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Chapter 17: My Part

During his “trial,” Bishop Gormley spoke briefly:

“Well, we’ve heard the charges, even though some of them may have gotten lost because of the hurry and we’ve heard some responses from the ones being charged. You may think they deserve to die, and I can see that.

‘But it should be obvious to all that we can’t hang them. We might like to think that we could hold out against the government’s army, but we wouldn’t last long without hostages. So killing Torres and his staff is not going to happen.

‘As long as they’re alive, we can have a standoff with the army. If the rest of the country is roused against this godless revolution, they will eventually join us and we’ll overthrow the whole thing. Then we can get back to the way things ought to be, and that’s what I recommend. We just have to hold out.”

//After Gormley spoke, I guess I expected some more outbursts, or at least some kind of deliberations. But things just went quiet. I should point out that the number of people at this entire event had fallen off during the time I was watching. People had just gone home. I don’t think most people are anti-revolutionaries, and I don’t think they are revolutionaries, either. Most people just don’t care that much.

The number left in the courtroom, maybe as many as a hundred or so, didn’t look to be nearly as big a crowd as the ones who had invaded the project to begin with. The ones that were still there were, I guess, considering their options. I’m not sure they had any. I don’t know why I decided to put in my opinions. Maybe it was just the lure of the silence that made me want to talk://

"My name is July Eason. You probably think I’m a secretary, or some kind of clerk, but I’m not. I’m the archivist. It has been my job since the beginning of the project to write down what happens. That’s what I’m still doing, and this recording equipment is mostly how I do it.

'So I’m not really anybody in charge of anything. When I came to the project, I didn’t care whether it succeeded or not. I was only interested in my own success one way or another. Like most people, I just wanted to do a good job.

'But my job, just because of the position it put me in, caused me to see pretty much everything that happened and I have, of course, made up my mind about things as I went along.

'The Amarillo Project was kind of scary to me, as it probably was to a lot of you. They were gathering some of the dregs of society together. I guess the biggest shock was how many of them died and how little anybody else cared.

'Just the way Commissioner Torres said, I didn’t really think about how local Amarillo people felt. I was measuring the success or failure of the project simply by how many of these criminal-types we were taking away from the cities where they were such a big problem.

'We made a mistake in not considering local needs. But you are making a mistake, too, when you look at local needs without considering everybody else. Indications are that the Amarillo Project was contributing in a positive way to the general needs of our whole society. Aren’t you part of that society too? Don’t you want to solve the scourge of drug addiction in Amarillo? Can’t you see that every other city in the country has that same problem and wants to get rid of it just as bad as you do?

'I’m not going to mislead you. I’m not an expert on any kind of crime.
but just think about one of the drug-related crimes that we all know about: prostitution. You almost can’t have prostitution without drug addiction. Women aren’t just naturally inclined to work as sex receptacles. We’re pretty sure that prostitution was lowering in our country, and the reason is because the drug addicts, including the prostitutes, were here, In our project. And they didn’t work as prostitutes when they were here, because there was no reason for it. They got their dope for free, so if they had any sex at all it was just for the same reasons anybody else does it.

'Didn’t you notice that prostitution fell off in your town, too? Can anybody here remember seeing a working prostitute lately? I don’t see any hands going up! If you had any prostitutes before, you probably don’t have them now, because they all came to us in the project. It was the same all over the country.

'Commissioner Leo Torres told you just awhile ago that he had made a mess of things. But if you think about it, you’ll have to admit that you made quite a mess, too. There are people dead because of you. Some of them may have done something wrong in your neighborhoods, but probably most of them didn’t.

'Now you’re all in agreement, both sides, that you don’t want the armed forces coming in. Commissioner Torres said it would just make bad things worse. So, you have to think, what are you going to do? Let me make a suggestion: why not just try to work this out peacefully?

'You may have some differences, and I’ll grant that you do, about the way things have been done. But no one has presented any real argument that shows that the revolutionary government wasn’t trying to do a good thing. Maybe it’s possible to do it better, do it right.

'Let’s see, together."

--July Eason, Project Archivist

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