We Are The Fire That Will Melt ICE – Rest in power, Will Van Spronsen [Olympia WA]

From Puget Sound Anarchists, Submitted Anonymously

Early this morning around 4am our friend and comrade Will Van Spronsen was shot and killed by the Tacoma police. All we know about what lead up to this comes from the cops, who are notoriously corrupt and unreliable sources for such a narrative. The story that we do have is that Will attempted to set fire to several vehicles, outbuildings and a propane tank outside the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma which houses hundreds of immigrants awaiting hearings or deportations. He successfully set one vehicle on fire and then exchanged gunfire with Tacoma police officers who fatally shot him. He was pronounced dead on the scene. We find his actions inspiring. The vehicles outside the detention facility are used to forcibly remove people from their homes and deport them, often to situations where they will face severe danger or death. Those vehicles being destroyed is only a start of what is needed. We wish the fires Will set had freed all the inmates and razed the entire Northwest Detention Center to the ground. And we miss our friend and wish from the bottom of our hearts that his action had not ended in his death.

Will Van Spronsen was a long-time anarchist, anti-fascist and a kind, loving person. Here in Olympia some of us remember him as a skilled tarp structure builder from the Occupy encampment in 2011. Others remember him from the protests outside the NWDC last summer where he was accused of lunging at a cop and wrapping his arms around the officer’s neck and shoulders, as the officer was trying to arrest a 17-year-old protester. The very next day when he was released from jail he came right back to the encampment outside the center to support the other protesters. He is also remembered as a patient and thoughtful listener who was always willing to hear people out.

We are grief stricken, inspired and enraged by what occurred early this morning. ICE imprisons, tortures and deports hundreds of thousands of people and the brutality and scale of their harm is only escalating. We need every form of resistance, solidarity and passion to fight against ICE and the borders that they defend. Will gave his life fighting ICE we may never know what specifically was going through his head in the last hours of his life but we know that the NWDC must be destroyed and the prisoners must be freed. We do not need heroes, only friends and comrades. Will was simply a human being, and we wish that he was still with us. It’s doubtless that the cops and the media will attempt to paint him as some sort of monster, but in reality he was a comrade who fought for many years for what he believed in and this morning he was killed doing what he loved; fighting for a better world.

This evening around 8pm roughly 30 anarchists gathered at Percival landing in Olympia WA to remember Will Van Spronsen and to oppose ICE. We held road flares and banners reading “Rest In Power Will Van Spronsen” “Abolish ICE” “RIP Will” “Fire to the Prisons” and “Stop Deportation End Incarceration.” We shared stories and memories of Will with each other, laughed, and cried. Some people split off and plastered downtown Olympia with “Immigrants Welcome” stickers, while others drove circles around downtown flying the “Rest in Power Will” from the back of a truck.

May his memory be a blessing.

Love to those still fighting.

There are 16 Comments


But he could have killed immigrants within the centre, the people he was saying should be free. I suppose death is a type of freedom.

He was across the street from the detention center. Learn to read asshole

yes. For the lazy, across the street in a parking lot attacking the busses used to take people to the airport and the vehicles used for raids.

He most likely was going for the perimeter control station building. Prisoners are usually confined in the inner center of any institution, in order to make escape harder for those inside, and a prison break harder from the outside. Most folks that take these kind of actions plan them and case environments. I’m sure will was that kind of actor. He’d been to the place many times before; he knew who was where. He also probably knew he didn’t stand a snowballs chance in hell of freeing anyone or surviving the action. This was an action to bring attention to what other organized actors may try in the future when this ‘detention centers’ start installing stacks. Also really what should be happening way before it comes to smoke stacks.

surely more attacks are the best way to remember the comrade rather than LARPing around Olympia with banners?

Rest in power. An act more related, it seems, to sucidal ideation than any strategic long term resistance... honestly not much tactical benefit to it, but symbolic at least...we do what we can.

That's my read, suicide by cop, only slightly related to the political stuff. Won't stop the internet from going bonkers about it but what can you do?

Let me get this straight. The folks who knew him and worked with him over the years are blind fools, but the mainstream media who parrot the police without question and some anonymous anti-anarchist clown are the arbiters of objective truth. Fuck you both and anyone else who just has to comment about a dead companero’s motives from the peanut gallery.

Ummm some of his friends are saying it was suicidal as well. It seems weird not to talk about it. There are many active campaigns of resistance against ICE currently happening. A singular act sure to end fatality and you don't want to discuss mental health? Do we want resilient movements in resistance where we talk about the hard distances between aspirations and reality amd how to deal with them... or you just want to shit talk anyone who cares to explore all the uncomfortable nuances and gray held within our black and white ideals? This symbolic act was devastating and painful. I promise you all the people inside those facilities want desperately to live, until conditions inside make them feel otherwise. Why are certain tendencies within anarchism making people outside feel the same way? Are we tending towards symbolic fatal acts of deed? Are we creating a death cult? And sure, fuck the mainstream media but why don't you want to talk about it?

Sorry, I see that touched a nerve. I’m familiar with research indicating that suicide attacks tend to be, arguably in general, above all suicides focused through whatever belief system is at hand. I’m only saying that’s still not an exhaustive explanation and the range of possible understanding shouldn’t be reduced as such.

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