This email from the executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition showed up in my inbox today:
On a day when we honor a man whom historians may well come to describe as one of America’s Founding Fathers, I am reminded of how inspired I have been by the words and deeds of Dr. Martin Luther King.
When I think of countless LEAP supporters from all walks of life devoting themselves to defending the vulnerable, hidden and scorned victims of our drug policies, I feel his words, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” taking material form. Real policy reform protects the weakest among us.
When I reflect on the inequitable enforcement of our drug policies, I am reminded of his statement that, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” Selective, discriminatory enforcement is a cornerstone of a policy that has always been more a war on certain people than a genuine war on addiction.
When I think of LEAP’s founding fathers, the five cops who had had enough of this unjust war and created an international organization of law enforcement professionals who confront the status quo, I am bolstered by his statement that, “We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.”
But mostly, especially when tempted to walk away and take the easier path, my commitment is reborn in his words, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
And so, on the day of his birth, I speak for LEAP when I express our gratitude for his work and a re-commitment to his ideals.
Major Neill Franklin—Retired
Addendum: Here is a picture of Neill Franklin, Diane Fornbacher, and I outside the White House at a 40th anniversary vigil for the Drug War last June.