I originally typed a post about the Democratic primary debates, I thought “This is fitting for the future President of the group.” But right now the Democratic front runners mean nothing to me and all I can think about is that a 20 year old boy is currently facing charges for possession of marijuana and graffiti.
In December the police raided his room and his car using a search warrant based on evidence they found when he was 17 and in high school (a graffiti style sketch on the front of his folder). The security guards that conducted the search when he was 17 never notified the boys parents.
When the police search the house they find spray cans and paint. (He’s an artist). They take it all--the spray cans, brushes, acrylic paint and even the washable tempura paint. In the trunk of his car is marijuana, a pound (later the police say it was a half pound). He’s charged with a felony--possession with intent to sell and three misdemeanors for graffiti.
The lawyer says he can argue to have the case dropped. He says something about statute of limitations and illegal search. The District Attorney says: you plead guilty to a felony for possession and three misdemeanor counts. Mandatory drug counseling with the ability to remove the felony from your record after a year and restitution for the graffiti.
If he doesn’t take it then he goes before a jury. A jury. Upper class, older, white, Republicans. Not to mention the medias attack on graffiti. He doesn’t stand a chance.
The DA admitted to buying that amount of marijuana when he was that age. The difference? He didn’t get caught. Criminalizing a 20 year old with no priors for something that he himself did on a regular basis.
Sitting in the court room at previous proceedings, his mother saw men that beat their wives and had prior convictions get let off.
The 20 year old recently went to New Orleans as a volunteer. He witnessed the destruction and sadness and thinks more than ever that President Bush is racist. He came back with a strength and desire to create change. Something he never had before. He wrote a myspace bulletin about past tragic events in U.S. history that ended with “CHANGE CAN HAPPEN.” He talked about going back and living there as a volunteer. Yesterday he received the news about his “options”. Yesterdays myspace bulletin said “Fuck the police.”
What is going to happen to this 20 year old who now cannot leave home for a year, this boy who just recently came to realize that there is hope?
I believe in him and I believe that his art, his heart and his knowledge will push him forward in the end. But how much longer is it going to take?