just finished the extravaganza of bioneers, all these brilliant minds coming up with solutions for a torn up twisted world, beautiful solutions, urban forestry solutions, solutions of song and art and dance and now i really want to learn to farm. i met this amazing boy named aaron who said i can come farm with him in 2007 when he gets back from studying music in mali, so i will set that dream on the calendar. the folks who spoke there included rha goddess, omar friella, andy lipkis – the genius who figured out how the catch and re-use the rainwater in l.a. in hopes of stopping that city of angels from sucking every drop from the communities that surround it, this genius named janine b who first envisioned bi-mimicry – learning from nature’s operating systems concepts we can apply to our own creative plans. i want to learn to find in nature systems of power exchange and leadership development and conflict resolution for the young people i work with.
also i had an idea for helping farms respond to flash hailstorms and other beautiful destructive forces from on high that involves the button technology of automatic umbrellas that instead of springing open from the bottom up would spring up and then fall open to cover the trees. we’ll see if it already exists.
last night i slept in a yert (spelling?) which is basically like sleeping in a covered outdoor room, looking at the sky, hearing the world, under big covers. slept sooo well y’all, not even playing. then woke up early this morning to play with john and genevieve’s baby twins, sam and hazel, who are brilliant and awesome and learning to walk and point at what they want and laugh responsively. every other piece of work pales in comparison to these massive accomplishments.
in other news, i have two days of ruckus work ahead of me, got to party with lots of great people and have still more to kick it with while i’m here before i take my 5 hr drive to l.a. – the entirety of which i plan to spend listening to sweet honey in the rock because bernice johnson-reagon is my hero.
i forgot my camera so unfortunately i don’t have pictures of all of this.
here’s some good reading:
Los Angeles Times
October 16, 2005 Sunday
SECTION: CURRENT; Editorial Pages
Desk; Part M; Pg. 1
A former police chief wants to
end a losing war by legalizing pot, coke, meth and other drugs
BYLINE: Norm Stamper, Norm
Stamper is the former chief of the Seattle Police Department. He is the author
of "Breaking Rank: A Top Cop’s Expose of the Dark Side of American
Policing" (Nation Books)
October 16, 2005
SOMETIMES PEOPLE in law enforcement will hear it whispered that I’m a
former cop who favors decriminalization of marijuana laws, and they’ll approach
me the way they might a traitor or snitch. So let me set the record straight.
Yes, I was a cop for 34 years, the last six of which I spent as chief
of Seattle’s police
But no, I don’t favor decriminalization. I favor legalization, and not
just of pot but of all drugs, including heroin, cocaine, meth, psychotropics,
mushrooms and LSD.
Decriminalization, as my colleagues in the drug reform movement hasten
to inform me, takes the crime out of using drugs but continues to classify
possession and use as a public offense, punishable by fines.
I’ve never understood why adults shouldn’t enjoy the same right to use
verboten drugs as they have to suck on a Marlboro or knock back a scotch and
Prohibition of alcohol fell flat on its face. The prohibition of other
drugs rests on an equally wobbly foundation. Not until we choose to frame
responsible drug use â€” not an oxymoron in my dictionary â€” as a
civil liberty will we be able to recognize the abuse of drugs, including
alcohol, for what it is: a medical, not a criminal, matter.
As a cop, I bore witness to the multiple lunacies of the "war on
drugs." Lasting far longer than any other of our national conflicts, the
drug war has been prosecuted with equal vigor by Republican and Democratic
administrations, with one president after another â€” Nixon, Ford, Carter,
Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush â€” delivering sanctimonious sermons,
squandering vast sums of taxpayer money and cheerleading law enforcers from the
safety of the sidelines.
It’s not a stretch to conclude that our draconian approach to drug use
is the most injurious domestic policy since slavery. Want to cut back on prison
overcrowding and save a bundle on the construction of new facilities? Open the
doors, let the nonviolent drug offenders go. The huge increases in federal and
state prison populations during the 1980s and ’90s (from 139 per 100,000
residents in 1980 to 482 per 100,000 in 2003) were mainly for drug convictions.
In 1980, 580,900 Americans were arrested on drug charges. By
2003, that figure had ballooned to 1,678,200. We’re making more arrests
for drug offenses than for murder, manslaughter, forcible rape and aggravated
assault combined. Feel safer?
I’ve witnessed the devastating effects of open-air drug markets in
residential neighborhoods: children recruited as runners, mules and lookouts;
drug dealers and innocent citizens shot dead in firefights between rival
traffickers bent on protecting or expanding their markets; dedicated narcotics
officers tortured and killed in the line of duty; prisons filled with
nonviolent drug offenders; and drug-related foreign policies that foster
political instability, wreak health and environmental disasters, and make life
even tougher for indigenous subsistence farmers in places such as Latin America
and Afghanistan. All because we like our drugs â€” and can’t have them
without breaking the law.
As an illicit commodity, drugs cost and generate extravagant sums of
(laundered, untaxed) money, a powerful magnet for character-challenged police
Although small in numbers of offenders, there isn’t a major police
force â€” the Los Angeles Police Department included â€” that has
escaped the problem: cops, sworn to uphold the law, seizing and converting
drugs to their own use, planting dope on suspects, robbing and extorting
pushers, taking up dealing themselves, intimidating or
In declaring a war on drugs, we’ve declared war on our fellow citizens.
War requires "hostiles" â€” enemies we can demonize, fear and
loathe. This unfortunate categorization of millions of our citizens justifies
treating them as dope fiends, evil-doers, less than human. That grants
political license to ban the exchange or purchase of clean needles or to
withhold methadone from heroin addicts motivated to kick the addiction.
President Bush has even said no to medical marijuana. Why would he want
to "coddle" the enemy? Even if the enemy is a suffering AIDS or
cancer patient for whom marijuana promises palliative, if not therapeutic,
As a nation, we’re long overdue for a soul-searching, coldly analytical
look at both the "drug scene" and the drug war. Such candor would
reveal the futility of our current policies, exposing the embarrassingly meager
return on our massive enforcement investment (about $69 billion a year,
according to Jack Cole, founder and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition).
How would "regulated legalization" work? It would: 1) Permit
private companies to compete for licenses to cultivate, harvest, manufacture,
package and peddle drugs.
2) Create a new federal regulatory agency
(with no apologies to libertarians or paleo-conservatives).
3) Set and enforce standards of sanitation, potency and purity.
4) Ban advertising.
5) Impose (with congressional approval) taxes, fees and fines to be
used for drug-abuse prevention and treatment and to cover the costs of
administering the new regulatory agency.
6) Police the industry much as alcoholic beverage control agencies keep
a watch on bars and liquor stores at the state level. Such reforms would in no
way excuse drug users who commit crimes: driving while impaired, providing
drugs to minors, stealing an iPod or a Lexus,
assaulting one’s spouse, abusing one’s child. The message is simple. Get
loaded, commit a crime, do the time.
These reforms would yield major reductions in a host of predatory
street crimes, a disproportionate number of which are committed by users who
resort to stealing in order to support their habit or addiction.
Regulated legalization would soon dry up most stockpiles of currently
illicit drugs â€” substances of uneven, often questionable quality
(including "bunk," i.e., fakes such as oregano, gypsum, baking powder
or even poisons passed off as the genuine article). It would extract from
today’s drug dealing the obscene profits that attract the needy and the greedy
and fuel armed violence. And it would put most of those certifiably frightening
crystal meth labs out of business once and for all.
Combined with treatment, education and other public health programs for
drug abusers, regulated legalization would make your city or town an infinitely
healthier place to live and raise a family.
It would make being a cop a much safer occupation, and it would lead to
greater police accountability and improved morale and job satisfaction.
But wouldn’t regulated legalization lead to more users and, more to the
point, drug abusers? Probably, though no one knows for sure â€” our leaders
are too timid even to broach the subject in polite circles, much less to
experiment with new policy models. My own prediction?
We’d see modest increases in use, negligible increases in abuse.
The demand for illicit drugs is as strong as the nation’s thirst for
bootleg booze during Prohibition. It’s a demand that simply will not dwindle or
dry up. Whether to find God, heighten sexual arousal, relieve physical pain,
drown one’s sorrows or simply feel good, people throughout the millenniums have
turned to mood- and mind-altering substances.
They’re not about to stop, no matter what their government says or
does. It’s time to accept drug use as a right of adult Americans, treat drug
abuse as a public health problem and end the madness of an unwinnable