Sara Olson from the Oread Daily
- FOR SARA
I am writing this with much anger and much sadness. More than 25
years ago two bombs planted under two police cars did not explode,
did no damage and injured no one. Now, a woman who I believe had
nothing to do with the non-damage and non-injuries will be locked
behind real bars for real years.
Twenty five years ago it was a very different time. A decade of
upheaval was coming to a close, but its scars were very real.
Police, many of us knew, as our enemy who had killed us, beaten us,
jailed us who had killed those we loved, beaten those we loved and
jailed those we loved. On a very few occasions someone tried to
strike back at them. Whether today that seems morally justifiable or
not is pretty irrelevant. I remember the police murders of Panthers
like Mark Clark and Fred Hampton and dozens of others. I remember
the Los Angeles cops raids on Panther offices and the fiery
destruction of that strange cult - the SLA. I remember standing ten
feet away from a young man as he was gunned down by police who had
opened fire with shot guns on an unarmed crowd. All those things and
so much more happened. I don't say all these things to defend Sara
from something I don't even think she did. I say it because I lived
it and because I know it was real and because I know how some things
that happened then which seem impossible today were not yesterday.
I'm not even trying to argue about whether or not such acts were
justified or not, just that they did not occur in a vacuum. Far more
of "us" were killed then "them" and far more of "us" have been
punished then "them."
There is no justice. Justice has nothing to do with this case.
Anyone who thinks the state gave a hoot about whether Sara was
actually guilty or not has simply never had to deal with the justice
system up close and personal. I have. I know.
And now the LA police get their vengeance once again. What did Sara
face yesterday? What was her choice? She could go to trial now,
with the country totally absorbed with terrorism and anthrax, in
front of a judge who had ruled that the state could spend months
prosecuting the SLA about actions that had nothing to do
with her, in front of a jury which since Sept. 11th views police as
heroes and their word as law, with her name running across the bottom
of all those 24 hour news stations right next to Bin Laden. She
could choose that and face the very likely result of a mandatory life
prison sentence, never to see her children in freedom again, never to
walk the streets a free women again, always under the power of a
prison system not exactly known for its humanity. Or she could
choose, if choice is the word, the still uncertain but potential
anyway possibility of returning to free air again. She chose the
latter. Who knows if she made the right choice? Who can judge
unless they have been there?
Please look at the last twenty five years of Sara's life. Is their
any reason to lock her up besides some male like sense of vengeance,
some bizarre generation hatred, some frenzied attempt to bury the
truth of history again?
I had the opportunity to meet Sara and to spend a little time in
personal conversation with her. It didn't take long to know that she
was a wonderful woman, a strong woman, a good human being, a caring
person. Sara is all that and more. Nothing "they" can do will ever
I would like to say to Sara, "I love and support you. I always will."
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