From: James Parker [email@example.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 04, 2001 8:08 AM
Subject: Report From the Front
Sept 3, 2001
If you haven’t heard of Vandalia by now, you should have. The people in this Cass county village are _literally_ under assault by their government as federal, State, and county officers attempt to pin down the owner of Rainbow Farm campground, Tom Crosslin, who has never hurt anyone-not yet. The citizens have been forced from their homes _at gunpoint_ by the Cass County sheriffs. I have this from five eyewitnesses. I, also, have had a gun pointed at me when I came up to a roadblock. My intention in going was to petition at Rainbow Farm. News Channel 16, WHDN of South Bend, FALSELY stated that local residents were evacuated voluntarily. My last eyewitness explained;” We were told to “voluntarily” evacuate with guns pointed at us”. She was a mother with two teenage children.
Tanks, FBI, swat teams, armored vehicles and patrol boats have all been marshalled against a man who ran a free speech forum for petitioners in the “Activist Tent”, which was a fixture at all of the events. With nothing more substantial than _allegations_ of drug use, a child was taken and the 34 acre property forfeited. Tom Crosslin evidently burned his buildings and holed up on the property with one or two companions, creating the current standoff.
The truth must also include the fact that this activist forum is a thorn in the side for the state administration and the Cass county administration. We promote our party there, and petitions backed by our party (PRA). Any political cause or party is welcome-usually all unpopular with the Engler administration. Fourth Amendment rights are at issue with the greed-motivated seizure of the property. A child was taken from his father and put into foster care, since the mother was previously found unfit. Crosslin is the male partner of the father, so this is also a gay fatherhood issue.
A small, gritty but determined and peaceful protest group had gathered a couple of miles away by the time I had the pleasure of staring down a 9mm pistol wielded by a Cass County sheriff’s deputy at the roadblock. I joined this group. The location is the intersection of M-60 and White Temple, just at the eastern edge of Vandalia. It turned out to be an excellent source of signatures for our petition as well as the PRA, as frightened and angry local citizens drove by honking their support, with many stopping to sign and talk. Newscrews stopped by, and I did several interviews.
Last night I led the first of two candlelight marches to the command post, in a school a quarter of a mile away. An Illinois Libertarian-author by the name of DiGrazio was present with the newscrews. He came over to our site and spoke with us for a long while until his newscrew picked him up again.
Everyone is looking to resolve this standoff. I believe Tom Crosslin has been pushed beyond the point of reconciling with the authorities, but I hold out the hope that a _very_ good lawyer, skillful in mediating such situations, and with expertise in Constitutional Law or child custody rights, could make him change his mind. He had a lawyer named Dori Leo who apparently failed to defend him successfully, and she is now unable to contact Tom, making her useless as mediator. If Ghazey or Gregg wants this, I can give you the contact info for Tom’s sister. Sharon, can CATO provide any help here? Even the big bad FBI would find a defendant’s lawyer helpful in this situation.
Anyone from Berrien County, Van Buren or Allegan County could help out at the site during the work week. (Since we have almost no members in Cass County) It is a GREAT source of petition signatures. A reasoned Libertarian voice is also helpful to temper the rasher ones.