We are here. Like it or not, for good or bad, we are here. Who are we? We are the
downtrodden and dispossesed, the self-torturing, the disenfranchised convicts,
drug and alcohol addicts, the unemployed and unemployable. We are the children of
poverty, financial and spiritual. We have and will have children of our own,
grandchildren too. We are ex-cons, uninsured, homeless, of many colors and speaking
many tongues. We are the enemy in what has become a domestic war against ourselves.
And who are you? You who like the tough talk of Tough on Crime? You who watch as
budgets are cut in education and health care while you militarize a police force?
Bullet-proof vests, automatic weapons, helicopters, tanks, robots ... the
testosterone is oozing through the streets, more prisons, longer sentences, tighten
the belt, spartan conditions, task forces, gang units, gun courts. And what is there
to show for it? Unemployent stays low because half the population oversees those
"out of the workforce", the dregs, the rabble, the enemy? Please tell me there is a
deeper reason. Do you feel safer? More humane? More like a cohesive society with a
shared sense of purpose, who can identify Us and Them? Do you live in a gated
community or gentrified neighborhood? By the way, have you read the Declaration of
Independence and US Constitution - or do you only know the first phrases?
It's about time we got together. Please know that I have yet to meet a convict who
wants their child to be a thief, an addict, a dealer, a prostitute, or a violent
individual. Most of us still have hope for ourselves even when stuck in the darkest
dilemmas, ruts and catch-22s. Most of us believe in crafting laws and instilling
order. Many of us have burrowed beneath the surface to find a spiritual sense of
being, an understanding force at least as powerful as those we succumbed to, and many
of use wouldn't escape if you opened the front door. Did you know that approximately
10 million Americans are either incarcerated, on probation, on parole or once were in
those categories? Each of those 10 million have families, friends, neighbors ... and
so closer and closer does the We interface with the You. Don't you think it's time we
Are you ready? Can you accept that the road we are travelling points toward a grim
and painful future? Do you have the heart to face monumental failures while bravely
struggling beyond where we are now? I know that some of you are, and that some of us
are, and this is what gives me hope. You need our insights just as we need your
structure. It is never over, especially when a real solution, a real treatment for
our sickness, is yet to begin.
Bruce Reilly (a.k.a Bruha)
Cranston, RI 02920 USA
P.S. - I am trying to conceptualize an effective guerilla media campaign to promote
this cause. Ideas are welcome. Collaboration is prayed.
universities, high schools, businesses of all sizes, home computers of
all descriptions, etc, etc.
(In response to the above paragraphs, it has been written that there
is nothing vague about a network that carries megabytes of traffic per
day. I agree. But at the fringes of Usenet, traffic is not so heavy.
In the shadowy world of news-mail gateways and mailing lists, the line
between Usenet and not-Usenet becomes very hard to draw.)
Every administrator controls his own site. No one has any real
control over any site but his own.
The administrator gets her power from the owner of the system she
administers. As long as her job performance pleases the owner, she
can do whatever she pleases, up to and including cutting off Usenet
entirely. Them's the breaks.
Sites are not entirely without influence on their neighbors, however.
There is a vague notion of "upstream" and "downstream" related to the
direction of high-volume news flow. To the extent that "upstream"
sites decide what traffic they will carry for their "downstream"
neighbors, those "upstream" sites have some influence on their
neighbors' participation in Usenet. But such influence is usually
easy to circumvent; and heavy-handed manipulation typically results in
a backlash of resentment.
To help hold Usenet together, various articles (including this one)
are periodically posted in newsgroups in the "news" hierarchy. These
articles are provided as a public service by various volunteers.
They are few but valuable. Learn them well.
Among the periodic postings are lists of active newsgroups, both "standard"
(for lack of a better term) and "alternative." These lists are maintained
by David Lawrence and periodically posted to the news.lists.misc newsgroup.
They reflect his personal view of Usenet, and as such are not "official" in
any sense of the word. However, if you're looking for a descrip