Counting Coup

- a Rainbow Warrior story

by Joel A. Wendt -

The first three “events” were labeled by the press: assassination attempts.   Four prominent public figures were involved.   The three events were spaced one week apart, taking a time total of two weeks to appear.  They were called attempts because no one was killed or even wounded, although the shots came close enough to badly frighten the presumed targets.

The first one targeted the world’s richest media owner, a man named Robert Morgan.  The second one targeted two very very oil-rich brothers, by the name of Knox.   The third event targeted a famous political consultant and strategist, who had been involved inside the two previous Birch administrations, before going to work for Robert Morgan’s media empire.   The third one, being more political in nature, dragged in the FBI, the Secret Service, Homeland Security, the NSA, the CIA and ATF.  The working assumption was that this was terrorists.

The usual authorities got nowhere, except for an odd fact that the investigators kept quiet.  In the process of working out from where the shots had been fired, searchers turned up at two of the probable sites a small cleared area (each site was an area providing some kind of woods or park-like cover).  The cleared area consisted of a circle of bare earth inside of which was a smaller circle of small white stones, with a cross-like stone arrangement cutting the circle into quarters.  In the center of each circle was a small eagle feather, set upright.

Since eagle feathers can only be legally owned by certain Native American Tribes, Indian experts were called in and identified the stone circles as small symbolic forms named “medicine wheels”, and which were used mostly by those Nations collectively called the Plains Indians.  Lots of people had different ideas about what this meant, but there was no other evidence, and the cases went immediately cold ... until 30 days had passed since the last of the first three events.

Then, in another two week period, there were three more events.  This time the targets were more related to the politics of the Democrats, yet in somewhat the same way as the previous four were related to Republicans.  The first one was a sitting Senator, chairman of Ways and Means, the second one a major contributor out of the liberal high tech area around Silicon Valley in California.  The third was a former Democratic President.

Although no one was hit, and the last fellow had a secret service detail, the whole thing caused a great deal of craziness media wise, inside Washington and out.  Lots of screaming for action, but since no one was killed, or even injured, most of the country was scratching their collective heads in wonder.  Investigators found once more the medicine wheel and eagle feather symbols, and worked out the following as well:

All the shots were taken from about 500 yards out, which requires a certain degree of sniper skill, but not a lot.   All kinds of shooters could do this, although why there were no hits still didn’t make any sense.  One of the sites clearly had marks made by the rifle on its bi-pod front rest - what seemed to be a teasingly and intentionally left clue.  This, plus facts related to the recovered bullets lead investigators to suspect that the same kind of basic sniper rifle was being used in each instance, probably a Remington 700, cost about $1200.    The reason the cost got to be important was that the rifling marks on each recovered bullet was different, which meant different barrels and possibly that each gun was being used once and then thrown away.  That’s six Remington 700‘s, used once, and then discarded.   Costly, but makes sense.  If no weapon is ever found, there is no way to trace it to its owner.

The day eventually came that was 30 more days since the last three events, which led to the involvement of a lot of government and state police being out and about everywhere.  Once more, in two weeks time, there were three more shootings.   This time the individuals targeted and closely missed were two cable news talking heads, one liberal and one conservative.  The third target was a former Alaskan governor and vice-presidential candidate.  The one difference, which became very important, was that the press finally found out about the medicine wheels and eagle feathers - the one-time governor couldn’t seem to keep her mouth shut.

The authorities had been investigating a lot of former and current AIM, or American Indian Movement men and women, but to no good effect.  All generally had good alibis.  While the Press and some politicians had been talking about how this had to be foreign terrorists, there really had been no evidence and now with the fact of the medicine wheels and eagle feathers finally coming out, the media frenzy shifted in a fairly radical way.  That’s when a reporter for a daily paper in Great Falls, Montana, had an interview with an old Blackfoot medicine man named David Deerfeather, who liked to drink scotch.  What he said changed everything.

“Guy’s counting coup, that’s what’s going on” David said over three or four drinks in a bar in Missoula.  Soon all manner of experts were talking about what that meant, of which the consensus seemed to be that Indian warriors did very brave acts against enemies by touching them, without killing or wounding them, and then getting away.  Of course, not all experts agreed, but that wasn’t all that David had suggested.

“Got to be a White man”, he said.  “Probably the Rainbow Warrior or the True White Brother”.  This last dragged out all manner of Indian prophecies, and “the less said about that the better”, was quoted by many so-called experts, because for most it was too religious and in this secular age that’s all we need - some kind of prophecy coming true.  Other newsmen, looking David up later, couldn’t find him.  He seemed have disappeared, and questions put to other Native Americans in the area of Western Montana and Eastern Idaho led nowhere.

Thirty days later the targets were three religious folks.  One was a famous Christian Right leader, one a Catholic Bishop and the last was a Jewish Rabbi, who was much involved in what some called the Israel lobby.  All were clearly political in their public life.  The last one led to the discovery of a left behind a shell casing, which pretty much settled the question of the rifle for some.   Although one investigator remarked that this had to be deliberate, and that the authorities should be careful because whoever was doing this was smart, careful and quite capable of leading them someplace they maybe didn’t really want to go.

The next thirty days event, after this last one targeting the religious, was a kind of repeat performance, except it was one from three of the four former groups.  Seemed to some to be a kind of reminder, and that’s when the academic gave his views on the situation.

Books had started to appear trying to explain the meaning of it all.  Everyone had a point of view.  What was beginning to be clear was something noticed first by this academic in his blog.  Many disagreed, but his evidence, based upon polls and similar typical academic social science interviews, was that the tone of political posturing and disagreement, which had been rising toward nearly out of control hate speech for some time, was now beginning to abate.  People, who formerly had been fanning the flames of hateful discourse, were now being more circumspect.  Takes a kind of edge off of things the academic said, when someone is out there shooting at you.

The folks in the latest target sequence had all gotten more outspoken instead of quieting down, and the Rainbow Warrior, as the media had begun to collectively name him, apparently had gone back to three of them to suggest more strongly that they reconsider their vain and divisive posturing.

Investigators did begin to make a kind of headway, finally, when they started working from the following hypothesis.  The shooter was assumed to be traveling the country, buying new guns at the many gun shows, and then going to nearby rifle ranges to work out the kinks of the new rifle, which had to be sighted in, because each one would have subtle variations and need individual adjustments to the telescopic sight.   Gun show sellers were mostly reluctant to give out information, and often gave disinformation, because what the media had dubbed the Rainbow Warrior was now becoming a kind of folk hero, especially after the most recent coup events, which targeted a high level banker who had escaped prosecution during the market meltdown, a cable TV reporter who had touted a lot of stocks that failed, and a billionaire hedge fund guy who hadn’t paid any taxes in the last three years.

All the same, ATF investigators had some gun sellers and rifle range operators under their thumb, because of prior un-prosecuted felony violations that could be held over their heads.  The screws were being tightened down everywhere they could be.  From these sources they built a kind of weirded-up profile.

The reason for using the same kind of gun over and over again was simply a matter of skill choice.  No reason not to have a favorite, and this gave the investigators a lead as they started infiltrating the gun shows and the rifle ranges.   After a time, they thought they had their man, although it turned out to be a woman.

Thing was there was no weapon ever found and no other physical evidence, and the only fact going for the investigators was this woman buying these same guns over and over again and going to ranges and sighting them in.  Consequently they didn’t close in on her, but did start following her and had attached a tracking device to her vehicle.   She lived out of this very high tech off road camper-van, that cost upwards of $360,000 dollars - one in which she could go into the wilderness and not need anything for quite a while.

Shortly after they attached the tracking device, she disappeared while traveling in Western Montana.  The tracking device was found by the side of a road.  Military satellites were now put into play to see if the vehicle could be spotted, and eventually a compatible heat signature was found in an area of Montana called the Bob Marshall wilderness.  Off road vehicles were prohibited there, but there she seemed to be anyway.

Various agencies decided to try to close in - they were after all under a lot of pressure to take action - any kind of action.

By the time they got there, mostly by loud and noisy helicopters, the vehicle was out from under the tree canopy that had previously hidden it, and was in the open in a high valley with a large meadow and grassland landscape in its center, surrounded on all sides by dense pine forests.

The woman was sitting in a chair outside the vehicle next to the creek that flowed through the valley, under an awning that folded out of the side of the truck-van-RV.  There was some kind of uplink antenna on the roof, and she was watching TV, and cooking on a grill.  When they got close, they surrounded her with about 20 heavily armed officers, who had disembarked from three different now landed attack helicopters, one of which had various suits watching from a position of safety.  As they approached, she stood up and raised her hands in a kind of gesture that suggested they might want to talk first.

Fortunately, the most senior FBI guy had once been a hostage negotiator, and very much wanted her to surrender without any fighting.   He separated from the surrounding circle and walked to within about five feet of her.   She was well endowed in a sexual sense, wearing mostly loose clothing and shorts showing a lot of tanned leg above good boots that had small knife sheaths on their outer edges.  She seemed to be at least 50 years or more old.  Her hair was long, and worn in a braid.  Its color was naturally blond with silver-gray streaks.   She had no makeup on, although she wore a bit of silver and turquoise jewelry - earrings and a bracelet.

In the pictures they had taken of her before she disappeared, she was always dressed overly warm, and wearing a baseball cap and sunglasses.   They hadn’t ID’d her, as she had no fingerprints in the system - fingerprints they pulled from discarded coffee cups at one of the rifle ranges.   Tracing the vehicle license plate has come up empty as well.  Some suggested she must have been some kind of former government operative to have left no obvious identity traces that they had been able to find.

Her first words were: “You are in a lot of danger.  Think carefully before you act.”

She paused to let that sink in.  He looked around and didn’t see anything, although as she was in the open and exposed, that meant that so was he, as were all the officers and the suits. 

She continued: “Your ships and your men are in a minefield, that has now been activated.  You’ve stepped out of it.  I have a lot of friends”.  At which point she slowly raised her left hand with the five fingers splayed out - clearly some kind of signal.

At the edge of the surrounding thick pine woods there was movement, and soon there had to be at least a couple hundred armed men, possibly women as well, stepping out into the clear all around them.   The FBI guy raised his hand, and with a couple of gestures told his men to not move, and in fact to sit down.   There was muttering, but also obedience.  They were well trained.

She turned to a second chair, invited him by gesture to sit in the shade (it was about noon on a sunny summer day).  He sat, and was offered a drink of water.

She made another gesture and then said: “The minefield is now turned off.  If any of your men get up, it will be turned back on.”

He started to speak but she put a finger to her lips and shushed him.

“You are going to leave.   There is no reason for any loss of life, and you have no evidence, only suspicion.  An arrest would be set aside by a court, although I wouldn’t expect to ever be allowed to get to court.  That being the case, I’m not about to submit to a fake arrest by Homeland security, only to disappear into a life-time of custody and torture as some kind of assumed domestic terrorist.  You try to arrest me and everyone here will die, especially your suits that were stupid enough to come with you.”

“There will be no more counting coup by me, but I can’t say what others will do.  I’m going to retire, having made my point and set my example.  Political statements I leave to others, except for this: the real government of the United States is the people, not the wizards of Wall Street, or the politicians or the vain media, or the religious leaders or all the other people that think they know better than the rest of us.   We don’t consent anymore to the way things are being run, and you are forcing some of us to express our votes with a gun.  No other nation in the world is as well armed as are the American People.  There are a lot more of us, than there are of you  - a lot more.” 

“Think about it.  The elites and their servants believe they have the power, but not here, not in America.  We are waking up to how you try to divide us, how you try to lie us into making war on each other.   Those times are over.”

“Be wise.   Be careful.   I’m sure you have recorded this, ... now get going.  You have ten minutes to clear the area and another five to clear the air space.  We have more arms surrounding you than you can imagine, including surface to air missiles.”

He understood, and was soon able to persuade the officers and suits to leave.  A return to the meadow a few days later revealed that there had been no minefield - it had all been a bluff.  In the thick pines around the meadow they found evidence of a lot of loose ground, suggesting that the people had been hidden under something that kept the satellites from seeing the waiting crowd.

Of the Rainbow Warrior and her friends, there was no trace whatsoever.  Hate speech by vain talking heads began to decrease quickly, as others imitated her and started counting coup.  Once the faked up divisiveness lessened, the American people soon discovered the obvious truth: they had much more in common with each other then they had any real differences.  And most important: that there were far far more of common sense, wise and thoughtful ordinary people than there are of those, who think their wealth or position or passion makes them smarter or better.

Eventually, even the media got it, although as was usual they were the last collection of the truly clueless.  This came about in a very interesting way.  It turned out that the Rainbow Warrior had left behind a list - not of specific targets, but of types of troublemakers.  For example, she had pointed out what was being done out of impulses of greed and desire for power by agribusiness, which was destroying through bad gene transfer science the food chain, and also interfering in healthy world-wide agricultural developments by patenting genetically modified grains.

She pointed out the egregious activities of members of the military-industrial complex, who used people from the advertising and public relations communities to create false pictures of national and international reality through a consciously developed psychological operations kind of warfare, used against the American People.  In all instances she named names, and gave information about corporations and companies most people had never heard of before.

It was a long list of affronts against Americans by Americans, and by Americans against humanity.  She suggested that public mock trials using the Internet be started, and that another way to “count coup” was simply to expose to public ridicule these people, who otherwise remain faceless and free of the normal social shame they ought to feel as betrayers of their own kind.  "It's not the corporations, its the people who run them.  Put faces to these cheats, liars and traitors."

She encouraged computer hackers to do similar actions, given their ability to get inside data streams and reveal those secrets.  She warned against creating chaos and destruction just for itself, but rather wrote of the importance of unmasking wrong doing for use in the mock court of public opinion.  It was her view that the three branches of the American government had all been corrupted and compromised, and the people needed to provide out of themselves the missing elements - that a real government of the people, by the people and for the people, didn’t need Washington D.C. in order to come into existence.

We have all kinds of electronic means, she said, - ways of distributing information.  What was lacking, on our part, was sufficient self-discipline.   We had too much a tendency to love our own opinions, and believed falsely this meant we could also have our own facts.   A conspiracy theory, she wrote, was pretty useless in terms of fixing something, because too much of it was built out of paranoid fantasy.  Its very grandiosity bred confusion, not wisdom.

And wisdom, she wrote, was the missing element, which could only now be provided by the people themselves.  Politicians didn’t seek it.  Greedy corporate officers didn’t use it.  The secret government (black operations) folks had no sense of it.  At the same time, wisdom came from a “we” process, not an “I” process.   A talking head on cable TV or talk radio, was just a maker of noise.  Wisdom required a community conversation, and a willingness to hear the other guy out.

Similarly, anyone who are on the Right, who automatically disparages the Left, and anyone one of the so-called Left, who automatically disparages the Right, is basically not thinking at all.  They are just being what she called: a political racist.  Instead of being prejudiced and bigoted against a person of color, they are prejudiced and bigoted against a person of a different point of view, and for no better reason.

What this ultimately meant, she concluded, is that there is no true self government of any people in a political sense, that isn’t founded on individual self-governing in a moral sense.  In this way she said, in the end of her message: While America, in the sense of corporate or existing government ways,  had no real business thinking it could lead the world, Americans, as a people, could contribute a lot to the future of humanity by their own example.

We’d been adolescents politically for a long time now, she added, and now it was time to grow up and actually be responsible, instead of just posturing like bullies in a school yard.  Then she quoted Christ, with a little addition: Render unto Caesar (the state, the Republic) what belongs to Caesar (We, instead of I); and (at the same time) Render unto God (our own moral self-discipline) what is God’s (according to our individual religious understanding of the nature of the Divine Mystery).