Cory Heidelberger uses an Op-Ed from journalist Brandon Ecoffey to make an argument that meth users on the reservations should receive subsidized carrots instead of being held accountable with a post titled, "Give Poor Carrots, Not Sticks":
Grocer and Representative Elizabeth May (R-27/Kyle) wants to test her SNAP customers and other neighbors who need our help for drug use.
Journalist Brandon Ecoffey agrees with me that such tests are unconstitutional (searches without reasonable suspicion) and show conservatives’ “common practice to attempt to subject poor people to an entirely different set of rules.”
A reader provided me a tip on Ecoffey's recent past:
United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that a man charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine was sentenced on November 17, 2009, by Chief United States District Judge Karen E. Schreier. Brandon Ecoffey, age 26, of Pine Ridge, was sentenced to 60 months' imprisonment, four years of supervised release, and ordered to pay a $500 fine and $100 to the Victims Assistance Fund. Ecoffey was indicted by superseding indictment for Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine and Possession with Intent to Distribute Cocaine and Marijuana by a federal grand jury on May 22, 2008.
By all accounts, Brandon Ecoffey led a double life after he graduated from Dartmouth College and returned to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
By day, Ecoffey worked for the Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce. He mentored and tutored reservation youth, taught classes and was assistant basketball coach at Red Cloud High School.
But by night, he ran with a crowd that was dealing cocaine and marijuana. He developed a gambling problem and a serious cocaine addiction, eventually distributing drugs himself.
“These are kids that look at you and think … ‘I can be just like Brandon,’” she said before sentencing Ecoffey to five years in federal prison for conspiracy to distribute cocaine. “After you graduated from college, you were somebody that everybody looked up to.”
Ecoffey does not fit the definition of someone who was poor, and therefore supposedly has a good reason to be using illegal drugs. Ecoffey was "from a prominent family", so the Neo-Marxist argument used against May's legislation does not hold up. He was also a member of the Chamber of Commerce, which is a bunch of bourgeois, not proletariat.
Here is Ecoffey's response to his getting into trouble with the law:
In no way am I advocating one way or another for the use of drugs, I am simply asking people to allow themselves to consider the possibility that the drug laws in this country are not doing anything to advance Native communities. Sometimes people lie, but statistics don’t. Native people are not beneficiaries of the Drug War. We are victims of it.
The tragedy is that there are often ill-informed and racist prosecutors in states like South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana who hand out years like change at a gas station; a nickel here, a dime there, and off to church they go.
That confirms why Heidelberger chose Ecoffey to support his argument. Ecoffey has adopted the cultural Neo-Marxist victimhood argument, that you see often at Madville. The problem is not the drug use, it instead are with those who are to enforce the law.
And Ecoffey is too busy making racist statements to appreciate he was given an undeserved break:
The day before he was to go to trial last June, Ecoffey pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute cocaine. The charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison; however, there is a “safety valve” that allows judges to drop below that in cases that meet five requirements.
In Ecoffey’s case, the first four were simple: he had no criminal history, there were no firearms involved in the crime, no one died and he was not a leader or organizer of the conspiracy.
The fifth requirement was tougher. It states that a defendant must truthfully provide the government with all information he has relevant to the offense.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mara Kohn said Ecoffey failed to meet the fifth requirement. She said he lied repeatedly to investigators, minimized his role in the operation, and neglected to mention that he had gotten Vigil a new drug supplier when his old connection stopped selling.
Even though Ecoffey got his mandatory sentence cut in half (from 10 years to 5), he does not seem to appreciate the break as he continues his victimhood thinking due to the color of his skin.
And instead of being repentant, Ecoffey takes this position:
An additional way for tribes to address the impacts that America’s War on Drugs has had on our communities is to partner with organizations like Families Against Mandatory Minimums, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and other like-minded organizations who are lobbying for a move away from mass incarceration and towards more fair and appropriate sentencing mandates for non-violent drug offenders. This includes the use of therapeutic interventions as alternatives to incarceration. For Native peoples, alternative sentencing could include the use of traditional Native American spirituality and ceremonies to rid our people of the disease of addiction.
In March 2016, Ecoffey continued to push the idea that drugs on the reservation are OK:
The willingness of our people to stand on top of our sovereign rights has cleared the pathway for many other Indigenous peoples in America to capitalize and improve the status of assert their own nations. One of these watershed moments may be approaching as the Oglala Sioux Tribal council will soon decide if they want to poll the Oglala on their interest in marijuana legalization.
The recent meth epidemic is further example that this outdated model of policing banned substances simply doesn’t work and that it is time for a drastic new approach to curbing addiction in our communities by finding a way to heal from our shared trauma. Of course there are pockets of hope all across our reservation but everything must be done to coddle and nurture these movements. To do this we need our people to be healthy and securing funding for this type of initiative will require a steady stream of funding. The economic and social implications of legalizing marijuana and/or hemp are monumental if accompanied by a new approach to community health. Imagine if we used the profits from legalization to create a new economy based in healing.
Later, in April 2016, Ecoffey argues that "Addiction Is Not A Sin":
On the reservation limited resources and understaffed facilities have been stretched to the capacity by a full blown meth epidemic that is impacting communities like nothing we have seen before. I've spent my fair share of time running the streets and to be completely honest, I have never seen a drug make people so insatiably thirsty for its high. Alcohol and Drugs have been part of the Pine Ridge Reservation for decades but the actions that our people are committing while on the drug are far more brazen and violent than what they used to be before the arrival of meth.
Ecoffey, along with Daugaard, fail to understand that the purpose of incarceration is for protecting society from those who will does us harm. The idea of allowing violent and unstable drug and alcohol abusers to stay within society has caused troubles:
A Pine Ridge woman facing criminal charges after two emaciated toddlers were found in her home on Nov. 11 has asked the U.S. District Court in Rapid City to throw out statements she made to law enforcement.
Roberta Featherman, 50, is charged with double counts of assault resulting in serious bodily injury and felony child abuse and neglect in relation to the children’s condition. She could face up to life in prison if convicted. She has pleaded not guilty.
A pediatrician who examined the girls, ages 2 and 3, said they would have died had they not been found. The doctor compared their level of starvation to that of World War II concentration camp prisoners.
So we have seven adults living in a home where children go hungry? I am fully aware that there are adults who qualify for governmental assistance, but are too busy having fun to apply for it. Instead they whine to family members and friends about not having what they need to survive. And when they come to the attention of governmental authorities they whine about being picked on because they have brown skin and/or are poor. Heidelberger and Ecoffay will scream racist and fascist for anyone who argues there is a need for personal accountability.
Putting citizens, including children, at risk by not holding alcohol and drug abusers accountable is not good policy. And this irresponsible approach is not limited to reservations, but is also what drove Daugaard's prison reform agenda with the so-called drug courts.
I am concerned about drug testing without probable cause. At the same time I understand the need to prevent welfare funding from becoming a source of drug money. There are always strings attached to government money.
Second, children are the victims when meth moms are not confronted. This is from Iowa:
Mothers working through substance abuse treatment and navigating the child welfare system face a series of medical evaluations, counseling sessions, court dates and testing that can seem overwhelming while dragging on longer than desired.
“It is almost setting them up from the beginning to say ‘This is hopeless.’ It feels hopeless. It feels overwhelming and very lonely,” said Judy Murphy, former meth specialist at the Iowa Department of Human Services and co-founder of the Moms Off Meth support group.
In interviews with IowaWatch over the past six months, health care and social workers said failing to seek treatment increases the likelihood of drug use continuing after the child is born, putting the child at risk of abuse and neglect. Many children raised by drug-addicted parents start using drugs as well.
Methamphetamine has a history of abuse in Iowa, and other drugs, such as prescription pain medications, are starting to raise concerns. In 2011, 62 Iowans died from overdoses of pain medications, which has surpassed traffic accidents as the leading cause of injury death in the United States.
Both meth and prescription pain medications can undermine a baby’s health and create complications at the time of delivery.
And attempts to hold meth users accountable failed politically:
During the past state legislative session, Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield, sponsored a bill that would have made it a Class D felony under child endangerment if a newborn is found to have traces of an illegal drug within the first three days of birth. The charge could have sent mothers to prison for up to five years or a fine of up to $7,500.
“I would hope it would open their eyes enough that they would get treatment,” Baudler said in an interview with IowaWatch earlier this year.
“I don’t care about their social stigma. I want them to get treatment so their kids don’t grow up in a home with drugs that will continue to spiral society on down.”
The bill didn’t pass, but it raised concerns among health care and social workers, who said they feared criminalizing drug use by pregnant women could be dangerous for the health of the baby if it prevents women from coming into the hospital.
“Once word gets out that women are going to be charged, what are they going to do? They are not going to stop taking drugs. They are going to stop going to the hospital,” Oral, of the UI Children’s Hospital, said.
A mother can kill the child before its born, and also addict them to dangerous drugs. So jail is not the solution for the mothers, and Ecoffey is saying it is not for everyone. Sadly, it is the children who are suffering, as the party from the 60s continue in America. And what most don't know is that this is all by design:
There will be in the next generation or so a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude and producing dictatorship without tears so to speak. Producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel - by propaganda, or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution.
Aldous Huxley, 1961 / lecture to California Medical School in San Francisco
Heidelberger and Ecoffey are helping the crony capitalists turn the Indian reservations into concentration camps. They seem to not know what they are doing. Or perhaps Ecoffey does. earlier in this post I quoted Ecoffey, "For Native peoples, alternative sentencing could include the use of traditional Native American spirituality and ceremonies to rid our people of the disease of addiction." And in the report regarding his 5 year jail sentence we find this:
Spiritual leader Jerome LeBeau said Ecoffey has started sundancing and found a spiritual foundation from which to help his people.
As Paganism is an alternate culture, we have different experiences and responses to the use of drugs and alcohol. As many on the path are seeking enlightening experiences, drugs are sometimes used to elicit a mind-expanding opportunity. Alcohol was used by Dionysians to commune with their God. Many native and shamanistic cultures use a variety of hallucinogenic drugs in their rituals. They may use peyote, hallucinogenic mushrooms, LSD, marijuana, etc.