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Every day since March 16, I have received e-mails from people urging me to investigate the “murder” of Rachel Corrie, a young American “peace activist” in the Gaza Strip.

Rachel Corrie

Many of the e-mails have suggested Corrie, 23, of Olympia, Wash., is an “American martyr” deliberately killed by the Israeli government because of her “pro-Palestinian activism.”

While I admit I personally don’t have the time nor the inclination to go to the Gaza Strip to investigate the incident, I have read everything I could get my hands on in terms of coverage of the tragedy.

You can read the perspectives of those who believe her death was the result of cold-blooded, premeditated, political murder on the website of the International Solidarity Movement.

I’m going to tell you what I think actually happened to this poor, misguided, young American zealot.

First, let’s recognize that Rachel Corrie went to the Gaza Strip enflamed with rage against Israel and her own country. God only knows what caused her to hold such hatred against America and the Jewish state. You can read some of her rantings on the International Solidarity Movement site. But you cannot get an appreciation of just how radicalized this woman was until you see the photograph of her taken a month before her death.

Rachel Corrie burns mock U.S. flag

There you see the young “peace activist” burning a mock U.S. flag during a rally of what appears to be mostly Arab children in the Gaza Strip Feb. 15. Notice the facial expression. This was a picture with enough expression to be picked up by wire services weeks before her tragic death.

Then on March 16, Corrie decided to block the path of an IDF bulldozer as it was preparing the ground in anticipation of destroying the home of a terrorist in the Gaza Strip. She was there for hours taunting the bulldozer driver with a bullhorn. Sometimes she would stand in front and move aside when the bulldozer approached, according to witnesses. Other times the bulldozer operator would be forced to bring his work to a halt because Corrie refused to budge.

Finally, Corrie decided to sit on a mound of earth in front of the machine. According to Joe Smith, who attended Evergreen College with Corrie and traveled with her to the Gaza Strip, the earth started to move under her as the bulldozer approached.

“You have a couple of options,” he told reporter David Bedein. “You can roll aside – you have to be very quick to get out of the way. You can fall back. But she leaned forward to try to climb up on top. She got pulled down, and the bulldozer lost sight of her. Then, without lifting the blade, he reversed and she was underneath the blade.”

Now that is hardly the picture of premeditated murder. It sounds like the person most culpable in this tragedy is young Rachel Corrie.

Because the whole world saw another photo – one of Rachel Corrie with a megaphone in her hands prior to her death – the assumption has been that the bulldozer ran over a woman standing with a megaphone in her hand. That is not the case.

As I said, that picture was taken hours before Corrie decided to lie down in front of the bulldozer where the driver lost sight of her. And then, to make matters worse, to attempt to climb into the shovel rather than get out of the way.

The photo distributed internationally by Reuters and appearing on page 3 of the New York Times, March 17, was taken by the International Solidarity Movement. The Reuters caption mentioned only that the photo was taken prior to her death, suggesting that it was mere moments and that Corrie was standing with a megaphone in her hands.

If that had been the case, I would be calling this murder, too.

But it’s not murder. It’s more like suicide. It’s a terrible tragedy that a beautiful young American woman threw her life away for an immoral political cause – defending terrorism, attacking her own country.

This will be my last word on the death of Rachel Corrie. I hope this answers all those inquisitive minds out there. I hope this addresses the misplaced notion that she was some kind of heroine, some kind of martyr. But I have no doubts, given the passions of her anti-American and anti-Israeli friends that this simple recounting of the facts will only lead to more misguided words and actions.



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