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Journeyers Face Cops and Death

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Day Five
September 25, 2000

On the way to the O.L. Luther Prison in Grimes County local police
approached us because someone (unidentified) called in and said there
was a caravan with anti-drug war slogans going through the town of
Navasota and they might be carrying drugs. The basis of the claim seems
to have been some plastic marijuana leaves which are used in the
Journeyers traveling show.

We discussed the situation with the Navasota police and they seemed
satisfied. But then the state police said they wanted to talk with us so
we waited for their arrival. A state trooper and local sheriff joined
the Navasota police. After a 15-minute delay and some discussion we
asked whether we were under arrest or free to leave and they told us we
could move on.

When we got to O.L. Luther the gate was blocked by one prison vehicle.
The officer got out of his car to tell us one of our vehicles — that had
parked in a parking lot — needed to move off of the parking lot because
it was on state land and onto the right of way alongside the road. We
complied. Several other police vehicles joined the prison officer
including some more prison cars, a state police car and two sheriffs
vehicles. They attempted to take our license plates from our vehicles.
We asked if they were beginning an investigation and if so on what
grounds. They refused to answer therefore we refused to cooperate
covering our license plates. They did not pursue the matter any further.

The police looked confused, not sure what to do. More police kept
arriving adding to the confusion. Each time a vehicle arrived i.e., a
visitor and a UPS truck, they had to move all their cars to make way.
The police brought out their video camera and filmed us; we continued to
film them. They tried to tell one of the Journeyers to move off of an
area. He refused to move and we showed unity by joining him since it was
in the right of way.

Murli, the driver of the lead RV and a Journey veteran, commented the
police reminded him of an old codger's saying: "They didn't know whether
to ##### or go blind so they closed one eye and farted."

We finished the day in Hempstead. The Journey stopped in Hempstead for a
memorial service commemorating drug-prohibition related deaths. We
parked at the Waller County Courthouse near "Six Shooter Junction" the
site of an alcohol prohibition-era related shoot out. In 1905
prohibitionists had just one a major battle in their attempts to ban
alcohol. A gunfight broke out and US Congressman John Pinckney, his
brother and two others were gunned down in the courthouse while meeting
with prohibitionists. The shooting occurred after some heckling. When it
was all over 75 bullets had been shot, the courthouse was riddled with
bullets and four people were dead.

At the memorial Jodi James remembered the deaths of young people who
died preventable overdoses, people fatally shot in police or military
drug enforcement raids and police officers who have died enforcing the
drug laws. Ann McCormack memorialized noted-author Peter McWilliams who
died because a federal judge ordered him not to use his medicine.
Journeyers passed out literature and spoke to people passing by.

Tomorrow will be a slow ride the wheelchairs will be coming out as we
travel through some small Texas towns.