I was robbed by two masked gunmen who came to my home just after dark on Sunday, January 22. They pretended to be police arresting me because they thought I grew marijuana and sold it to the “rainbow people.” After binding my hands behind my back, they blindfolded me and beat me over the head, causing a ruptured eardrum and other damage to my head and ears. They told me they wanted to rob me and that they would “take a tool and start cutting parts off your body” if I did not tell them where my treasures were. After taking the personal medicine I had, the small amount of cash in my wallet, and three rifles (one was a .303 British heirloom passed on by Ralph Brown) they left me tied to my wood-stove to die. I rarely see visitors who check on me in my backwoods location. I could have dehydrated, but by the grace of God I was freed a short time later. The robbers' belief I was growing and selling marijuana is not true. I am asking anyone who has heard or spread such rumors to report to Detective Sharfenburg at the Crawford County Sheriff Department the source of that misinformation, anyone else who may have spread that misinformation, and anyone else who has heard that misinformation. Knowing the circles of people who believe I grow marijuana and sell it to “rainbow people” might help police to narrow the focus of possible suspects. It is also important for any such reports to identify any such misinformed persons who either have suspicious characters and may have been involved in the robbery or who may have inadvertently shared exactly how to find my remote residence such as delivery service providers, construction contractors, utility company service workers, tax assessors, police, and other officials who have been to my home. No one who knows me well is behind this crime because the mistaken belief I was a grower and dealer motivated the terrorists to invade the sanctity of my home and injure my body. It is no secret that I live my life in accord with Rainbow religious customs and that sacramental use of cannabis is common in rainbow culture. It is also no secret that I am a long-time advocate for legalization of cannabis. In a very real sense, this robbery and my injuries were caused by marijuana prohibition because there would be no reason to steal cannabis if not for the high price people are willing to pay for their medicine. When cannabis cultivation is as socially acceptable as backyard tomato gardens there will be no more incentive for armed robbery of cannabis than for ketchup. But so long as prohibition is in place, it is far too dangerous for me to risk my life, liberty, and law license by selling or growing marijuana. This crime would not have occurred if not for careless gossip. This can be a lesson about the dangers of gossiping about people's personal business, especially when the gossip is not true. It is terrible when a marijuana grower or seller is subjected to armed robbery, but it is unexpected that someone be subjected to such abuse because of false rumors based on speculation about a person's religious and political beliefs. Speculative rumors almost cost me my life—and could have cost the lives of the robbers had I been in a more defensive mode. Looking down the barrel of a gun has been cause to reflect on what is worth risking killing for and what is worth living and risking dying for. My brothers and sisters in Native American church ceremonies remind me that all life is sacred and that all sick people are capable of healing—but that sometimes we have a split second difficult choice to kill in defense of innocent life. It is my hope that police will restrain these criminals without further violence, but I honor the profound challenges police face when confronting problems too difficult for the rest of society to heal. I realize the Department of Corrections is not the most healing environment possible and have worked many hours without pay to help prisoners assert their rights and gain their liberty—but, it is the best system our society has to protect the community from violence and I hope a jury decides how much time robbers need to be isolated in a zoo with other wild animals who don't know better than to prey on their own species. In my judgment of their mannerisms, these robbers were influenced by amphetamines. In my experiences as a drug crisis intervention technician at festivals and other contexts I have observed that there is no free ride for the short term enhanced performance resulting from consumption of amphetamines and that moral decline is inevitable. It is incumbent on our community to learn how to heal the distresses that lead so many rural residents to desire the unnatural boost of amphetamines. This can be a lesson in the importance of a peace treaty between cannabis consumers and the rest of the community by distinguishing the healing and pacifying effects of cannabis from the bodily destruction and violence resulting from amphetamines. We need to work together to support treatment programs run by recovered addicts coupled with just social and economic conditions that empower boycott of the powders—all of them: meth, crack, coke, heroin, pills—and to free the sacred herb. There are lessons to be observed about the dangers of not having loud dogs, bright lights, alarms, cameras, neighbors checking on neighbors, keeping a gun on guard, and other personal security measures; the dangers of careless gossip; and the dangers of crimes caused by marijuana prohibition. But in the big picture, the most difficult lessons may be those that require us to question the glamorization of selfishness, consumerism, greed, violence, and domination that are the idols the amphetamine psyche is possessed by. This re-evaluation of social norms might guide us to reach out with love to those friends, employees, and family afflicted by amphetamine problems before they do something as dangerous as these robbers did. We can neutralize this norm of immorality by committing to a standard in our own lives that we and our loved ones avoid violence in media and entertainment; becoming more sensitive and respectful in personal interactions; give each other the space and time to be ourselves without feeling coerced to live up to some unrealistic economic or social expectations; and honor the masculinity that is cooperative and charitable toward the disabled, elderly, and vulnerable rather than the common myth of masculinity as being dominant and predatory. People with amphetamine problems typically experience some of the most difficult distresses. They need lots of love to heal like the rest of the world. In our quest to establish personal and social boundaries that protect our community, I pray we not harden our hearts. Tony Nenninger Steelville
BOLIVAR, Mo. Bolivar police arrested a Southwest Baptist University student accused of pointing a gun at a jogger near the university campus.
Police report a student called 911 Saturday afternoon to report she was being threatened and followed by a man armed with a gun. She told officers she was out jogging when she passed a man holding a backpack against his chest. As she passed by, she noticed that he was pointing a handgun at her. She said she ran from the scene and called 911. She also told officers when she returned to her dormitory, she saw the man was following her.
Bolivar Police officers arrived and detained the suspect. Officers reporting finding the suspect had a loaded pistol and marijuana. Officers said they found more marijuana in the suspect’s dorm room. The man was taken to the Polk County Jail where is he being held pending the issuance of an arrest warrant.