Extremist Fail

By PORTLAND PHOENIX LETTERS  |  March 31, 2010

NH Pot Protest

With regard to your March 10 article “Pot Bill Progresses in Augusta” by Deirdre Fulton, all one can say is “what a bunch of busybodies.” Towns around New England could alleviate their budget crunches by reducing marijuana crackdowns. Instead they waste taxpayer money on new ordinances aimed at preventing any commerce which takes the form of pot dispensaries. The majority, however, is fed-up with drug warriors, as evidenced by recent events in southern New Hampshire.

On March 20, dramatic scenes unfolded in downtown Nashua. A hundred marijuana-rights activists gathered to defy the pot laws, one openly lighting a two-foot bong. Two undercover police moved in, realized they were surrounded by a screaming crowd, and suddenly the entire town looked up to the sound of sirens.

From every corner of the vibrant, rebellious city they came, K9s with barking arm-chewers, vans, cruisers, a dozen machines in all. The original attempt to arrest a 17-year-old smoker named Lewis did not go according to plan. Virtually the only black man in the crowd, his seizure triggered furious allegations of racial profiling. Police wound up having to arrest one of his new acquaintances for blocking their cruiser, as well as an indie reporter from Missouri named Catherine Bleish. The event she was planning on attending that night goes on with her in a cell, and on the minds of her many compatriots. It is an award ceremony at the New Hampshire Liberty Forum. There, the long-dead liberty philosopher Étienne de la Boétie receives Freedom Book Club’s “Book of the Year” award. His 400-year-old quote reads as though it were written for the weekend’s jailed — but peaceable — protesters:

“I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces.”

Dave Ridley
Grafton, New Hampshire

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