Friday, March 26, 2010

Kuchinta, Where Are You?

There's going to be a note here that's semi-private at the bottom of this. Only Kuchinta needs to look at that.
For the rest of you, let me say that I got a note yesterday from a fellow I only knew once he got federal time for growing or possessing pot. It was maybe 1995 or 1996 and this guy, like a million others, wrote because he had a problem and was either going into prison or was in prison for pot. Well, I was the executive editor of High Times magazine at that time and I ran a column called Prisoner of War, and I'd run a profile on someone very unjustly in prison for non-violent pot growing/possession/sales, which to this day I can't believe we put people in prison for--though I understand that without marijuana there would be no legs for the war on drugs to stand on and the whole thing would collapse, putting GEO, Corrections Corp of America, CEC and all the other private prison operators out of business, spiraling our economy into a severe downturn.
So yesterday I get up at 5 AM and there's a letter from someone with the last name Prinze. Now I work with a fellow with that name, and then there was Freddy Prinze, but something struck me about the name. It was familiar without being familiar enough to recall.
I opened the email.
It was a letter from this guy who had been in touch with me 15 years ago at High Times. He'd written me, he said, to discuss the case of a fellow prisoner, a former mililtary guy, who got 6 months for a roach--the tail end of a joint. He didn't write to complain about his situation. He wrote to complain about this brave soldier getting half-a-year for a roach.
From his note, I guess I made the military guy a Prisoner of War profile. I forget. That's a long time ago to remember an 800 word piece.
But this guy was writing now, in 2010, to say that the story I did kept him and other pot prisoners in good spirits for years. He said it gave them a feeling that someone was watching them from the outside, and that was something special.
I read his letter and almost cried. We write anonoumosly, and we rarely hear back. Especially from guys in prison. So to have a guy or gal, once in a while--and there have been 10-20 over the year--say we kept their spirits up is very very satisfying.
Anyway, I thought that was a good thing. This guy who was doing years was looking out for someone doing 6 months. I salute that guy.
Now: Kuchinta: Your email is not working and I'm trying to invite you to a weekend here at the Gorman homestead for April 16. Pay attention and send me an email with an address that works, okay?

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