Message from Kevin Zeese

Day Five:  Journeyers Face Cops and Death
September 26, 2000

On the way to the O.L. Luther Prison in Grimes County local police approached us because someone (unidentified) called in and said there was a caravan with anti-drug war slogans going through the town of Navasota and they might be carrying drugs.  The basis of the claim seems to have been some plastic marijuana leaves which are used in the Journeyers' traveling show.

We discussed the situation with the Navasota police and they seemed satisfied.  But then the state police said they wanted to talk with us so we waited for their arrival.  A state trooper and local sheriff joined the Navasota police.  ; After a 15-minute delay and some discussion we asked whether we were under arrest or free to leave and they told us we could move on.

When we got to O.L. Luther the gate was blocked by one prison vehicle.  The officer got out of his car to tell us one of our vehicles -- that had parked in a parking lot -- needed to move off of the parking lot because it was on state land and onto the right of way alongside the road.  We complied.  Several other police vehicles joined the prison officer includin g some more prison cars, a state police car and two sheriff's vehicles.  They attempted to take down the license plate numbers on our vehicles.  We asked if they were beginning an investigation and if so on what ground s.  They refused to answer, therefore we refused to cooperate, covering our license plates.  They did not pursue the matte r any further.

The police looked confused, not sure what to do.  More police kept arriving adding to the confusion.  Each time a vehicle arrived, i.e., a visitor and a UPS truck, they had to move all their cars to make way.  The police brought out their video camera and fi lmed us; we continued to film them.  They tried to tell one of the Journeyers to move off of an area.  He refused to move and we showed unity by joining him since it was in the right of way.

Murli, the driver of the lead RV and a Journey veteran, commented the police reminded him of an old codger's saying: "They didn't know whether to shit or go blind so they closed one eye and farted."

We finished the day in Hempstead.  The Journey stopped in Hempstead for a memorial service commemorating drug-p rohibition related deaths.  We parked at the Waller County Courthouse near "Six Shooter Junction" the site of an alcohol prohib ition-era related shoot out.  In 1905 prohibitionists had just won a major battle in their attempts to ban alcohol.  A gun fight broke out and U.S. Congressman John Pinckney, his brother and two others were gunned down in the courthouse while meeting with prohibitionists.&nb sp; The shooting occurred after some heckling.  When it was all over 75 bullets had been fired, the courthouse was riddled with bullets and four people were dead.

At the memorial Jodi James remembered the deaths of young people who died from preventable overdoses, people fatally shot in police or military drug enforcement raids and police officers who have died enforcing the drug laws.  Ann McCormack me morialized the noted author Peter McWilliams who died because a federal judge ordered him not to use his medicine.  Journeyers passed out literature and spoke to people passing by.

Tomorrow will be a slow ride; the wheelchairs will be coming out as we travel through some small Texas towns.


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