FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

From Pelican Bay to Portland

Go figure.

I’m approved to visit the California state prisons at Susanville and Salinas but not Pelican Bay where I’d hoped, and still hope, to visit my friend Jack Morris, a resident of Pelican Bay’s infamous SHU or Security Housing Unit. Pelican Bay sends me a form letter saying, “According to the Department of Justice, you have failed to list your complete arrest history.”

My application had apparently been forwarded by Pelican Bay to the FBI, an agency that began tracking me back in 1962 on the basis of the political affiliations of my youth, I suppose. Pelican Bay had thoughtfully stamped my FBI file number on my visitor’s app: FBI-22648IRA5 and AO2109784, whatever these latter identifiers signify.

For the record, and although as a kid I kept regular company with commies of all kinds, I am, philosophically considered, an anarcho-syndicalist, the only political theories that have ever resonated with me, although reading Marx in my formative years has been kinda like eating forbidden fruit in that ever after absorbing the old boy’s explanation of the way the world works I’ve seen it his way as the truest explanation there is. I always liked Eugene Debs, a democratic socialist, and I’ve admired everything I’ve ever read about the old IWW, but I’m no Leninist. Never have been.

As for arrest record, jeepers, creepers, who’s had their peeeeepers on meeeeeee, a harmless old beatnik whose first arrest as an adult occurred, I think, in 1959 and whose last occurred, I think, in 1995 for a grand total of, I think, a dozen or so, all of them but one — a barroom scuffle — occurring in political protest contexts.

What now, then? Do I write to the FBI to update me on my own interfaces with the lowest levels of the national security state? I even can’t remember all of them, and even if I could, and even if I wrote them all down, do I get to visit Jack? I’ve always been flattered that the G-Men have taken such an intense interest in me, and I have no hesitation in declaring myself not only an enemy of the state but capitalism, the two having become interchangeable in America after Honest Abe, but still I thought one’s belief systems were one’s own free enterprise in the land of the not-so-free, so what the hell is this? And me, an honorably discharged Marine, a homeowner, a man who rotates his tires, a patriot in his bones?

Fresh off my rejection by Pelican Bay, and still commuting between Boonville and Eugene as the Missus and I complete our move to the north, last Saturday I flew from Eugene to Frisco, via an hour’s delay in the hot, stuffy overcrowded Portland airport. As directed by Alaska Airlines, I had arrived at the Eugene Airport an hour before a little plane was scheduled to depart for Portland with me on it. The little plane with me on it had “The Great City of Redding” emblazoned beneath the cockpit’s port window, a clear indication of severe delusion and maybe even a bad omen.

At the gate to the transit area, a grim-faced cop says to me, “Mr. Anderson, you’ve been selected for a security check.” Lucky me, I reply, before noting that the cop is clearly a member of that potentially lethal sub-species known as Limited Ability, Automaton Personality Type. No playing around with this character or its off to the cement side room for the full monte bend over and spread ’em keester search. The cop waves a wand at my front bod. He tells me to turn around where he waves the wand at my rear bod. I hear a child say, “Look, Mommy. A bad man.” Then the cop runs the wand under my armpits, and sticks it in the area of my pills which, even in my youth were never grenades. “Your wallet, please.” Your mother, you prick, I don’t say.

He asks, “Why didn’t you put that stuff in your pocket in the tray?” I forgot, I reply. The cop glares at me. “What’s this thing?” he asks, holding up an inflatable rubber cushion I sit on for long-distance drives. It’s a life raft, I reply, explaining that I don’t trust Alaska Airlines’ seat cushions to float if the plane goes down in the Columbia. Another glare.

“Turn your wasteband out towards me.” He stares at the stitching for a long time before ordering, “Take your shoes off.” I’m wearing sandals, officer. Bunions, you know. I hike a lot. Our Savior wore them too, you know. But just as I was picking up momentum to lay some *serious* tedium on him, the cop silences me with, “*Whatever* you’ve got on your feet, take it off.”

Better stop messing with this nut, I tell myself. I don’t want to miss my flight outtahere. The little girl pipes up again. “Mommy? Is the bad man going on the air plane with us?” Mom says, “It looks like it.” I wonder how many more defective parents there are in Eugene. Finally, the cop says, “You can put your shoes on. Thank you.” And thank *you*, officer, for keeping America safe.

BRUCE ANDERSON is publisher of the Anderson Valley Advertiser.

 

 


More articles by:
April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
Ted Rall
Stop Letting Trump Distract You From Your Wants and Needs
Steve Klinger
The Cautionary Tale of Donald J. Trump
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Conflict Over the Future of the Planet
Cesar Chelala
Gideon Levy: A Voice of Sanity from Israel
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail