November 13, 1970 – On this day, news from Ft. Benning, Georgia was about picking a Jury for the trial of Lt. Calley, accused in the massacre of Vietnamese civilians at My Lai in 1968. Seems getting a “Jury of his peers” was easier said than done. Most of those picked to stand on the jury were either reluctant to be chosen or outright refused to take part in the trial. The laborious task of selecting a panel to hear the trial continued through this day. The Defense and the Prosecution moved to dismiss several prospective jurors, who it was claimed, had pre-conceived views on what happened at My Lai. While the Defense had been claiming that Lt. Calley could not be tried fairly because of the pre-trial publicity, the Prosecution found that some of the officers selected to be jurors felt the Army made a mistake in bringing him to trial. Some felt it wasn’t right that the Army should go about Court-martialing Calley, that they knew the stresses and strains of combat. Those interviewed were dismissed from the panel.
Anti-War Activist Jerry Rubin was ordered to get out of Great Britain the day before. Instead, he fled to Northern Ireland and said he would stay there. But he was arrested today. He protested the Police had no jurisdiction to arrest him in Northern Ireland, but the powers-that-be disagreed and asked if Rubin would leave the country quietly. Jerry Rubin said yes.
And the yearly catastrophe which visits California each year, made its presence known, yet again, this day in 1970, with wildfires erupting all over Southern California. With dry brush, dry winds and 70 mile per hour gusts making life miserable like clockwork, Southern California was bracing as wildfires swept into otherwise sleepy and bucolic communities, turning entire neighborhoods into swaths of charred rubble. As of this day in 1970 four fires had broken out so far, most in rural areas. With the biggest fires happening in the San Bernardino National Forest, burning 25,000 acres so far. However, there was no indication this set of fires would reach the level of devastation reached only a month earlier, but forecasters were predicting the winds would continue.
And that’s just a small slice of what went on in the world, this November 13, 1970 as presented by NBC Nightly News.