In Memory of|
Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm
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A Personal View of the Memorial Services
On Saturday, September 15th, the Rainbow Farm Campground held a private ceremony for the family and friends of Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm. On a sunny day, the loved ones rolled in and gathered by the old stage to celebrate the lives of our fallen heroes. They brought flowers, pictures and stories to fill the afternoon. Many long time friends made pilgrimages from across the country to share in the memories and pay tribute through word and song. They gave away rainbow ribbons and necklaces strung with tiny jars marked “Rainbow Farm”. Intended to hold a little bit of Rainbow Farm, people gathered dirt from unforgettable locations that were personal to them. They wandered the campground trails and fields recalling warm tales of love, peace and friendship here on the Farm. Though if you wandered to the front of the property, the crime scene tape surrounding large areas reminded you that a terrible injustice had occurred.
The service began with an opening prayer from Reverend Steven Thompson from NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). As well as his eloquent message, he had performed a blessing and prayer circle for the families of Tom and Rollie when they first gained access to the campground. Derrik Decrane assumed his usual roll as MC. He is a natural on this stage, but an occasional pause let you know he was choking up inside. Santos from Buddha Fulla Rymez then added his touch with a slow, beautiful guitar solo of the Star Spangled Banner.
Local friends spoke, recalling humorous stories of the guys we loved. Tales of the first Christmas on the Farm, when times where tight but love came through. Tales of festivals and first meetings. But most of all, tales of the generosity of Tom and Rollie. These men went out of their way to help their fellow man kind. When strangers pulled into the Farm in need of help, they had come to the right place. Tom and Rollie clothed, fed, and housed countless people, whoever was in need. The stories kept coming. They bought us a new tent, they found us a place to live, and they gave us a job. They took care of us. They were family. Thanks to Travis Hopkins, Woe Boy, Moses, Shayla, Marvin Marvin and all others who shared their special memories.
Long time manager of Rainbow Farm, Doug Leinbach, spoke of his friendship with these men and asked God to bless them. Throughout the day Joe Mellot, who often sang and played guitar for Tom and Rollie, played the songs that they had most often requested. “My Beautiful Reward”, “Without Vail”, and “Trying To Get Up That Great Big Road” were all favorites on the Farm. Friends reminisced about Joe’s guitar playing on the numerous hay wagon rides around the Farm.
Other musicians also took the stage. Buddha Fulla Rymez, who had often performed at Rainbow Farm festivals, graced the stage again for several songs. Friend and supporter Debra Anne sang an a cappella, homemade version of “Lord Won’t You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz.” Her version told of the tragic events of the Farm, but was sung as sweet as an angel. Jody Schwan read passages from Kahlil Gibrain’s “The Prophet”. The pieces encouraged you to balance your passion with your reason in this time of turmoil. She also read a poem requested by the family. Hundred of emails have been pouring in from around the country. Messages were read from Texas to Oregon, New York to California, pot smokers and non-pot smokers alike. They spanned the globe, coming from Africa, England, and Europe. They were ministers, lawyers, police officers, teachers, military personnel, moms, dads, and concerned citizens. All expressed their disbelief and sympathy at this outrageous event and the actions of our government. Poems were sent and offers of help continue to roll in. They were all touched in some part by these great men.
Steven Gaskin and his wife Ina Mae drove from Tennessee to offer their respects and condolences. Steven spoke lovingly of Tom and Rollie and their quest to obtain their ideals. He spoke of how he has been treated as an advocate of marijuana, and how to overcome certain problems. Know your neighbors and local officials. Be friends and help them understand your goals, while allowing them to see you as a peaceful individual. Become involved with the media. As your friends, they can help fight the fight. Keep the battle alive and we can prevail. This misfortune cannot be in vain. Ina May, celebrated for her participation in the midwifery movement, spoke about families, caring and nurturing. Her stories of protest related to those of Tom and Rollie. Her message was one of love and working for a change.
Organizations took a large roll in this as well, for Tom and Rollie’s generosity was extended not only to people in need but entire groups and institutions. Richard Lake from www.mapinc.com (Media Awareness Project) sent a heartfelt letter to be read, as family matters kept him at home. The MAP website provides vast amounts of stories on drug and marijuana issues. Please check out his website for media stories about the Rainbow Farm and other important issues relevant to government today. Martha Suggs from the Underground Railroad Museum and Historic Site of Vandalia was impressed with Tom from the day they met. Her stories demonstrated Tom and Rollie’s charity and giving, supplying them not only with money but by providing food and drink for all at gatherings for her events. Stephen Hager of High Times Magazine sent a message to be read. The devastation in NYC has required his immediate attention there. You can read his remembrance on the web site. Jodi James of the Florida Cannabis Action network gave a passionate speech on organizing local and grassroots events. Her message was that everyone can make a difference. You just got to try.
Dan Wilson, founder of Parents for Children, spoke on how the message will be kept alive and what they will be doing to help. Attorney Kevin Zeese also sent a memorial message to be read which is available on the web site. Attorney Greg Schmidt, Director of PRA (Michigan’s Personal Responsibility Amendment to decriminalize marijuana), spoke with great emotion, remembering his friends. He spoke of men who listened and supported the idea of PRA when no one else was listening. He said Rainbow Farm was directly responsible for the support PRA now has. The Farm allowed Mr. Schmidt to come and spread his message to the people. He has said many times that Rainbow Farm is the “spiritual” home for the PRA in Michigan.
As Derrik came to the mike one last time, he chose not to say goodbye to Tom and Rollie. Instead he realized that Tom and Rollie are forever going to be with us. They’ll always be there for us in our times of need. They always have. The Reverend Steven Thompson closed the ceremony with a blessing and a sunset prayer circle. Throughout the day emotions had moved from belly laughs to sobs. But it was a good day to celebrate the lives of these brave and loving men. Everyone joined hands in a circle of peace and power. Even as we shed tears over the Reverend’s last words, the children played and laughed within the circle, reminding us that the innocent love and good energy of a new generation was still alive at the Rainbow Farm. They can never kill that. We finished with a call to the sky, everyone yelling out their love and support for Tom and Rollie. They are blessed.
We want to thank again the families of Tom Crosslin and Rollie Rohm. In this most difficult time they have done their most to help everyone. The supporters who have set vigil with signs of protest, vowing not to forget. Dan Wilson and Janet Wilson who have offered there legal and public relation skills to help in this time of need. Travis, Jeff, Steve, Buzz, Amy, Ben, Chuck, Melody and many others have watched over the property and helped keep the scene safe. And the hundreds of supporters who have sent messages of love and sympathy for the farm. All these people have provided invaluable services, without which we could not have prevailed. Thanks again for more than we can mention. You too are blessed.
The Friends of the Rainbow Farm
Memorial message from Stephen Hager - Editor of High Times Magazine
Tom and Rollie were loving, caring people and good friends of mine. They created a space where large numbers of people could congregate, primarily to build a counterculture community and fight for legalization of cannabis. For years, they faced intense police harassment. When Rollie¹s 12-year-old son was taken in May, it was a cause of tremendous pain for them. Facing a hearing in which they knew they would be placed in jail with no hope of bail, they decided to stay home and devalue their property. Having put years of blood, sweat and tears into the site, they couldn¹t stand seeing the state reap the benefits. The police arrived in overwhelming force to create a Waco-like scenario. They brought in a tank and helicopters, and squads of black-masked, professional snipers wearing camo gear. If the police had not over-reacted with this display of brute force, Tom and Rollie would be alive today. In the four years it existed, Rainbow Farm Campground built up a huge fan base and a great many cultural traditions. I believe the site vividly demonstrates why the counterculture is a real, persecuted minority group, just like the so-called "witches" (midwives) murdered during the Inquisition, or the Christians fed to the lions in Rome. Currently, our culture is not allowed to assemble, hold ceremonies or share sacraments. The jazz pioneers started our culture rolling, the beatniks picked it up and helped start the civil rights movement. Then along came the hippies, who helped end the war in Vietnam, and now it¹s time for a new generation to pick up the counterculture spirit and end the war on drugs. Tom and Rollie were trying to provide a space for that new generation. My favorite Rainbow Farm tradition was the Sunday Sunset Prayer, a group circle for world peace. Tom always joined hands in that ceremony, and I felt his strongly peaceful nature and desire to live nonviolently. But Tom was a warrior, too, and I know he felt the police invasion of his life was not justified, but a result of his political activism. He also felt justified in defending his property from any invasive force. My deepest sympathies go out to Tom and Rollie¹s families, and I hope Rollie¹s son will be returned to his family. If Rainbow Farm had not been harassed, it would have become a major force for change in the drug laws in Michigan. If anything, I hope everyone will use this tragedy as incentive to fulfill Tom and Rollie's vision of Rainbow Farm.
YOU ARE FREE
'Twas the last day of August we'll never forget,
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran
And the priestess spoke again and said: Speak to us of Reason and Pain. And he answered, saying: Your soul is oftentimes a battlefield, upon which your reason and your judgment wage war against your passion and appetite. Would that I could be the peacemaker in your soul, that I might turn the discord and the rivalry of your elements into oneness and melody.
But how shall I, unless you yourselves be also the peacemakers, nay the lovers of all your elements. Your reason and your passion are the rudder and the sails of your seafaring soul. If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas. For reason, ruling alone, is a force confining; and passion, unattended, is a flame that burns to its own destruction. Therefore let your soul exalt your reason to the height of passion that it may sing. And let it direct your passion with reason, that your passion may live through its own daily resurrection, and like the phoenix rise above its own ashes. I would have you consider your judgment and your appetite even as you would two loved guests in your house. Surely you would not honour one guest above the other; for he who is more mindful of one loses the love and faith of both.
Among the hills, when you sit in the cool shade of the white poplars, sharing the peace and serenity of distant fields and meadows - then let your heart say in silence, “God rests in reason.” And when the storm comes, and the mighty wind shakes the forest, and thunder and lightning proclaim the majesty of the sky, - then let your heart say in awe, “God moves in passion.” And since you are a breath in God’s sphere, and a leaf in God’s forest, you too should rest in reason and move in passion.
Then Almitra spoke, saying, We would ask you now of Death. And he said: You would know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life? The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light. If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond: and like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring. Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honour. Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king? Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt in the sun? And what is it to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing. And when you have reached the mountaintop, then you shall begin to climb. And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
Love, Light and Peace - Memorial message from Kevin B. Zeese
I am sorry that I cannot be in Vandalia to join you in remembering Tom and Rollie - two compatriots who were not afraid to stand up and call for an end to the senseless war on marijuana. I had planned on attending this Memorial to remember their work at the Rainbow Farm - concerts, hemp fests, advocacy, community outreach - but the events of recent days have made air travel impossible. But I am with you in spirit and have asked a friend and colleague - a fellow Journeyer for Justice - to read this statement.
Obviously, I do not know what happened on the day Tom and Rollie were fatally shot by police agents - none of us here know what actually happened. Indeed, I encourage all of you who cared about Tom, Rollie and their work to use your voices and influence to ensure that there is a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding their deaths. We need to know the truth so that deaths like these do not occur again.
We do know that if there were no war on marijuana Tom and Rollie would be here with us, planning the next concert on the Rainbow Farm. We also know that they had been peaceful people who seem to have been changed by the marijuana war - the threat to their liberty and property was too much and they courageously fought back. In their honor we should continue our advocacy against the war on drugs. It is time for this war to end - we should not be fighting an unjust war against our fellow citizens over what they put into their body, or how they want to affect their consciousness.
We also know that the prohibited drugs are one of the biggest, multi-billion dollar industries in the world. Thanks to prohibition we have created a market that fuels crime, violence and terrorism around the world. As Interpol has reported "Drugs have taken over as the chief means of financing terrorism." So if we want to injure terrorists we need to end the war on drugs that provides them with the fuel for their terrorism.
The tragedies of recent days, the tragedy of Tom and Rollie and the tragedies of the other drug war deaths in the US and around the world bring to mind the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from his book "Strength of Love:"
"Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiples violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction . . . "
Let us all pledge to stop the hate with love, drive out the darkness with light and never resort to violence. Tom and Rollie's death highlights a lesson we must all learn - non-violent resistance is the only sensible and strategic approach to ending the violent war on drugs. We must stop the spiral of destruction by constructing sensible and peaceful methods of dealing with marijuana and other drugs. And, we must not forget Tom and Rollie.
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark.
The real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. - Plato
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