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From the Home Front

I've been receiving PLN for a year now. I appreciate your work on behalf of prisoners and for the cause of truth telling in our society. PLN is a righteous satisfaction to read. Your editorials are especially excellently written, intelligent, articulate, radical and sane.

I think many of us living ordinary lives out here in minimum security are terribly angered by current social control tactics, the drug war, the race war, the war on the poor. But our outlets for expression are few, and efforts at activism feel futile in the face of a deadening paranoia fed by the media isolation and scapegoating of a criminal class.

Until the tentacles of the police state sting at home, it is comfortable for some to indulge in the illusion of us and them. Until our own brothers and lovers and sisters and sons get swept into the net, we can silently shake our heads and carry on our ridiculous busy complacent insular lives.

While it was apparent that the inflammation of the crime issue was a political expediency designed, in part, to compliment and cover government complicity in the cartel-enabled inner city drug glut, and in part to re-deploy a military and police state infrastructure left unfocused at the end of the cold war, it wasn't until I read your May editorial [cover article] that I saw the connection between the gun lobby and the three strikes initiative.

Is it a fundamental lack of compassion that lets us employ warfare and punishment as solutions to poverty and racial hate, or is it ignorance that prevents our demanding a more humane approach to social imbalances?

If it is the absence of an informed grasp of the larger picture that precludes our compassion and involvement in work for change, then perhaps there is hope to be found and courage to be taken when writing such as yours is made available to conscious minds. To that end, I would like to help get the word out regionally by sponsoring subscriptions to PLN for the two newspapers that serve my community. Good work, keep courage, in struggle.

-- Kate, Anacortes, WA

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