I immediately went home and told my mom and dad about Tommy Clark’s plans.
They called my uncle, Carl Andrews, a retired St. Paul homicide detective…and then..everything happened very fast.
Within twenty-four hours, Tommy, Sheila, Gerald and Mikey were all picked up for questioning by the St. Paul Police Department.
I, too, was questioned. Initially, I was being considered the “instigator” of this plot…since Tommy and his friends had all said it was my idea…but California police records showed quite a history of “trouble making events” for Tommy Clark and that lifted all suspicion from me.
But I did have to admit the “chaining” and “hunger strike” plans were my idea.
We then had to appear before a grand jury to see if there was enough evidence for a felony charge.
Unfortunately, the grand jury determined there was not enough conclusive evidence that a crime was actually going to be committed.
Instead, they determined it was more likely just some “bragging” by some college kids who had had too many beers to drink…
And that Riley Sanderson…who had also been drinking when she had heard of these “let’s blow up the tower” plans…had just misinterpreted the whole thing.
Since no charges were filed, our names were never released but everyone knew quickly who we were…and Tommy was a hero to the more militant side of the anti-war movement.
The University of Minnesota, however, looked at this incident differently and decided to use this as an example to other students at the University who may be planning acts of civil disobedience in protesting the Viet Nam war…
They placed a full-page ad in the Minnesota Daily…citing the University’s policy regarding protests and rallies and consequences for unlawful behavior.
We were all called into the Dean’s office and expelled without any recourse.
Tommy and his friends’ scholarships were rescinded…and everything went on our permanent record.
It didn’t matter to me. I was heading north as soon as possible. My parents would be joining me.
“Time for new beginnings…” my dad had said. “For all of us…”
But…just as I was leaving the building I realized that I had forgotten my gloves and walked back to get them.
Tommy, Sheila, Gerald and Mikey were all huddled together at a table quietly talking.
I could see that Sheila had been crying. I knew how close she had been to getting her law degree and how much she had looked forward to being a lawyer.
I grabbed my gloves and turned back to the door. Tommy spotted me.
“This isn’t over, ‘little girl’… far from it. You made a very big mistake.”
And…then he gave me that chillingly, cold smile that I would never forget.