Killdozer: A Good Man Pushed Past Reason
Image Sources: Background: http://www.tanks-encyclopedia.com/marvin-heemeyers-armored-bulldozer/ Marvin Heemeyer Picture: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Marvin_Heemeyer.jpg#/media/File:Marvin_Heemeyer.jpg
On June 4th, 2004 in Granby, Colorado, Marvin Heemeyer went on a rampage to end all rampages. In total Marvin managed to destroy 13 buildings with his heavily modified Komatsu D355A bulldozer. While the Marvin and has been called a lunatic and misunderstood by much of the media if you actually know the story you know that the officials who ran the town got exactly what they were bargaining for by running a crony capitalist scheme involving a cement plant.
Image Source: https://twitter.com/NewsCPR/status/999847023015800834
Marvin moved to the town of Granby, Colorado at age 40 not knowing anybody in the area. He bought some land and set up a muffler shop to utilize his skills as a mechanic and welder. Most described Marvin as an agreeable hardworking guy. Things were going well for Marvin until the town approved a cement factory to be constructed on the adjacent property to Marvin’s shop, thus blocking access and threatening to destroy his business. Marvin petitioned the town multiple times to stop the plant going up, and when that failed Marvin petitioned to have his own road built to the shop, which was also rejected. What solidifies the town government as the true villains of this story are how they proceeded to fine him for not being connected to the sewer. Why was he not connected to the sewer? Well because he was cut off by accident during the construction of the cement factory. Does the government seriously have the right to fine you for a violation that is out of your control? No, and such a government should be overthrown if ever implemented, as it violates your God-given rights. They also fined him for having junk cars on his property which were labeled “unsightly” (this one really hits home). In total, the fines totaled $2,500, to which Marvin paid and put “cowards” on the memo section. More importantly than the fine, Marvin’s business was still being threatened. The town probably wanted to force him onto Welfare and into a job at someplace like Walmart because politicians do not care about blue-collar citizens, especially those without kids, family, or significant social connections (this is one of the most disaffected groups in the US population). With no further hope to save his livelihood and pursue his part in the American dream, Marvin started down a path of darkness and destruction. Marvin decided to modify the bulldozer he bought to construct the rejected road to his shop, and thus birthed the “killdozer”.
Killdozer started it’s life out as a meager Komatsu D355A bulldozer, a fairly pedestrian construction machine. As a side note, Komatsu is the second largest producer of such construction equipment, only behind Catapillar. The Komatsu D355A had a 410hp turbocharged engine, but only had a top speed of 7.35 mph, and that’s before the added armor. The Komatsu D355A originally weighed 49 tons but ballooned to 61 tons with the armor. All this weight made the Komatsu D355A a perfect battering ram vehicle. Killdozer was heavily modified and you can’t deny how impressive of a creation it was, especially considering it was made by one guy in a shed. The armor was made from steel and concrete and featured exterior cameras protected by the bulletproof glass for navigation (the cameras also had a compressed air nozzle included to clear off any dust). The armor worked so well, not only could it withstand bullets, it could also withstand explosions. The only issue with the armor was that once the armor was lowered, Marvin could not come out again, but considering how long he would go to jail for his rampage if caught, he probably wanted it that way. Marvin thought as far as including air conditioning inside the cabin as well as food. The Killdozer also had three guns mounted, a .50 cal Baret M82 at the rear, a 5.52mm FN FNC semi-automatic at the front, and a .223 Ruger Mini-14 on the right. He also had two side arms, one of which he used to commit suicide. Despite the weapons, Killdozer never actually killed anyone or seriously attempted to, and Marvin ended up being the only casualty.
Image Source: https://imgur.com/gallery/hmE1Q
Marvin Heemeyer drove through his own muffler shop beginning his attack and headed straight for the concrete plant. After reaching havoc there, Marvin proceeded to drive into town and destroy city hall, the office of a newspaper that wrote against him, the home of the deceased former mayor and destroyed 13 buildings in his 2hr + rampage. Marvin’s rampaged ended after the dozer’s radiator became damaged and it became stuck while destroying a hardware store. Marvin then took his own life by handgun and the police only managed to retrieve his remains after the use of a torch for several hours. Overall, the damages totaled about $7 million US dollars. The town could have saved a lot of money and heartache just by treating Marvin fairly and understanding his right’s as a business owner in the community, thus coming up with a fair compromise. It’s my sincere belief that just as with most school shootings, the root cause of this tragedy was a lack of respect. Disrespecting people can make them do crazy things, and as a society, we seem to want to ignore this fact. The Santa Fe shooter was shamed in front of his class for asking a girl out and the Parkland shooter was constantly ostracized. Emilie Gonzalez, one of the Parkland student activists/media props, even suggested it was ok to ostracize the shooter because he was weird, and it was somebody else’s responsibility to help “fix” his antisocial tendencies (my generation always wants to pass the buck to somebody else). So is the solution to this situation to institute a mass surveillance state and ban bulldozers in order to prevent the possibility of such an event, and sacrifice our liberties in the process (thus provoking more violence in response, but now more justifiable)? Or, is the solution to start healing our communities and building a better world by advancing the morals our society has lost on a large scale. Marvin is not a villain, in fact, in some ways a resembles a Shakespearian tragic hero. The main problem with Marvin is that ultimately his actions did not solve the problem of corruption he faced, and nobody could claim he came out the victor. Some would suggest Marvin should have been more flexible and backed down to the cronies in charge, but I say he should have found a better way to stand his ground, or get revenge by being successful elsewhere and then making the corruption and indecency public knowledge. What Marvin did inadvertently hurt and put at risk those who had no stake in his conflict with the corrupt government in Granby. It’s important to fight the good fight, but that does not validate lowering your morals to combat adversaries, because then you become the thing you hate in essence. Now with the advent of the internet and related mass communication, there’s hope that countless Marvin’s will be able to seek justice more productively through the unfiltered free speech restored to the masses. With all his ingenuity and creativity as a mechanic, fabricator, and welder it’s sad to see the system tear a fine man like Marvin down. On June 6th, 2004 the world lost a great man who was more valuable than all the property damage he caused. If there’s a moral to the story, I guess it’s to not let the world force you into doing negative things. Instead, subvert those confines and be a positive force in the world with all your abilities. #blogpost #killdozer
"Sometimes reasonable men must do unreasonable things." -Marvin Heemeyer
edit: I thought this happened 14 years ago today, 6/6, but it actually happened on 6/4. I corrected it and it was due to me seeing a post shared on Facebook about it on 6/6/18. This is still within 2 days, and close enough to the 14th anniversary to talk about, but maybe I wouldn’t have rushed to post this so soon, but it’s all good.