Left Justified: Thoughts as the summer approaches

Left Justified: Thoughts as the summer approaches

By Stanley Campbell

Hasn’t it been a long, cool spring? Maybe colder than normal but, oh, those beautiful sunny days! I hope we all have a mild and pleasant summer. Here are some thoughts I’d like to share:

What to do on your summer vacation:

(1) Read a good book

(2) Go on a diet

(3) Walk every bike path in the area

(4) Visit all the parks and forest preserves

(5) Take up a new sport

(6) Visit your congressman or state senator

(7) Change your opinion on something about which you feel strongly

(8) Volunteer for a nonprofit organization

(9) Visit a new church or, even better, a different faith

(10) Travel to a foreign country and help the poor there

The Black Panthers in Rockford

I received some complaints about my article in March on the Black Panthers in Rockford during the ’70s. Mainly, that the Black Panthers used a coloring book to teach their children how to kill police officers. I was given a copy of an article that had been circulated widely and purported to show said comic book in all its ugly racism.

After doing some research, I found that the purported literature never really existed except in the annals of the FBI. Someone had concocted this “evidence,” and our own Federal Bureau of Investigation sent it to every police force in the country and encouraged them to act preemptively. Many big city police did strike, killing more than 100 Black Panthers nationwide. But the massacres stopped after the mayor of Seattle publicly told the FBI to leave his fair city.

I am surprised there was still this much vehemence against Black Panthers, especially locally. During the ’60s, I remember Martin Luther King, Jr. was accused of being a Communist and that the Civil Rights movement was a tool of the Soviet Union. Are there many people who believe that tripe?

One bar down, three to go

Kudos to the City of Rockford for shutting down Dave’s Bar on Seventh Street and Sixth Avenue. They also took out the obnoxious liquor store on Seventh Street and First Avenue, owned by the same family. Those businesses were the hangouts of our community’s “weakest links” and preyed off the addled and addicted minds of the weak. I hope and pray that the city goes after the three remaining taverns in the 600 block of Seventh Street. The red light district survives because of these liquor establishments. The barkeeps give shelter to drug dealers, street sex providers and criminals. These are not your friendly neighborhood watering holes, but serve alcohol with little compassion for the customers. Some of the businesses blame a few of the missions in the area, as if helping homeless people get a job or handing out condoms to the ladies of the evening draws more to this neighborhood. Fat chance: put the blame on the businesses that reap big profits out of destroying lives—the liquor industry. Want to turn off the red light district? Dry out Seventh Street! Bring back prohibition in this ward, at least for a year or two, then only let restaurants serve booze.

When people demand that I ‘support our troops:’

I say pay them enough so they don’t need food stamps to feed their families. Make sure veterans get needed medical benefits. And don’t cover up illnesses such as Gulf War Syndrome and toxins such as Agent Orange.

Keep troops away from depleted uranium, used in our ammunition. “DU” poisons soldiers, and leads to birth defects, as well as poisoning foreign lands. And let’s prevent psychological damage from killing, especially for causes that don’t have the full support of the country, much less the world.

And finally, for more than years patriotic soldiers have shed their blood defending the Constitution. Let’s preserve it and our rights from those who would trash them in pursuit of personal power and world empire. They must return to a free and democratic home. Yeh! So take that, Mr. Saddam Osama bin Bush.

And while you’re at it, have a nice summer! Dammit!

Stanley Campbell is executive director of Rockford Urban Ministries and spokesman for Rockford Peace & Justice.

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