Thursday, June 15, 2006

 

Spread the Word

The first place that pressure needs to be applied is on the political front. In order to do this we need to first raise awareness of the exact events from first hand accounts. Letters to the editor of the local paper need to be written from as many individuals as possible. The Lawrence Journal World even has an online submission page for letters to the editor so instead of venting your frustrations to the online messageboards or to the festival, try sending it here.


So far here are the two letters that have appeared.

Ungrateful view

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

To the editor:

When I read Monday’s story about how the Wakarusa Festival goers were upset by the police presence at the concert, I was infuriated. What did these people expect? And how ungrateful of them to not appreciate all of the work that the Douglas County Sheriff’s Department and others put into keeping them safe. If they cannot appreciate all that they did, then I guess it’s better that they not return for next year’s festival. I’d like to thank all of the officers who spent their days at the festival, even if the people they protected won’t.

Marissa Ballard,

Lawrence


And #2...

Police presence

Thursday, June 15, 2006

To the editor:

Police loudspeakers are awful alarm clocks. At 8 a.m. Monday, police drove through the Wakarusa Festival campgrounds blaring an ultimatum from their PA systems: Leave the campgrounds by noon. No “hope you had fun” or “drive safely” or “come back next year.”

In the four-hour line to get in Thursday, not a single police officer was visibly directing traffic or checking on people in their vehicles in the heat. With windows rolled up, they trolled the sidewalks.

That behavior summarizes the entire police presence at the festival: They were clearly not interested in public safety; festival attendees were thorns in their sides and not a group of citizens to be treated with respect.

From the constant drone of officers on old gasoline golf carts to the mob of police standing around watching stage gates for no apparent purpose other than intimidation, the behavior of law enforcement was one big overreaction and demonstrated apathy for attendees’ rights. No reasonable person could have watched the police over the four days and believed they were there to do anything other than wage their own miniwar on drugs. Most people at festivals such as this are already suspicious of law enforcement, and these agencies only galvanized that suspicion.

I used to worry about mad cow disease or avian flu making it to Kansas. I should have worried about the epidemic of mindless overreaction by law enforcement and demonstrations of force that have been happening all around the country. Lawrence, Kansas, has been infected.

Rob Dewhirst,

Lawrence

Comments:
I am submitting a letter in regards to "so-called" enforcement by law @ Wakarusa. I have been to KS 2x in my 27 years, both being for Wakarusa. I must say after the Nazi actions of law enforcement, I will not return, no matter how good the music. Between the reckless driving of golf carts/gators by BOTH staff/officers and the needless harrassing of too many innocent individuals, I will never even drive through KS again. The enforcement & staff are the ones that needed to be in cages, so we don't have to inhale their fumes or worry we'll be ran over. Everytime I sat down, no matter how close to something solid I sat, here they came. There were at least 3 times had I not moved my leg, my foot would have been ran over. I think people got more high off the gas/diesel fumes than anything else. It was bad enough that we had to wait in line on blacktop in the heat of the day from 11:30-5:15 on Thurs. And for what, because they thought they had to personally walk people to a camping spot. People will say its not as bad as the wait for Bonnaroo, Well this is Waka with 1/4 the population of Bonnaroo and yes the Nazi's were worse @ Waka. I had chosen Waka over Bonnaroo the last 2 years to avoid those kind of waits & hassles. "If" Waka does get the size of Bonnaroo, the staff has already shown the are too unorganized and incapable of handling it. The excuse of they were just doing their job doesn't fly with me. The officers created the scene they were supposedly trying to enforce and Waka had too much staff and not enough workers. Yes, someone died last year and most everyone is against what that person died from along with several other items not welcome around peaceful music enthusiasts. And my reason for being sooo pissed about the law at last Waka is that people were getting thrown down and arrested for such minor things and yet you would still have the junkies running around infecting the scene.....
I have much more to say, but shall not waste anymore time on Kansas............
 
Personally I LOVE WAKA, it is something to definately look forward to.. I didn't get arrested or tackled or anything of the sort. However I came with a small group of friends who are definately a peaceful bunch and every few hours I would hear another crazy story about the police. I actually watched as my friends were "busted", we were sitting no more than 15 feet away from my friends tent, he was in there with a friend of his simply smoking some ganja, and yes it is illegal... However I looked up just in time to see police 'sneaking' around their tent. I thought they were just walking through and then i see them go into the tent with their flashlights. I didnt know what happened. Then my friends came out of the tent and said the the cops shined the flashlights in their eyes and told them to give them their "stuff". Telling one of my friends "do you think we are idiots?" What got to me was at no point did they say this is officer so and so... or show them a badge or anything of the sort. By the way it was 3 o clock in the morning when this happened. I don't care what you are doing, if you are in a tent at 3 o clock in the morning. No one should be allowed to go into your tent with flashlights. Without announcing themselves first.Even if you are a nazi.
If it is such a big deal and we are so "ungrateful" for their pressence, then why didn't they arrest my friends for their illegal activities.
The first thing I noticed when I got home for wakarusa was a newslady saying "Wakarusa is over with a record of 144 arrested, none of the arrests were related to violence." That comment made me angry more than anything else. They announced on television the reason they shouldn't be messing with us. That lady wrote in to the LJworld saying we are ungrateful and they were protecting us. From what, a bunch of hippies who live simple lives and 90 percent of them will just smile and throw up a peace sign as you pass.
Honestly, I go to wakarusa to avoid the everyday BS that goes on in normal life. To relax, have some fun, party, and enjoy the simplicities of life. It just felt like the attitude from the first two wakarusa's had changed. This year everyone was looking over their shoulders. Especially after a friend of mine came up to me and told me that the cops were hiding in the woods and busted him after they did their peeping.
If they are just trying to make up for something that happened last year. Its done, its over, you can't erase something that happened by being so disrespectfull and rude to the people who actually PAID to get in.
I'm not talking about searcing people at the gate, or looking through their backpacks they are taking to the shows. I expected that. But Who in the hell gave them the right to bust into a tent in the middle of the night? No one did. They know it, but that badge gives them a sense of authority none of us can understand because behind it, they are the ones with the weapons. I heard of more police violence than I heard of drugs. Wakarusa is a great benefit to lawrence. I have lived in kansas all my life and I must say Lawrence is the best town to live in. But that kind of security could have been split up maybe to rock fest which was happening the exact same weekend. I heard more people than ever say they will never come back to KS. Thats a real shame. AND NO MARISSA BALLARD, NOT ALL OF THEM GOT ARRESTED FOR A JUST CAUSE, AND NOT ALL OF THEM WERE DRUGGIES. It is simply an image that the police want you to think because one person died last year. Hopefully they will realize that there was a lot of wasted effort and money going towards the "protection" of us. We did fine the past few years. We can handle ourselves. Or at least find some people who aren't there just to bust as many people as possible. I guarantee if Marissa actually went to a festival or knew what went on or how peaceful the general atmosphere was,or maybe even read a few of the FACTS, she might retract that slam to us festival goers. Saying that they were keeping us safe is one big joke. But like I said she might know that if she even knew anything about the festival atmosphere or the sense of community you feel when you are there.
DON'T TALK ABOUT SOMETHING YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT. IT JUST 'INFURIATES' THE PEOPLE WHO DO
I still eagerly await the 2007 festival dont get me wrong, the music, shopping and food was awesome. Especially the MUSIC. I can't wait. But if it keeps going downhill like this then there will be no more bad ass music, or shopping or food. A lot of VENDORS i talked to said they would never come back!(Thats not good.) So lets all keep our fingers crossed, maybe if we can all make 2007 as insanely awesome as the first two years we can bring back some of these people who "hate" kansas now.
WE ARE ALL CROSSING OUR FINGERS!

PEACE!
 
I dont know about anyone else but I dont enjoy driving 23 hours to get harrased and watched by worthless resource wasting pigs. Cruisin the ground on gators and shit. Nightvision goggle? slightly unesssesary. Anyone else meet the undercover with a dreadlock wig. I will not be returning To KS for waka unlsss they move the venue to private grounds where the cops arent alllowed
 
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