Monday, July 03, 2006

Masel for Senator

Okay, back to the drug war at last. Our pal Ben Masel is in the news. Ben is a long time activist, not only for drug policy reform but also for civil rights in general. Over the years he's found himself under arrest more than once for exercising them, most notably that incident on a train in Kansas City.

In his latest imbroglio with the law, Ben was thrown to the ground, pepper-sprayed, and arrested for collecting signatures to get his name on the upcoming ballot as a candidate for Senator in Wisconsin. The police charged him with disorderly and resisting arrest but those who know Ben well mock such allegations. Indeed from what I know of him, Ben's only weapon is his rapier wit and knowledge of the law. He has no need for histronics and the Terrace ought to think long and hard about dropping the charges and apologizing before they end up as the latest in his long string of unwilling benefactors. As his lawyer notes:
"You do not ever have to mace Ben," Olson said. "You just have to say, 'You are under arrest,' and he will come along quietly, first to the police station or jail, then to the courthouse, and eventually to the bank."
Meanwhile, the local newspaper posted a very supportive editorial on his behalf today. They note the collecting of signatures in that venue has a long historical precedent.
The University of Wisconsin campus should be a safe haven for democratic discourse and participation, not a place where candidates are pepper-sprayed and arrested.
Really, this free speech zone thing on campuses has gone way too far. I hope Ben stays in the race and wins it. We could use men like him in office.


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