I read your newspaper, The Razor Wire. It is a voice that I never expected to hear. Thank you. I'm looking forward to receiving a copy.
- David Ella Monica, POW
Thanks for sending the November Coalition's newspapers to me. I think it's really important that prisoners have a voice and know that there are people fighting for their freedom. I think it is really a very powerful paper.
I'm mailing a couple of your papers to Transform, an organization here in Bristol. Danny Kushlich is the guy who I think formed the group. Transform will be holding a street type drama outside the Home Office (government office responsible for drug laws in England) on June 6th. Danny has appeared on radio and TV drug debates and has access to journalists. I mentioned the November Coalition to him and he had never heard of you. Therefore, I am mailing the papers to him and hopefully he can pass them on, or inform more journalists about what is really happening in America.
Also, I have mailed a couple of issues of the Razor Wire to two journalists over here. One works for Talk Radio, a quite intelligent guy named Scott Chisum. The other, Nick Cohen, writes for the Observer Sunday newspaper.
There are still quite passionate, open debates over here on TV and radio. The debate hasn't been closed as it is in America. You don't get called a "druggie" or "soft on crime" if you advocate decriminalization, legalization, or harm reduction.
Again, thanks for sending the papers. Keep up the good work.
Damien Moore, London, England
The single page NC, Xerox ready, flyer with the great Uncle Sam cartoon and tag-line is FANTASTIC. Thanks! We'll get the presses rolling. The last ones we distributed over 200 copies. The new ones, well by the time we got our copies of the new "Razor Wire," someone unknown to us had ran off a stack between mail call and chow. I'm continually amazed by you. I was thinking TNC needs to join hands with other organizations like Green Prisoners Release from Holland, but this issue I noticed you're already doing that! I thought that the real thrust of the organization must come from enlightening people with the plight of families (they do suffer far more than us), you're already doing that. I realize that as prisoners, our most productive roll must be in raising the numbers. "Circulation 100,000 by 2,000." I've enclosed a list of people that should get a copy of TNC, some I've already petitioned so this will be a reminder to sent money and support, others like my judge, need to do something other than get drunk all the time. TNC might help! Thanks for the energy. Onward thru the Fog!
Date: Fri., 5 Jun. 1998
I was talking to a lawyer friend of mine last night and he
was telling me about 2 different cases that he is working with.
One client was busted by his cousin for selling marijuana to
him. His cousin had been busted and had to make some busts for
reduced sentence. He in turn had to make 5 busts for a reduced
sentence. Law enforcement is using the number of busts like the
military used body count in Vietnam to measure their effectiveness.
(BUT GET THIS!!!!), The second case he told me about was over
a traffic violation. A high school student rear ended a car and
left the scene. He was later arrested and talked into making
2 drug busts for the local police for reduced sentence. (A TRAFFIC
VIOLATION)!!! Send me some more copies of the last issue.
On behalf of myself, and all the ladies at FCI Tallahassee, I would like to thank Dr. John Beresford, M.D., The Committee On Unjust Sentencing, Los Angeles, California for his immeasurable compassion and selfless efforts to regain our freedom. He recently gave his time and energy to create our "Tallahassee Project," a collection of our photos and stories, which was displayed at the San Francisco and Colville allies on June 8th. It was his encouragement that brought many of us forward for the very first time. He has continually offered us hope when we felt none, and remains a shining ray of light in our dark world. We greatly appreciate all that you have done for us. Thank you John.
Karen Hoffman, Tallahassee, Florida
Subject: Charles Grodin
Saturday Night, June 7, Charles Grodin broadcast the most scathing condemnation of reactionary drug law I have seen, or heard, within the cowering wasteland of nationally distributed television.
This program was broadcast on regular access cable TV. The discussion was distinguished by its marginilization of two hardline drug war supporters/politicians, one state rep from NY and one from FL, guests via satellite. The debate also included two activists for reform; one expert/activist for correctional reform, one ex-con/activist who served 12 years on a first offense. A stammering elected political fence straddler wildcard was included.
There were taped appearances by family members of convicts victimized by VICE squad stings and serving 10+ year sentences.
Much of it degenerated into kindergarten 'who can shout the loudest' testosterone-fueled bitch and scream TV, recalling the limited attention-span broadcasting frontier pioneered by the idiotic rantings of Crossfire, Jerry Springer and McLaughlin. But Grodin's pro-reform bias, and the selection of activists who were armed with relevant facts and statistics, and EXTREMELY aggressive, made the fundamentalist Prison State arguments paraded by the drug war hawks sound like fabricated, ignorant totalitarianism, i.e. some of the truth was allowed to surface.
The primary focus of the program was the Rockefeller drug laws in NY State upon which the present Federal Persecution System of Mandatory Minimums was modeled.
The Status Quo position was so bitterly trounced by the reformers that even the fence straddler sounded like a desperate, hissing propagandist by the end of the program.
Grodin limited the program's scope to the level of the television-impaired by embracing the common delusion pretending 'both sides of the debate'. Adhering to the linear spin world formula, Grodin's effort achieved the internal standard of 'legitimacy' established by a professional community portraying journalists in the B-movie environment of Washywood propaganda product, carefully designed to maximize ad time rates. This requires submerging discussion to the depths of dualistic, black/white, good/evil, right/wrong, play school model of comprehension defining the foundation upon which contemporary Western philosophical thought collapses and the adolescent confusion of public policy festers.
I don't watch enough broadcast swill to make informed remarks on what slips through the cracks, but I'm guessing this show was either the first, or one of the first, nationally distributed TV talk shows to fall this far outside the boundaries of allowable debate. If Charles Grodin is not canceled within the next three months, it should be said that he was instrumental in widening those boundaries.
Editor's note: We have heard that Charles Grodin's show
will be no morehe is canceled. Write the network and
Please accept the enclosed government check for $10 from my account here, and change my address. They moved me again darn it. Just when I got to making $10.50 a day in their slave labor factory, they decide to spend a $1000 or so to ship me across a couple of states to put me to work in another slave factory at half the pay. Guess I never will get the hang of this. My life is such a failure. It is good to see a picture of Nora and my old friend, Bill Perry in the latest issue. Now I know what you both look like. Can't figure out how you folks do it, the paper is great and we all appreciate it very much here. Keep it up. The Rastafarian community here is very active, and we are making plans for a weekly fast in honor of the various initiatives on this November's ballot to end some phase of the drug war. Thomas Jefferson called for a national day of prayer and fasting for June 1, 1775. The Continental Congress passed the resolution, and our forefathers met in church that day to pray for the success of their great work of freedom over tyranny. I am fasting one day a week, and the weekend prior to the election in November. Let's see what bringing a little power of the Spirit will do. Thanks again for all your work.
Sincerely, Rev. Tom Brown
Subject: Prison Sentences for the Non-violent
Hello, I just came across your website. I too have a very dear friend who is serving a 20 year federal prison sentence for drugs. Her name is Terri Christine Taylor. She is in her 8th year now and she is about to turn 28 this August. It breaks my heart that I can't do much to help her.
I met her through an ad placed on the Internet by a home-town friend 2 and half years ago. We have been close ever since. In some ways I am like a father to her (I'm old enough to be her father), and in some ways she is like the daughter I never had.
Mandatory minimum sentences are insane for first time nonviolent offenders. Christine has no business being in prison! And like many thousands of others like her, she will spend the most important young adult years of her life locked away in a terrible place for no good reason. I have written scores of letters to congress pleading with them to change these laws for non-violent first timers or to at least re-instate parole for new law offenders. These people like Christine Taylor will never again darken a court room with a criminal charge!
I pray every day for her release. I have never met her face to face and I would like to. I hope I meet her before I die!
We simply must do something about these awful laws that keep
people like Christine in prison but allow murderers to go free!
I'm going to make this short and sweet. I have been reading your paper for some time now. All I can see you doing is asking for people's money, just like Jim Baker would do. I don't see you doing anything to help; all this paper does is cry, cry, cry. All the government is saying to us is stop selling drugs, and we won't send you to prison. What's so hard about that? I'm here for drugs, and I'm guilty as hell, as I'm sure most of us are. I get out soon and I have a job. I'm sure I will do just fine as long as I follow the law. There is nowhere to go but down with drugs, so JUST SAY NO.
David (Editor's Note: Last name withheld for obvious reasons)
PS I lost my family as well, but I will just start over.
Subject: Postcard from the center of my universe
If I can climb up that tree over there and take out my spyglass, OK, there we go, looking south, I should be able to see the birthplace of America. Philadelphia, home of The Declaration of Independence; the Liberty Bell, Betsy Ross, and Ben Franklin. South of that is Washington D.C., the capital of the Nation; right after Baltimore, home of Poe and Friend to Tubman. To the north, Boston, of Tea Party Tax Revolt fame. Eastward, New York and New Jersey with their precious legacy of; Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, Atlantic City, Martha's Vineyard, and the Chesapeake Bay. All of this and much more within a 4 hour drive... a rich and vibrant slice of American life... 100 million people, just a 24 hour drive from my doorstep.
So what's the point of all this? Simple... the first goal of "November" is "to be heard". We got a big job ahead of us. I,ve got some ideas. McCaffrey may dismiss a reasoned response as "the mouse that roared', but that only underscores his inability to engage in productive dialog, and his retreat to propaganda and rhetoric. "The mouse that roared" will become a roaring fire of resounding truth. The Drug War and the Czar are beginning to be seen as the hollow, empty and corrupt frauds which they are.
Leadership on this critical issue demands someone who can address the truth with up-to-date scientific and sociological facts; someone whose interests unequivocally rest with the common person. not a façade puppet spouting lies and propaganda for the alcohol, tobacco, pharmaceutical, and prison interests.
I would like to meet some people with "November Vision." I am looking at Reading, PA being a location about 45 minutes to an hour pretty equal from Phila., Harrisburg and Allentown. It is the number one shopping destination in the US and could be a good spot for a focus group, brainstorming or serious strategy session. Bring your ideas and concerns. Send email with ideas, preferred dates/ times/locations, etc. to email@example.com We need some action around here.
The only thing required for the triumph of evil is for
good people to do nothing.Edmund Burke
Just a little follow-up re: the sculpture "Despair." I entered it in the Peninsula Art Association Show in May and it won 3rd place in Sculpture, but best of all it was on display in the Shelton, WA. Public Library for 3 weeks (that is a red-neck logging town owned by Simpson Timber Co.) with the dedicatory sign to the November Coalition full in view.
This past Saturday was "Super Saturday" at the Evergreen State College in Olympia, (estimated crowd 25,000 ) all day on a nice sunny day . It was the feature attraction at the W.H.E.N. booth and drew many favorable comments, and I am sure helped increase awareness of your organization.
I plan to have it at the Seattle Hempfest at the W.H.E.N. booth too.
Best wishes, MJDOCDLE
I would really like to participate in the message that we need to send out to our fellow Americans.
I'm a POW and I've left behind six lovely kids to suffer due to not having a father to be with them because of this war. I often wonder when this all will end. I cannot even think what it would be like to grow up without a father. My only hope is that they will understand and never stop loving me as much as I love and miss them.
I've just started a 17 1/2 year sentence. I'm really wondering how I will make it from day to day. Until now, I never thought I could receive such a sentence. I've never hurt or killed anyone; I'm not even a violent person. Can someone please tell me what has happened to America, the land of the free?
Date: Thu, 18 Jun. 1998
When I talk to the public, they whisper, "I agree with you, but I can't stand up." When I question them about their fears, they mumble vaguely about some hypothetical computer that will lead their bosses and the cops to their front door.
I can only sadly reply: "You need to go home and think about freedom, for you are only truly free if you are not afraid to stand up for what you know is right."
Thank God for the qualities He gave us that enables us to take that stand.
Looking Forward, KayLee
Please place my name on your mailing list. I am presently a federal prisoner being held in Butner, NC. I am a first time non-violent drug offender serving a 188 month sentence for a dry marijuana conspiracy. I will spare you that horror story, because compared to some, it's just a common one that destroyed another hard working, loving, caring American family. I've been locked up for over seven years now, and what I've seen happening leaves me with very little to feel optimistic about. History continues to repeat itself. My frustration with the human race has turned to apathy; I've chalked it up to the "world revolves around me" attitude that pervades this one-time great country. Though it may smack us in the face, we don't care until it directly affects us. The tenants of Libertarianism that this country was founded on are all but dead here. Take my neighbor's rights, as long as you leave mine.
Tom Brennan Jr.
The mass media outlets recently informed us about investor's excitement concerning the initial reports of Entremed's new cancer killing drugs, Angiostatin and Endostatin. Also, former Senator and Presidential candidate Bob Dole endorsed the new impotence pill, Viagra and called it a "wonder drug".
In spite of our multi-billion dollar drug war, the drugs keep on coming, both legal and illegal. It is no wonder that our children are confused when it comes to drugs. The multi-national drug companies are awash in new performance enhancing drugs entering the marketplace daily. Yet, if our children try to enhance their sexual or social performance with pot, speed, or coke, we throw them in prison.
Our children are smart enough to see the double standard.
In the last 25 years we have been fighting a drug war which is costing us more than the gross national product of most countries. The end results are laws that are stripping away our liberties and freedom.
Wake up, America. This arbitrary legal bar used to determine limits to the pursuit of happiness is destroying our families and country for the freedom of the cast & the capsule.
Tom N. Walker, II, Prisoner of War in America
Today a fellow prisoner loaned me his copy of your paper. I was impressed by the fact that the purpose of this paper is to unite the people of this nation in a common cause. It is only through exposure of the truth that deception is defeated. I have no doubt that the opposition will continue to do all in it's power to keep the masses divided. However, if America is still a democracy then it is not too late to rid ourselves of the parasites that have infested the governing body.
We once united and ended the lie that was the Vietnam War. We learned a good lesson from this victory. So did the profiteers of misery. Through the use of the media they control public opinion. They keep the masses divided by promotion of racism, hatred, fear, and distrust.
When you must work two jobs to support a family it leaves little time to contemplate the causes of a nation's problems. This too, is one of the tactics used to control the masses. The host must feed for two to support the parasites, and the host's hunger is blinded to the parasite's cause.
I am not in prison for a drug offense. However, it is the drug war that has allowed the federal government to expand it's abuses of power and I have been caught up in the madness.
I am serving a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen years for possession of 14 rounds of ammunition for a rifle I can legally possess. I was convicted between 1974-1979 of three charges of non-residential, burglary. I served my time and was released. Oklahoma allows a felon to possess a rifle and to hunt.
In January 1992, while hunting, I received a wildlife citation for shooting a coyote from a vehicle. The fine would have been relatively small. Instead, the BAFT came kicking down the door two weeks later, and arrested me for being a felon in possession of a firearm. When I proved in federal court that the state allowed me to legally possess a rifle, they instead prosecuted me for the ammunition. They said the law was silent in regards to ammunition.
It is a daily struggle not to succumb to bitterness. I am now 42 years old and have seven years left to serve. My wife was seven months pregnant when I was jailed; I have never seen my daughter. I can only hope that there is a future beyond prison. The purpose of this letter was not to cry and snivel about my own circumstances, but to ask if you would send copies of your paper to the people I have listed. It is only through educating the public that this war can be won.