The second paragraph should read:
I emailed several newsgroups asking for suggestions of questions that should be asked to John Walters. There were a number of suggestions but the best were a list of questions I received from Jerry Epstein of DPFT.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Saturday, July 31, 2004 1:32 AM
Subject: [drugwar] Confronting Tom DeLay and John Walters
Several of us from the Houston chapter of NORML - http://www.houstonnorml.org
(National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws - http://www.norml.org
) and/or Drug Policy Forum of Texas (DPFT) - http://www.dpft.org
heard that Tom DeLay was hosting a Town Hall with John Walters, the head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) - the Drug Czar in Sugarland which is located just southwest of Houston.
I emailed several newsgroups asking for suggestions of questions that should be asked to John Walters.
Tracy Blevins, president of Houston NORML and I drove out to Sugarland to see what we could do to confront John Walters. It was the same time as the Democratic convention and we knew we would miss quite a bit of it, but we also knew that it would be replayed and we could still see it on C-Span's website ( http://www.cspan.org
) . When we got there we saw that Frank Gill of Houston NORML was already there. Frank is a teacher in Cy-Fair ISD. Eventually others arrived. Also in attendance was John Flados, Steve Nolan and Dean Becker.
There were several other guests of Tom DeLay. One was a guy who talked about bullying prevention and then John Walters stood up to speak. He started off with all the usual stuff he says about keeping children off drugs and then he started with the "this is not your father's marijuana" , "it's so much stronger than what it used to be", "it is way more likely to cause addiction". Tracy and I started occasionally yelling "lies". The crowd consisted of the Sugarland parents crowd, us and several other groups of disrupters. The Sugarland crowd told us to be quiet when the speakers were speaking and Walters called Tracy a "thug". Tracy asked Walters if he was a scientist or a doctor. Walter's said "No, but he talked to scientists and doctors everyday". A woman standing behind me made a smart remark and I turned around and told her that Tracy had a PhD in Pharmacology.
After he finished speaking there was a question and answer session. The first to speak was John Flados. He was VERY gracious and thanked John Walters for being there and then made all the really good arguments against prohibition which of course John Walters dismissed with the usual spin. The next speaker was Frank Gill. He said he was a teacher and his father was a policeman for the last 35 years. He said that it was simply not true that pot was stronger now than in the 70's. I then spoke and challenged Walter's contention that more children are in treatment. I pointed out that much of that is fueled by court ordered treatment. I also challenged his contention that the DAWN emergency room mentions are valid.
Two people were escorted out of the meeting after holding up a large sign that had DeLay's face painted as a skull and cross bones ( http://www.dfw.com/mld/startelegram/news/state/9276672.htm?1c
). Tracy and I started yelling "freedom of speech". And there were a number of LaRouche supporters there. One of them said it was ironic that they were talking about bullying when DeLay was the biggest bully in congress. At one point the same woman that I had told that Tracy was a PhD. made a remark something like "do we have to listen to this:" I turned around and told her that we had as much of a right to speak as anyone else.
Another person, I believe he was one of the LaRouche people, asked "Isn't it ironic that you are discussing money laundering when you are being investigated for laundering money from your PAC into Republican candidate's campaigns. DeLay denied it and said he wasn't being investigated. I piped up and said "Isn't Ronnie Earle in Travis county investigating you?". I can't remember whether he denied it or just glared at me but I got a bit of satisfaction from it.
Afterwards I made my way up to the front and personally handed a copy of Jerry's questions to John Walters. He took it without looking at it. We had a great time and I suspect that much of this will make it into one of Dean Becker's Cultural Baggage Shows or 4:20 Drugwar News commentaries (http://www.cultural-baggage.com
) on KPFT ( http://www.kpft.org