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What One Letter
Can Do

By Dawn T. Walt, Regional Leader, The November Coalition

Dawn Walt, another San Diego Regional leader, responded to an article that appeared in North County Times newspaper: A prison for the future, KERN COUNTY: Private firm is ready to make a bid to house state's felons.

Dawn's response editorial was published on June 17th and read as follows:


I think that fellow Americans should take a closer look at the issues brought up in the Sunday Perspective pages of the paper regarding "privatization prison industries." Ask yourself a few of these questions: Who are all these people that are filling these prisons? Why does a prison guard with a GED make more money as a first year corrections officer than an average teacher with a college education?

Why are we building more prisons than schools in this country?

Can someone please tell me why we have to lock up people for 25-50 years for using or selling marijuana? Is this helping anyone, or stopping the flow of marijuana?

We often use the "children" as our reason we have this War on Drugs. Can anyone tell me the effect this is having on all the children that are left behind by these parents that are now in prison for extended amounts of time?

Why do we feel it is our right to tell some sick person that it's not OK to use marijuana for medical purposes, you must use the prescription morphine, or Marinol®. If you break this law you will be put into prison for life. Or as the Speaker of the house recently said, "We'll just kill you if you smuggle an ounce of pot into this country."

Who are these felons that the State prisons will be providing early release to? Statistically speaking there are more people doing time for violent crime in state prison, than in the Federal system, mainly because drug war crimes are federal. This means that these drug "criminals" are serving far more time, longer sentences with no parole, than your typical rapist, murder, or child abuser.

Does this make sense to any of you? Not to mention the huge amount of money it costs to house these "criminals," or the billions we spend to wage this war.

Drug abuse is horrible thing. The WAR ON PEOPLE that use drugs is worse by far. Just take a look around you. Read your paper and ask why we are willing to give up our bill of rights to fight this war on fellow Americans, "for their own good?"

It is time to have a common sense discussion and look at the alternatives to this insanity.

Do you want to be the next wrong address that some junkie informant gives the DEA, and they come barging in your home in the middle of the night with guns draw, taking you prisoner and asking questions later?

I am no longer willing to be quiet about this issue, in FEAR that I,ll be labeled "pro-drug." We the people; families and loved ones of those that have been effected by this war, are going to speak the truth in love and we will not be silent any longer!

The public has spoken, and most people think our current system is not working. Yet the president and all his merry men continue to do more of the same, saying this is what the public wants.

I say they're wrong. There are many other alternatives to incarceration. Let's get past the propaganda, lies, fear and money and on to an open honest look at various options for the common good.

Dawn T. Walt is North County leader of the November Coalition, an organization that is critical of the war on drugs.

On the morning her editorial was published, her phone began to ring. The first gentleman who called was very enthusiastic and said, "I agree with you! You are right-on. We have to talk."

Before long, three more encouraging phone calls followed. The following email from the editor of the paper. Wayne Halberg wrote:

"You apparently touched a nerve. I hardly ever get calls from people wanting to speak to authors of commentaries. We get letters to the editor, but rarely calls."

Mr. Halberg passed on a few more phone numbers of people who wanted to contact Dawn.

One letter written to a newspaper has brought more TNC members and educated thousands of readers. We also have a San Diego reporter quite intrigued.

See what one letter can do? Write one today.

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