Concerned Citizen Launches "Drugs Bring Death" Campaign

A bold new anti-drug campaign has emerged in Lima, OH, the site of a shocking drug raid gone wrong in which the SWAT team killed Tarika Wilson -- an unarmed mother of six -- and shot her baby:

For about four hours, Jesse Lowe stood silently by himself holding a cardboard sign with three words scrawled in black marker: "Drugs Bring Death."

His message wasn't aimed just at the dealers or residents of the neighborhood scarred by shootings and fear. He wanted the city to hear him.

In the months since, Lowe's solitary protest has drawn together black and white, rich and poor in a city simmering with anger since a white police officer shot and killed a black woman and wounded her baby during a drug raid. The officer faces trial Monday on negligent homicide and negligent assault charges.

Upwards of 100 people have shown up at many of the nine rallies he's put together, waving "Drugs Bring Death" signs. They've handed out thousands of stickers, T-shirts and signs that now blanket the city midway between Toledo and Dayton. A billboard company donated space on four signs, and businesses have supplied food for the rallies.

"The courage of one man is spreading to everyone," said police Maj. Kevin Martin. "This is what the solution has to be. As police, we're limited in what we can do." [AP]

This is the same department that posted an image on its website that was threatening to the public and even positioned snipers over a peaceful public protest against their own violent tactics.

Of course, it should come as no surprise that in a town plagued by aggressive drug war policing, law enforcement would rally around a man who blames drugs and not the drug war for the suffering that surrounds him. Yet it was police who killed Tarika Wilson and who've kept their mouths clamped shut as the community cried out for answers. Across the nation, police are killing innocent people through needlessly confrontational paramilitary drug raids. It's a disturbing trend that will surely grow worse if we continue to blame drugs themselves for the preventable consequences of overzealous narcotics enforcement. Just look at the effect Lowe's campaign is already having:

"I don't know what caused Jesse to go out there, but thank God," said Bob Horton, a minister. He listens to a police radio scanner at home and has noticed a change in the neighborhood.

"People are calling in more when they see something," he said. "They didn't use to do that."

Unfortunately, the more calls police receive about suspected drug activity, the more mistakes will be made and the more innocent people will be killed. That is just the inevitable consequence of declaring war within our own communities. You get just exactly what you ask for, except, of course, any lasting peace and security.

So while I don't fault Jesse Lowe at all for spreading the message his challenging life has taught him, it's frustrating to see the discussion of drug abuse boiled down to such a simple soundbite. It is precisely the "Drugs Bring Death" mentality that fosters tolerance for the excessive drug war violence carried out by our own public servants. It is that sense of morbid inevitability that prevents too many of us from envisioning an answer beyond the endless war taking place in our own streets.

As long as the drug war continues, there will be no control, no security and no solution. If communities can muster the bravery to stand up to the dealers on their block, let's hope they'll someday join us in challenging the laws that created those enemies and recognize at long last that drugs are only as dangerous as we allow them to be.
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AP Report ignores trial for SWAT officer

The same day this story came out, a jury was seated for the trial of the officer assuced of killing Tarika Wilson and shooting her one year old son. But the trial wasn't even mentioned in the AP story. The reporter failed to offer any perspective or angle of possible police wrong doing. The media needs to be criticized and called out when they engage in this type of pro-drug war journalism. The term drug-related doesn't accurately describe the crime, drug prohibition or drug trade-related does. Yet, the Print and TV media are constantly guilty of this misuse of terms, which further paints drugs as the problem, not our drug policies.

The fact that this story in Lima hasn't received any national media attention is troubling, especially when there has been a pattern of these deadly SWAT raids. Radley Balko should be applauded for his efforts in documenting the tragic results of using SWAT in drug raids. Until the media starts to cover this story, these deadly drug raids will continue.

I attended a summit on civil rights in Albany, NY sponsered by the Attorney General and asked what oversight the Government could provide with these SWAT raids which rely on the use of imformants. Their answer was that if the police admit to making a "mistake" the AG's office wouldn't investigate. Only if a pattern of 'mistakes" emerged would the the AG's office pursue the matter. The attorney also stated that they receive a lot of these type of SWAT-related complaints, so at least this issue is on their radar. At least, New York State offered a forum to debate this issue. So there is progress, ever so slow, being made on the policial level.

The Media are the Puppets of the Overlords

"But the trial wasn't even mentioned in the AP story. The reporter failed to offer any perspective or angle of possible police wrong doing. The media needs to be criticized and called out when they engage in this type of pro-drug war journalism."

This is the reason 'simple' people blame drugs and not the war. The media is not "fair and balanced," and the reason people are 'brainwashed' into supporting the drug warrior agenda. People need to wake-up and start thinking for themselves because they can't rely on the media for the real story -- about any subject really.

Tarika's

boyfriend is charged with a FELONY for selling a small amount of contolled substances, yet the swatzi is charged with a MISDEMEANOR for killing a woman ,standing by, holding her baby. What rabbit hole has this country fallen down?? Jesse is ,nodoubt ,a speedbump provided by the thin blue line.

The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs (as well as the current sentencing guidelines) are nothing more than the government’s excuse: to use racial profiling; to incarcerate a grossly disparate number of minorities and those who cannot afford a proper defense; and to even kill innocent persons with little or no requirement to answer for their actions. Furthermore, the stiff sentences for crack cocaine, but not for powder cocaine; and the numerous drug raids in minority neighborhoods, but few in upper class non-minority neighborhoods are indications, too, that the War on Drugs is, in reality, no more than a War against Minorities and the poor.

"Every friend of freedom must be as revolted as I am by the prospect of turning the United States into an armed camp, by the vision of jails filled with casual drug users and of an army of enforcers empowered to invade the liberty of citizens on slight evidence."
– Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize-winning economist

"A country that goes out of its way to imprison the innocent has no business preaching democracy to the world."
– Paul Craig Roberts

The death of Tarika Wilson and the shooting of her year old child are a sad reminder of the untethered power we have allowed law enforcement to acquire because we fear retaliation and harassment.

http://www.4thepeople.org * [email protected]

We, as a people, will get to the Promised Land

I was reminded this morning of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's quotation in his famous last speech:

The question is not, "If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?" "If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?" That's the question.

It's sad that so few residents joined their fellow citizens in protesting the Lima Police Department's brutal and deadly tactics. Where is the outrage from public officials, such as Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH), whose job it is to stand up for his constituents? Why is the U.S. Department of Justice's Civil Rights Division not investigating this crime? (Today's newspapers indicate that the DOJ was too busy filling its ranks with right-wing Christian fundamentalists who attended sham law schools.)

It is the duty of concerned citizens everywhere to call this what it is: a racist policy that is destroying communities. Did the SWAT team really need to kick down the door with guns blazing, shooting a mother, her child, and their dogs? Ask Congressman Jim Jordan if he thinks so, especially if you live in his district:

Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH)
Lima Office
3121 W. Elm Plaza
Lima, Ohio 45805
Phone: (419) 999-6455

Sadly,
Aaron Houston
Marijuana Policy Project

Politics of a Police State

The media gets a lot of its cheap, sensationalist news from police reporting.  Some of the biggest ratings in TV-land come from glorifying the American stormtroopers (Sturmabteilung) who kick in heads on the city streets, or shoot people dead over minor marijuana busts.  Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised if the corporate media looks the other way in order to preserve America’s never-ending daily fix of law enforcement entertainment.

In addition to this fascist-style collusion between the corporate media and the U.S. government, we see parallels between American police state tactics in the drug war and the way the Nazis manipulated their way into power in Europe.

Much like the drug warriors in Washington, the modus operandi of the National Socialist Party was to stir up trouble by manufacturing artificial civil-war conditions within Germany itself.  Organized violence was a distraction that drove people from their real world issues into the allegedly protective embrace of the Nazi movement, a political body which acted in a timely fashion to put down the social disturbances the Nazi leaders themselves had caused.  A Nazi victory over the forces of disorder was soon declared.  The process was then repeated, much like each new drug menace craze in America, with deliberately provoked social unrest that appeared to be quelled or suspended by adding increasingly more oppressive legal restraints, until individual human rights for all opposition members and denigrated races in Germany were rendered extinct.

The trend is clear.  With an artificial civil war disguised as today’s drug war, the political tactic in question involves a cumulative process that relies upon a slow mental conditioning of the masses to obtain their silent consent.  A hesitancy to address police violence in drug raids, to ignore even the mere appearance of police state tactics in drug enforcement, is to beg for monumental calamities.

Giordano

Drugs Yes; Dopes No

Drugs don't necessarily bring death- dopes do, dopes as those that support the criminal/immorral drug inquisition.

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