupendous strength and superiority; ours were the vanquished and oppressed.

It was their ancestors who busted the unions of our ancestors, who killed our ancestral kin at Wounded Knee; at Ludlow and the McCormick Reaper Works at Chicago, and thousands of other places like those. It was their ancestors who shot Joe Hill in Utah and lynched Frank Little from a railroad trestle in Butte, Montana.

And it was them who murdered hope and kept fear alive; a fear that stalks and haunts us to this day: a horror that has given the Manitou of Dick Cheney to the present like the kiss of Judas; a specter of endless war and war profiteers that parasitizes the innocent and the just, with the insatiable appetite of maggots that feed on the decaying flesh of the dead.

The thugs and punks are not like us. They know they are superior to us and to everyone; to every being on this planet. We are not of their class, the descendents of wealth and property, with social pedigrees obtained through terror and mayhem. They and their ancestors have always been the terrorists, and we and our ancestors have always been the terrorized.

The present is a manifestation of an unbroken chain of events converging from the distant past. The reign of terror can be ended, must be ended, by breaking the chain and casting its hefty iron links into the sea. The bullies, the punks and thugs terrorize the schoolyard because they were not dealt with in the past. We did not arrive at this important moment in history by chance. Cause and effect brought us here. Those in the present are reaping what was sown by those who came before us, just as the future will be the result of what we do now.

Most of those in the schoolyard, aside from the thugs and punks, are peace loving people. They do not want trouble, so they knuckle under and do what they are told, and the decay continues to spread like a dark plague of pitiless death that blots out the sun. Like ghastly cadavers, the good and the innocent lie in quiet repose, paralyzed by fear and uncertainty, unable or unwilling to act in their own defense.

Because the social disease that leads to injustice and war was never adequately addressed, it persists; it festers and mortifies. Our gangrened limbs blacken, stink, and fall by the wayside in response to festering injustice. The sickening stench that envelops us is the half buried corpses of our ancestors clamoring for truth; screaming not for vengeance, but for justice. We pretend that we do not hear, but a deafening crescendo of the dead is rising all around and within us, too awful, too persistent to be ignored indefinitely; a nightmare that haunts and tortures our sleep, our every waking moment.

The chain must be broken or it will continue to grow and it will beat down our children and our children’s children. It is a frightening and troublesome thought, but it is wholly rational and based upon convincing physical evidence. History has borne ample witness to these events, as we bear witness to them now. It explains both past and present, and it portends an ever worsening future—a nightmare worse than all of those of the past added together; for injustice, like cancer, does not grow linear—like, but like crystals of quartz; it grows exponentially, like atoms unleashed in a nuclear explosion that consumes the world in fire and smoke.

In the end, there is only one way to remove the thugs and punks from our schoolyard. It is to face them down, not alone, which would be suicidal, but in unison, for we outnumber them millions to one. Unity, solidarity and justice are more powerful forces than hate and violence, just as surely as truth is superior to lies, life is preferable to death; and freedom is preferable to imprisonment and servitude. The disparate parts of solidarity already exist in broken disarray at our feet: We have only to bring them together in a continuous chain of ironclad unity.

There are risks involved. Success is not guaranteed. But without just opposition to terror just outcomes are not possible. So we need courage and faith that translates into principled action—and solidarity. It is high time to call the punks and thugs out into the open. Those who are ruled by fear cannot be guided by justice. Justice demands that we have this fight—us against them.

Charles Sullivan is a naturalist, an educator and a freelance writer residing in the hinterlands of geopolitical West Virginia. He has an academic background in Appalachian Studies. . Read other articles by Charles.