When I saw the pictures of two teenagers, Turner Lupton and Nicholas Ross, on the front page of the September 16, 2015 issue of The Wewoka Times arrested on a marijuana charge, I was revolted, because of the disaster this can be to their young lives.
I am 84 years old and have never smoked marijuana or taken any illegal drugs in my lifetime. Yet, when I see such dumb, stupid laws still on the books that fill our jails with people who have harmed no one, not even themselves, because of a harmless plant that George Washington is believed to have once raised as a farm product, I am disgusted with the stupidity of it. This is an action that only fills the pockets of the prison-industrial complex. We should be growing hemp that can be used for many industrial products.
We saw what happened with prohibition a couple of generations ago. It created a crime cartel we are still fighting. Have we learned nothing? I am ashamed that Oklahoma still arrests these two young folks and probably set them on a lifetime of crime. Instead we pat a cop on the back for such an arrest that benefits the prison-industrial complex. Sure he has done his duty but why do we still have such laws on the books that, like prohibition, have created a criminal industry?
We must change the laws that are feeding the prison industrial complex or change the lawmakers who fail to act and yet still tolerate the real criminals, brokers and banksters on Wall Street who have done so much more damage to our people. While we are at it, for the sake of justice, why don’t we do away with the death penalty that causes too many innocent people to perish because of career climbers trying to make a name? We need a panel of professionals with citizen oversight to review the cases of all those in prison. Those deemed no longer a danger to society should be released to half-way-houses for training and rehabilitation to society. Also let’s do away with private prisons that make money on people’s misery. Incarceration is a state responsibility that should be answerable to our elected representatives, not private corporations. The money saved on housing prisoners could be used for education that cuts down on the number of people who go to prison. As children are trained, so they become.
Both the Democrat and Republican parties have become corporate toadies that have passed laws so that these financial crooks can get away with their crimes. We must get rid of the warmongers and corporate toadies and put new people in office that will look after the people’s interest.
Let’s not demonize our kids who may think that smoking weed is cool. Consider the effect that their identification with names and photos on the front page of the newspaper will have on their future. We need to support young people in the criminal justice system and help them to turn their lives around. Let’s hope these kids, Lupton and Ross, get an understanding judge who will not spoil the rest of their lives.
- Glenn Evans is the founder of PoetsWest and Activists for a Better World, hosts PoetsWest at KSER 90.7FM, a nationally syndicated weekly radio show, and is author of four books of poetry: Deadly Mistress, Window in the Sky, Seattle Poems and Buffalo Tracks, author of three novels, Broker Jim, Zeke’s Revenge and Wayfarers with The Last Lumber Baron as a works in process. Part Cherokee and originally from Oklahoma, he has lived in the northwest for 55 years and in 2014 moved to the Olympia area. He has written numerous political essays and authored local community histories including Seattle’s Pike Place Market.