The story of the man who built himself an armoured bulldozer to attack and destroy his town has since passed into legend. But was Marvin Heemeyer just a spite filled brute, or a symbol of the ‘little guy’ perennially oppressed by corporate power?
A man by the name of Marvin Heemeyer sat in his Komatsu D355A Bulldozer as he used his workshop crane to lower twelve tonnes of composite armour on top of him, effectively entombing himself. With the fate he had decided for himself however, he wasn’t concerned.
This was the culmination of an 18 month project to build himself a ‘Killdozer’; a behemoth complete with gun ports (for three rifles), cameras and air-conditioning. Heemeyer’s plan was to treat the town of Granby, USA to a destructive rampage in revenge for a series of injustices he felt he had suffered.
So, what had led Heemeyer to this moment?
‘Marv’, a man described by many as ‘likeable’ and ‘affable’, had bought some land in Granby for $48,000 in 1992 to build an air muffler workshop. Later he agreed to sell his land to a Mr Cody Docheff for $250,000, but changed his mind. Why, is unclear but he then demanded $375,000 before raising the price again to $1,000,000, pricing himself out of a deal that would help facilitate the construction of a concrete factory next to his business.
In 2001, local authorities approved the construction of the concrete factory anyway.
Heemeyer attempted to appeal the decision but was unsuccessful. It was claimed by Heemeyer that the construction blocked access to the shop. He was also fined $2,500 for various violations, including “not being hooked up to the sewer line” When he mailed in the cheque, it included a note with “Cowards” scrawled on it. Clearly, Heemeyer was pissed.
“I was always willing to be reasonable until I had to be unreasonable”, he wrote. “Sometimes reasonable men must do unreasonable things.”
On June the 4th, 2004, Heemeyer was ready. He smashed his Killdozer through his workshop wall and, predictably, lumbered towards his first target, the concrete factory. Over the next two hours, police tried to stop him but the Killdozer’s armour was impervious to anything they could throw at it, including gunfire, explosives and stun grenades thrown down its exhaust chute. It was all the cops could do to keep everyone out of Heemeyer’s destructive path.
In the end, Heemeyer’s trail of destruction was halted when his armoured brute fell into the cellar of a hardware store he’d demolished. Unable to get out, and unwilling to go to jail, cops heard a solitary gunshot go off inside the Killdozer.
Heemeyer had damaged thirteen buildings, including the town hall and caused $7,000,000 worth of damage.
Heemeyer’s legacy is controversial; for some he is remembered as a folk hero, who stood up to ‘the man’ that had tried to bully him in the interests of big business and point out that Heemeyer avoided killing anyone. Yet for others he was a terrorist and the fact there were no casualties was more by luck than design.