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The war,Battle of Blair Mountain, struck the United States in 1921. Logan County, West Virginia, was the battlefield that ended the lives of at least a million souls. Rich and powerful strangers seized the town of Annedal getting hold of the coalfields that the resident coal miners used as the source of their daily bread. Rondal LIoyd is among the thousands affected. In an attempt to protest the oppression, he is arrested and tried of treason. Owing to the fact that Rondal is fighting for his rights, I, the attorney, declare him not guilty.
Firstly, Rondal is a genuine resident of Annedal. He is a beneficiary of the resources available in the place. This is where he gets the income to sustain himself and his family. The absence of this crucial necessity can mark an end of life to the recipients.
Any normal being is required to maintain a constant availability of what he/she terms as his/her source of income. It enables one make the necessary developments. These include personal, private and public. Any force or people depriving one of this requisite are severely rejected. This is exactly what Rondal was doing and is far from being an offence.
Secondly, we all preach about love, peace and harmony as forces that pull us together regardless of our relationships. When present, people share, work, and interact freely with one another. Unity and strength are highly nurtured. Not anything that culminates into conflicts that on the other hand peels off the walls of unity can be tolerated.
Following the attack of his fellow miners whom he loved to work with, Rondal had to be in the frontline protesting this. This is in fact a natural response. Not only people but also any living organism portrays it and Rondal is one. He had to obey the laws of nature.
In addition, personal property need not be taken without the owners consent. Anyone in need of anything he/she does not own has to follow the right channel of getting it. He/she has to seek permission from the owner. The owner is free to accept or reject the opinions of the interested.
In view of the United States army, it had no evidence of a report showing any agreement to occupy the town. There were no documents showing their ownership of the coalmines. There decision to occupy the town, displace the miners, and begin their own businesses was on the expense of the residents and untimely. What do you expect of such a situation? It is obvious that the affected have to oppose it and Rondal was in a battle that purposed to curb this and hence innocent.
Lastly, the plan of the United States government to own the mines was not new. Rumours were all over that coal-tapping companies would be established in the town of Annedal. The US government did not give out a hint on how the displaced will be handled. The relevant bodies failed to respond to the miner’s requests for action to be taken before the event, a sign that they supported the strangers.
One would expect an increased tension to those who are to be affected. Normally, where tension rises, conflicts arise as people try to fight it back or in other words, peace and tension never coexists. The tension so created influenced the residents’ peace of minds. When people rose to fight this back, Rondal could not be an exception because this is not a crime but a way of raising peace.
As a result, the battle brought forth the awareness that people’s rights need not to be interfered with, as well as the establishment of labour movements that made Blair Mountain appear in the list of secure places. If Rondal participated in a battle that could yield such results, I declare him innocent before the court.
Corbin, David. Ed. “TheWest Virginia Mine Wars: An Anthology.” 2nd ed. Martinsburg,W.Va: Appalachian Editions, 1998.
Lee, Howard. “Bloodletting in Appalachia: The Story of West Virginia’s Four Major Mine Wars and Other Thrilling Incidents of Its Coal Fields.” Morgantown, W.Va: West Virginia University Press, 1969.
Savage, Lon. “Thunder in the Mountains: The West Virginia Mine War, 1920-21.” Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990.