A cowboy hero rides into the sunset
Howard Woolridge and his one-eyed horse Misty are nearing the end of a 3,100 mile journey across the United States to promote drug policy reform. The trek started in Savannah, Georgia and will end on the coast in Newport, Oregon.
This former police officer rides with a homemade T-shirt that reads:
“Cops Say Legalize Pot. Ask Me Why.”
Woolridge was a detective for 15 years and is now retired. He is a founding member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
A nice article in today’s Salem, Oregon Statesman Journal presented some of Howard’s views:
“Law enforcement is a mosquito on the rear end of an elephant,” Wooldridge said. “We make zero difference whether you or your community are going to have drugs or not.”
He goes so far as to say that marijuana should be right there on store shelves with Jack Daniels, Budweiser and cigarettes.
Howard has gotten his drug reform message across in a casual way by striking up conversations with people he meets on his journey (and those who ask about his T-shirt):
The subject of legalizing drugs knocked Wendy Slonecker, who has two teen-age children at home, right out of her comfort zone this week. Although she didn’t agree with everything Wooldridge said, she had to admit that some of his arguments made sense.She has a feeling that the man she just met is going to make a difference and wouldn’t be surprised to see him someday lobbying in Washington, D.C., upon the saddle of Misty.“We aren’t winning the war against drugs,” Slonecker said. “Something has to happen.”
This is why I call Howard a hero. It takes this kind of individual contact to eventually turn around our failed drug war. Howard is reaching people, one at a time, and making a lasting impression. It may not seem like Wendy Slonecker was completely convinced, but that’s because there are decades of ingrained propaganda and misconceptions to fight off.
I challenge you… If you read this blog and feel that something needs to change, make a difference. I know you don’t have time to ride across the country (although it sounds delightful to me). But, pick a person — a friend or relative or co-worker — and talk to them about the drug war. Just have a nice friendly discussion, and express your views. If they come up with questions you can’t answer, email me, and I’ll try to help. Don’t expect an overnight change, but plant the seed. Let me know how it works — I’d love to post some more success stories here.
With 80 miles to go in his journey, Howard Woolridge left Salem, Oregon this morning and will be heading up Route 20 through Albany, Corvallis and Philomath on his way to Newport. If you’re in the area, I’m sure he and Misty would love to see you. Or visit his little site: America on Horseback.