Free Buzzy

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It was just a matter of time. This was sure to happen. All he really wanted was a pizza. He wanted a pizza pie so much that he walked to another country to get one. Well, he really did not walk very far. The pizza shop was just up the street a short distance from his own business, the town pharmacy. He and many others have been walking up and down this street without incident for generations.

Stanstead and Derby Line just happen to be in two different countries. Stanstead is in Canada and Derby Line is in the US. That was never a problem – that is until Homeland Security arrived on the scene with Operation Stone Garden – a little known federal plan which uses local police to ‘watch’ citizens. Is that really a good idea?

I admit that the guys in uniforms with the guns are faced with a bit of a conundrum – what to do when the international border is in the middle of a close-knit rural community. The local library is straddling the international border. The locals get the books from the shelves in one country and check them out in the same building at the desk which happens to be on the other side of the international border. The pizza shop is in Stanstead, Quebec. The hungry pharmacist was in Derby Line, Vermont.

Used to be that when Aunt Millie in Stanstead needed to borrow a cup of sugar she just walked down to her niece’s house in Derby Line. But then came the restrictions – border guards, gates blocking the village streets. The quiet, little village was now under siege.

It has been reported that snow plow drivers were among the first to have problems. They could no longer turn their plows around. They were finally issued keys to unlock the gates so that they could drive through the barricades.

Now we have the interesting case of the hungry pharmacist, Roland ‘Buzz’ Roy. He lived 67 years as a law abiding citizen but then on February 6, 2010 he walked across the border to the pizza shop. Yep, you guessed it. He was frisked, handcuffed, and fined. Early reports said that he was fined $5000. That amount has now been reduced to $500. That’s a lot to pay for a pizza – even a pizza with ‘the works’, loaded with all of the good stuff.

Local residents stand firmly in support of ‘Buzzy’ and a protest in his honor is planned for March 27. The ‘Free Buzzy’ movement is in full swing.

On March 20, 2003 there was a large protest of the war at the other end of the State of Vermont. One of the largest arrests in town history was made that day. The Bennington 12 were arrested for their peaceful protest of ‘Shock and Awe’. That was a day to remember. Shortly after the arrests, the town officers had second thoughts about the law in question. They, in their infinite wisdom, rewrote the law so that peaceful protesters in the future would not be exposed to the same complex legal process. In the end, the government officials decided that there was a better way to use taxpayer funds.

In Derby Line hopefully someone will step up to the plate so that common sense will prevail. In the meantime – Free ‘Buzzy’, and free pizza for everybody. And watch out for that guy hiding behind the tree. He just might be part of Operation Stone Garden.

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Rosemarie Jackowski is an advocacy journalist living in Vermont. She was arrested, tried, and convicted for her participation in a peaceful protest of the war. The conviction was appealed and overturned in the State Supreme Court. The government then announced plans to retry the case. Finally, after years of legal proceedings, all charges were dropped. She contributed this article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from the US.

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