In May of 1998 I decided to organize a protest for the global awareness days. During a meeting with Julian Heicklen, the basis was laid out and the time set. This event took place although the fascist controlled media hardly even glanced. This account is by the only person, (other than the prisoners in the county lockup) who was present for the entire 49 1/2 hours !!
Sunday June 7th 1998 A small army of a dozen descended on the sleepy county seat of Bellefonte Pennsylvania. Planned as the last event of Global Awareness Days, the mission was to spread awareness, by holding a 48 hour protest and distribute literature telling the truth about the war on drugs and Marijuana. The group expected resistance, jeers, anger, intolerance and arrests. What we got was a complete surprise...
The event began at 9:00 pm with several people holding signs in front of the civil war memorial. The group greeted traffic and pedestrians with kindness, friendship and colorful signs. as expected no one paid much attention.
Sunday 10:00 pm Leaving a dozen candles to hold their place the group marched up the hill signs in hand to attend the planned press conference and surrender of Julian Heicklen at the Centre County Prison. During Heicklen's long speech, Bellefonte Police arrived, and gave the group a good look over and examined our signs.
10:30 pm Heicklen entered the prison, and Bellefonte Police asked the group what they were planning to do? I replied on behalf of the group, We intend to peaceably assemble at the memorial to protest the war on drugs and petition the government for a redress of our grievances as guaranteed by our first amendment rights. The Police officer then asked how long we intended to stay there. We replied that the intention was to stay until Julian was released from the prison. I then asked what the Bellefonte Police intended to do? The officer replied"That what we proposed was completely with in our rights as citizens, and said that they would do absolutely nothing as long as we did not break any laws." We talked while walking down the hill, our biggest fear wasn't of arrest, but that considering what they had done to Alan Gordon, the court might revoke the professors bail and keep him locked up until after the planned summer protests. We returned to the square and the surprises began...
10:30 - 12:00 pm Word of mouth spreads rapidly in small town Pennsylvania, although most of the group had to leave because of other obligations, (work school sleep) we still had a dozen people holding signs and another dozen just sitting in. The first comment, we received was that this was the biggest thing that had happened in Bellefonte since someone shot a cop ten years ago. Hundreds of cars honked in support, dozens of people stopped by to see what we were doing and to ask why? Literature was going at an unexpected pace. One large group told us they came because the Bellefonte Police had announced "what we were doing" at the local convenience store. One confused girl poured melted wax over the statue, she said it represented the blood of those who had given their lives for war on drugs, because innocent citizens and police are killed every day to support this civil war on drugs. She was told by members of the group that it was inappropriate, but this was a meeting of free individuals.
Midnight full moon a dozen candles a dozen people, we are here to stay.
Midnight until 2:30 am the weird stuff began to happen. Supporters came by offering, not only their support but weed in the form of burning pipes and joints. We also received food coffee and hot chocolate. Automotive and foot traffic remained at a high pace. From 2:30am until 3:30am only two people sat, thanks for the company Velvet.
Monday 3:30 am One man stands meeting each and every car with enthusiasm. The police stopped by to make sure of my safety and asked when I was leaving? Tuesday at 10pm was my answer. I was told that there was "no police patrol" until 7am.. I was on my own. It wasn't until the early morning hours that I really had a chance to take in the memorial we were standing in front of... I immediately realized just how appropriate this memorial was when I read the words In memory of "those who died to keep the nation whole" What would they think about the war on drugs? I wondered how many more would die in this latest civil war? I really was wondering what the statue on the right symbolized? There is what appears to an angel with naked breasts exposed, blessing a man who is killing another man who is only wearing a fig leaf. Message here ? any one?
6:30 am The first supporters began coming out as well as the fascist, some angry, most confused and / or uninformed, a couple dozen stood across street, sometimes shouting go home or get a job. I replied I had a job and America is my home.
We stood our ground, by 11: 00 we had swelled to about 30 people, at least twenty were holding signs. We had planned and announced a smoke out at noon, the local press came at eleven took some pictures talked to a couple people and left before the rally began !!!
11:45 am Rally starts with Samar Lovejoy giving a loud passionate reading of the Declaration of Independence, at least 75 gathered to hear the message. Police cars and five policemen quickly arrived. The Libertarians arrived with chairs and a megaphone. I spoke next with the aid of the mega phone, the honeybud took a seat and lit up a joint while I gave my speech. Officer's attending the event said they smell something that could of been marijuana but they could not tell where it came from. We then took turns telling stories about the real victims of the drug war like
Will Foster who is serving 93 years for growing medical marijuana and
Donald P Scott who was murdered by police so because they wanted his farm. and
Mary Miller who had her life saving and property confiscated because her son was accused of selling drugs.
Meanwhile inside the court house, unknown to the protesters, Jury selection was taking place for Alan Gordon relating to his public disobedience and Marijuana possession charges. A note was sent directed to the organizers suggesting that we discontinue the use of the megaphone as we were disrupting court proceedings. Samar rejected this suggestion and continued even louder to the appreciation of those gathered. Court was recessed President Judge Brown and other officials as well as the prospective jurors came out on to the square and witnessed the events first hand. They were offered literature but all declined. They didn't want to know information about the plant they were judging...
As people continued to take turns speaking until after 1:30pm the talk inside the court house was of charging the protesters with jury tampering.
Monday 2:00pm We ran out of informational literature and The libertarians had packed up their chairs and mega phone leaving the protesters to continue the sit in / protest with signs flying. The police left, some people to get food and supplies so the protest could continue. The CDT showed up for an interview at 2:30pm They should have come back later in the evening
Monday 4:20pm The crowd swelled again in the early evening with six to twenty persons around at any given time, some people were seen smoking marijuana. I took a 20 minute power nap to recharge. Several people who said they did not smoke marijuana joined our protest. They said that our cause was just right and fair. So to those couple people who thought we were a bunch of druggies, guess again. Most of the protesters were fully employed productive tax paying citizens, who freely donated their time! A young fellow named Noamis joined the protest around five, we had a great deal of conversation. We had at least a dozen people until after 3am around 3:30 I asked the assembled to excuse me for 30 minutes and got another power nap...
4:20am Noamis and I shared one of the two joint's which had been donated earlier, Freezing our tails off we watched the sun rise before he went home to sleep. Thanks for 12 hours Noamis !!!
Tuesday 5:30 am Noamis and I perused the CDT and found not a single mention of the event local people were calling the biggest thing that has happened in Bellefonte in the past decade.
Just before noon someone came out and notified me that in a surprise move Alan Gordon had made a plea agreement and was to be released from jail. The hearing was held around 1pm. I left the protest line to attend. Alan pleaded No contest to one felony and one misdemeanor. All other charges were dropped.His penalty was time served no probation, no parole, no fines, no court costs, just get on your horse and ride cowboy... CDT came for another interview, I complied but told the reporter I was greatly disappointed in yesterdays non-coverage. He said that there would definitely be a story tomorrow.
The entire article from CDT
BELLEFONTE Pa -- By Tuesday morning, a two-day vigil in support of retired
Penn State Professor Julian Heicklen, arrested for smoking marijuana,
had dwindled to two people sitting in front of the Centre County
Courthouse with a few handmade signs.
The vigil began Sunday evening to protest the imprisonment of Heicklen,
who was serving a two-day term in Centre County Prison for contempt of court.
Prison officials said Heicklen was scheduled for release at 10 p.m. Tuesday.
Tuesday 4:00pm I spoke to the gathered crowd of twenty or so, that while it is not necessary to smoke or be arrested to protest, that anyone who wished could smoke at will, as long as they were peaceful and didn't offend anyone. If they followed the rules of the Minimum Acceptable Marijuana Policy. They were not likely to be caught and that is what government has been teaching us isn't it? that it's a crime only if you get caught? or perhaps only if they want to press charges?
4:15 Alan Gordon fresh from prison, a free man joined our group for a couple hours.
He said that he felt that our rally was the biggest reason he was released.!!
From 4:20pm and on Marijuana was smoked several times .
Around 7pm a young man brought a guitar and sang some protest songs
9:00 pm several remaining protesters all placed their last herbs into a community plate which was rolled into a single fattie and smoked officially ending the protest at 10pm
10:00 pm The twelve remaining protesters cleaned up the area and marched up the hill to greet doctor Heicklen. He seemed some what surprised but greeted us with a short speech, said he had a lot of new recruits "when they got out".He said we did a great job!! He asked Me "If I thought he should start coming to Bellefonte each week to host a Monday smokeout. I passed the question to those assembled as the representatives of Bellefonte. They asked what they had to do?
I said Just show up.
The group unanimously approved the idea and Bellefonte smokeouts have been born.
49 and 1/2 hours
at least 1000 cars honked for hemp !!!
over 100 different people held signs
Marijuana was smoked twelve times !!!
42 people smoked marijuana
two people were freed from Jail
10,000 people even if they are not supporters
are more aware than they were a week ago
Mission Accomplished !!!
Thanks to all
John Galt Jr.
driving arachnids crazy since 1995
brings back the time the Woodstock Festival was a music square as a box turtle festival Aquarian Exposition Peace & Music Yasgur's 600-acre Pink Floyd sshh festivals John Galt jr dairy farm the hamlet Bethel August 15 to August 18 1969 eliminate all forms of discrimination weeds Where tickets holly marie combs truth stoic system rainbow farms homeless mother nature father time constitutional convention economy farm aid cannabis sativa drug war last comic standing news FBI my name is earl war Michelle Pfeiffer Meg Ryan fling miniskirts quiet resolve of my ego Gascon