Personal Violence and War-Mongering America

Another excerpt from The Soviet Union and Lincoln County USA .  I have been within two weeks of publication for about four months.


          When Luke and I got home, there was a piece of firewood leaning against the front storm door as a calling card. Later the man drove by our house, turned around, and stopped his car out front. I was afraid he was going to come in the house. I loaded my shotgun and leaned it against the inside wall as I walked out on the porch. I stood and looked at the car until it finally left. If the man had come on the porch, I intended to shoot him. He was not going to hurt Luke or hurt me in front of Luke again. Luckily for us all, he didn’t get out of the car. The next morning he called and apologized and told me I had almost bit his finger off. I am a pacifist in theory only.


          Our government over the years has been a poor example to Lincoln County of nonviolent behavior. If I pause to list the wars, invasions, government overthrows, and assassinations the United States has been a part of in my lifetime, it goes like this: Second World War, Korean War, Greece invaded in 1947,the invasion of Lebanon (twice), Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, the Dominican Republic, Granada, Panama, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, a proxy invasion of Cuba, a proxy war inside Nicaragua, missile attacks on the Sudan and Pakistan, the bombing of Libya, Bosnia, Serbia, and Cambodia. Add to those our complicity in the overthrow of the governments of Iran, Guatemala, Chile (assassination of Allende), the Congo (assassination of Lumumba), and South Vietnam (assassination of Diem) and covert support of one side or the other in numerous conflicts in Africa and Latin America. Lincoln County does not have a lock on violence.

About Sam's Branch

I joined the Peace Corps in 1961 as West Virginia’s first volunteer. Go to to order my book Imagonna: Peace Corps Memories. I am the eighth generation of my family born in the Big Coal River Valley of West Virginia. My father and grandfather were underground coal miners. I have a chemical engineering degree from West Virginia University (WVU). After training to make sidewinder missiles, I joined the Peace Corps and taught chemistry and coached the track team at a secondary school in Nigeria. Since that time, I was WVU’s first full time foreign student advisor and worked in urban outreach, organic farming, construction labor, and high school teaching. I recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Highlands Conservancy (, and recently retired from the board of directors of the West Virginia Kanawha State Forest Foundation ( I am still on the board of the Labor History Association and the West Virginia Environmental Education Association and recently joined the board of the West Virginia Civil Liberties Union. I am active in the campaign to stop the destructive practice of mountain top removal strip mining in the Appalachian Mountains. You may contact me at or my blog samsbranch.wordpress.
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