While I was in the 'joint'
While I was in the 'joint' ...
.....close to where Chong was in court, several years ago (actually it was a mile away, and it was more of a 'half way house' type situation- we could leave and work during the day....but you had to come back for, ah, 'beddie-bye'); ...and by the way, to ease the tension, I was 'in,' for a non-violent- witness for the prosecution- white collar kind of thing. Nothing to do with violence or drugs, just worked for a 'bad egg' as granddad put it. And he's been dead 20 yrs.
I think it was the first week, or close. We were watching a movie on the tube 'Clear and Present Danger' During one of the scenes in the Oval Office; I blurted out, no, incarceration did not shut me up, "legalize it you dumb fuck." Directing my verbiage, in words generic to my new surroundings, trying to show them how tuff I was, to the character playing the president. Kinda like a character playing a character, so to speak, anyway .....
Nobody else said anything, not even a mumble, and rightly so, as I thought later, the place was monitored, no duh, and all of us were counting the days, if not minutes, not wanting any more of this shit. After I made an ass of my self, an ass of an ass of myself, and calmed back down, a convict's elbow nudged me in the side, accompanied by a quiet voice, so unlike his looks, "bite your tongue."
Later that evening I got chummier with the guy who disagreed with what I said. He went by the name of 'New York John' and a career criminal. He couldn't wait to get out of there, not because he learned his lesson and was going to walk the straight and narrow, but because he learned his lessons and wanted to get back to work. The only 'work' he ever knew: he was a cocaine smuggler, and damn proud of it. He said he didn't mess with pot, only cocaine. But he didn't want pot legal either. He said, "people would just smoke and leave coke and everything else alone, including booze." And if it was ever legalized (taxed and regulated) he would be without a job.
"Same as the great Al Capone," I added, making sure he heard the word 'great.' I new he would appreciate it, and confide in me more. And it worked, he told me all about his business, and the many planes and helicopters he's flown as well as the boats and yachts he's worked on. And he said "the same day I leave here, I'll begin business." It wasn't like we had anything else to do. Unless you wanted to lift weights or eat their terrible food. Or "food" would be better put.
One looks at a plant and sees thorns, some see a flower ;~)
New York John looked at where we were a lot differently than I did, than probably most that were in there doing time; for that matter. For me it was close to Hell and depress-ville, and I could leave and work everyday. He could not. I was only there for five months, compared to his five years on top of the ten he did before meeting me. But you wouldn't know it by his attitude. He was the most positive, up-beat individual in there; like he didn't have a care in the world. Hell, he had a better attitude than the guards, supervisors and the other employees. On one day or other I asked him about it.
"I can leave some day, but they can't. They have to come back day in and day out and work here and take care of other poor sonsabitches who were dumb enough to get caught - and for it, get paid a few hundred dollars a week. Shit, that'll never be for me. I don't think of this as being a prison really. I've learned a shit load of stuff in the past ten years, mostly what not to do, next time. This has been more of a seminar for me, like a ten year University, with the diploma being your freedom. Your freedom to go out there in the world again and do it again, only better this time around.....God I love prohibition. Where else can you make a thousand tax-less dollars a day? This is just an educational vacation, friend."
Alot of what New York John told me ....
....really stuck, and was likewise an education for me as well. I've learned first hand that prohibition, prohibition of any kind will never work. Never has, never will; especially when you have people like the New York John's and the Al Capone's of the world profiting by it.
But there was something he said to me that really turned me around and changed me forever, even though it was said damn near twenty years ago. I can see his face today, and I can hear what his last words were to me when I left. They instilled in me such an impression that none of the guards, supervisors or any counselors could possibly do or say to an inmate in trying to keep them from returning to prison. They were, "I'll be seeing ya. You'll be back."
Excerpt from Chong's book :~)
''You don't appreciate the freedoms that America supposedly guarantees until you lose it. The simple fact is, right now, we are all in the same boat. We all face the same enemy, which is ourselves. Not unlike Nazi Germany during the thirties, many Americans are standing by while the government is slowly dismantling the Constitution. The ironic thing about all of this is that American soldiers are dying in Iraq in the name of the very freedoms that are being suppressed here in America.
I saw a great interview with Gerald Ford, the US president that pardoned Nixon. Donald Rumsfeld was his chief of staff when he was president, so the filmmakers wanted to hear Ford's take on how well Rummie was doing. Instead of the compliments one might expect, Ford lambasted Rumsfeld and the Bush administration for opening two fronts of war. "You finish one war before you start another," was his statement.
He was so right on! The filmmaker tried to get Ford off the subject, but old Gerald, whom I have nothing but respect for now, kept talking about how "everyone from Napoleon to Hitler knows what happens when you spread your troops thin like that." Everyone except Rummie, I guess!"
Law Enforcement against Prohibition
ONE DRUG ARREST EVERY 18 SECONDS IN THE U.S.
NEW FBI NUMBERS SHOW FAILURE OF "WAR ON DRUGS"
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A group of police and judges who want to legalize drugs pointed to new FBI numbers released today as evidence that the "war on drugs" is a failure that can never be won. The data, from the FBI's "Crime in the United States" report, shows that in 2008 there were 1,702,537 arrests for drug law violations, or one drug arrest every 18 seconds.
"In our current economic climate, we simply cannot afford to keep arresting more than three people every minute in the failed 'war on drugs,'" said Jack Cole, a retired undercover narcotics detective who now heads the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). "Plus, if we legalized and taxed drug sales, we could actually create new revenue in addition to the money we'd save from ending the cruel policy of arresting users."
Founded on March 16, 2002, LEAP is made up of current and former
members of the law enforcement and criminal justice communities who are
speaking out about the failures of our existing drug policies. Those
policies have failed, and continue to fail, to effectively address the
problems of drug abuse, especially the problems of juvenile drug use,
the problems of addiction, and the problems of crime caused by the
existence of a criminal black market in drugs.
Although those who speak publicly for LEAP are people from the law enforcement and criminal justice communities, a large number of our supporting members do not have such experience. You don't have to have law enforcement experience to join us.
By continuing to fight the so-called "War on Drugs", the US government has worsened these problems of society instead of alleviating them. A system of regulation and control of these substances (by the government, replacing the current system of control by the black market) would be a less harmful, less costly, more ethical and more effective public policy.
Please consider joining us and helping us to achieve our goals: 1) to educate the public, the media and policy makers about the failure of current policies, and 2) to restore the public's respect for police, which respect has been greatly diminished by law enforcement's involvement in enforcing drug prohibition.
"Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."
-Abraham Lincoln (1809-65) U.S. President.
Speech, 18 Dec. 1840, to Illinois House of Representatives
"He who rejects change is the architect of decay. The only human institution which rejects progress is the cemetery." -- Harold Wilson
- Judges, Mark A. Ciavarella & Michael T. Conahan Guilty in Scheme to Jail Youths for Profit | Cre
- Ex-Morgan Stanley Bankers Cannibis-Linked IPO Is Investor Gateway to Boom - Bloomberg
In an industrial section of Oakland, California, former Morgan Stanley investment banker Derek Peterson hops into a trailer being outfitted with shower drains, lights and humidifiers, all used for growing marijuana.
- Law Enforcement Against Prohobition
- Common Sense for Drug Policy
- Marijuana Law Reform - NORML
- International Cannagraphic Magazine