DEAD CONCERT IN BOULDER:
NEW GENERATION RESPONSE TO FUN; CONTROL IT or ABOLISH IT.
Dennis L Blewitt, J.D. June 2016
THE local paper published suggestions to officials and residents about how to manage the appearance of the “Grateful Dead” when they appear at a local football stadium to perform a concert. The main concern was that the officials were concerned with camping in public places. They were especially concerned with the types of fans that the band attracted. Their fans did not wear ties and probably smoked weed. The latter is accepted in Boulder as long as the smoker is acceptable and not a member of the unwashed. The public image of Boulder is “the people’s republic,” which is pure propaganda. It is an elitist location more aptly named the “brat’s playground.”
The article took me back a few decades to when I ran for District Attorney. I mounted a vigorous campaign against my opponent, a party official. Most people thought that I wouldn’t get on the ballot, because I was nobody. However, the Nixon administration had shown its propensity toward establishing a police state, and more people were afraid than was recognized by the establishment. Even though there were protests, racial unrest, challenges to the power elite, most older people believed the Nixon policies of repression would stop the changes. The citizens were especially afraid of “new age” beliefs, longhair, drugs, sex, and rock ‘n roll. It was also the first year that the voting age was lowered to the age of 18.
The Grateful Dead announced that it would give a concert in the football stadium, causing consternation and panic in the strait community. I had other things to worry about such as writing speeches, planning strategy, and formulating position papers. However, my morning was interrupted by my campaign manager, who suddenly appeared at my doorway, out of breath and in a panic.
“You got a stop them,” he shouted, blood vessel pounding in his head, and a panicked look on his face.
“Calm down. What are you talking about?”
“Your clients are going to wreck your campaign,” almost crying as he said it. “I can’t talk about I got to show you. Come on let’s go.”
So I left the office with my campaign manager and walked down Pearl Street to where my client had a store and walked into a beehive of activity. In the back was a hundred pounds of marijuana and an even larger quantity of plastic baggies. An employee was stamping baggies and passing them to another employee who was taking a handful of marijuana out of a big box, and stuffing it into the baggie which bore the stamp, “Baggies for Blewitt,” in bright royal blue letters. I was impressed with the efficiency of the assembly line.
“What are doing” I asked my client?
Proudly he announced, “We’re getting you elected.”
Now, I must admit that I didn’t think of that as a campaign strategy. Although, I have to concede that it was pretty brilliant. The election laws had just been changed to permit 18-year-olds to vote and that was the majority of my constituency. They weren’t quite as uptight as the people of my father’s generation, who were more concerned about hair than any other issue. I thought the idea brilliant.
However, in deference to my campaign manager whom I promised could run the campaign, I vetoed the idea. In retrospect, I wonder if I would still do the same thing. But, with Nixon’s drug war and the political climate of the right wing I, frankly, feared that I would get arrested and prosecuted, which had been tried a few times previously by various right-wingers. I was told later by clients, that some of the baggies had shown up at the concert. If any of you dear readers have one, or a photograph of one I would really appreciate having it. In any event, I lost the election.
Which brings us to today. The drug war is still going on. We still have prisoners of that war and the highest incarceration rate in the world. We don’t have Universal Health Care. We don’t have a top-notch educational system. We don’t have as much paid vacation as other countries. We are stressed out. The so-called “deadheads” still exist, although the Grateful Dead has been around for almost 4 decades. However, like most things in our society, we are now concerned more with image than actual potential threats. When Boulder had hippies, they were everywhere, camped everywhere, and pestered people everywhere. But, for some reason, they were tolerated. Now, there is zero-tolerance. I have yet to hear any debate on to the harm that a few days of camping in the city would cause. I haven’t heard any discussion about emergency services for the people coming into Boulder for the concert. I suspect, rather than helping make the event a success, officials are staying awake and working overtime to determine how to sabotage the event. I’ve heard all kinds of worst-case scenarios, all directed at Prohibition, and none at amelioration. Under the present conditions, I believe the only reason that the concert is coming to down in the first place is to enhance the coffers of the police establishment, giving slaughter for the perpetual prison machine and the fine revenue machine. Some of my enemies have accused me of looking at things as they do now because I retired and don’t have to live the printed terry life of a lawyer. My response is, “I never made any money as a lawyer before I retired, why should I start now?” In any event it’s going to be interesting to see how the concert and the concert crowd is treated. I am considering starting a pool based on how many hippies the police can bag during the event. When I was practicing law, hippies were considered dangerous and a threat. Police officers I knew, who prided themselves and never drying their guns, weren’t afraid of hippies. Not so when Boulder County. We have one of the few documented cases where a deputy sheriff went hunting without a license specifically for hippies. There was a brief story about it in the local paper. The local power structure is more concerned that people will show up and smoke legalize pot than they were before it became legal, which I find ironic and hypocritical. Also enclosing, that I recommend everybody carry cameras and photograph the scene. Who knows, it might save someone’s life. If not, it’s still probably pretty good historical footage.
- Posted in: Drug War