Source: Hemp Magazine Author: Nora Callahan, Director of The November Coalition Pubdate: May, 1998 Contact: CASUALTIES OF WAR My own evolution to activism on the Drug War Front has been a long and painful road. The mighty arm of the Drug War has slammed almost every area of my life. In 1989, my brother was arrested for drug law violations. My step-son struggled with drug addiction and my father began to loose a twenty-year battle with cancer. What is wrong with prohibition? I had to ask myself this question as War in America pounded down with the fury that war always brings to society. For five years, I was pulled down in the wake of destruction and drowning in despair. My step-son wanted and needed drug treatment. We had no financial reserves to pay for it. In defeat, I took my own two children and abandoned David and his father. Chemotherapy began taking a terrible toll on my father. The pain of cancer overwhelmed him. He fought valiantly, but the medicine that could ease his suffering were illegal for his physicians to prescribe or recommend. As the last convulsion came over him, I was at his side telling him gently, "It's okay if you leave us, dad. It's okay to leave." Inside of my heart, I was screaming and begging for death to come. A few months after that agonizing separation, my brother lost at trial. He was sentenced to more than twenty-seven years in federal prison. I was stunned, grief-struck and riddled with questions. What is wrong with prohibition? Where is the Drug War taking us as a nation? Where did sensibility, compassion and forgiveness go? Will it ever return to America? War is destruction and I was an emotional casualty of war — a victim along with what has fast become an incalculable number of American citizens. The casualties of the War on Drugs are no longer calculable. There are simply too many of us to count anymore. And so we go, a broken, tattered, powerless lot, into the abyss of misery. Last year, I began to rise above the ashes of despair, however, and I have a question for the people that are reading my personal story. What would happen if every victim of this war in America opposed it? It would end. I am now the Director of The November Coalition at the request of POW, David Perk, and my brother Gary. Our organization is made up of the casualties of the Drug War. Many of us are imprisoned. Others mourn for loved ones in prison. Still others that have joined our efforts know that their rights as free people are precarious. They know that America is being destroyed by a drug civil war. We are weary of being victims and are uniting a voice of opposition. Today there are many groups that are working feverishly for drug law reform. Please join us in opposing this war. For thirty years, our federal and state legislators have been deaf to the prisoners' thin, fragmented cry. The Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, has introduced legislation that will send a person with so little as a couple pounds of a harmless plant to the federal gallows. Gingrich's "Death Penalty Importation Act" has the support of 33 members of the House of Representatives. Many of you may not believe that it will come to this—that executions for possessing marijuana will ever take place. But let me ask you this, who among you believed two decades ago that growing marijuana could bring a sentence of life in prison? It has for many. We are headed down a dangerous, deadly road and if we do not stop this war—who will? United, we can stand strong, demand peace and end this futile and destructive policy. Divided, we can not. The stakes are higher than mere personal choice—it is now life or death. I urge you to find a place in the drug reform movement and help us bring peace and healing to this nation. Our lives and freedom depend on it. We publish a bi-monthly newspaper that chronicles the destruction of war and directs people who are willing to oppose it. Our contact information is: The November Coalition PO Box 309 Colville, WA 99114 Phone: (509) 684-1550 or Conseulo at (509) 738-4444 Email: Website: http://www.november.org .......... Copyright 1998 Hemp Magazine. Redistributed by The Media Awareness Project of DrugSense by permission.