APRIL 30TH AND YOUR LOCAL POLICE DEPT. (From EarthSpirit Community Newsletter, PO Box 365,

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APRIL 30TH AND YOUR LOCAL POLICE DEPT. (From EarthSpirit Community Newsletter, PO Box 365, Medford, MA 02155, $3/yr.) [We are reprinting this piece because we, too, were advised by friends here in the Seattle area that this bulletin had come across the police teletype network. PANEGYRIA has been fortunate enough to secure a copy of the police teletype report from a Seattle area group leader who prefers to remain anonymous. We will be passing it on to our friends at the ACLU in hopes it might interest them, too.] Recently we were informed by friends in the Pagan Community of a police bulletin rumored to have been broadcast to police departments across the entire United States. Allegedly, this bulletin informed local authorities that April 30th is a "Satanic holiday" and advised them to be alert for such suspicious activity as groups of people out in the woods, bonfires, people holding strange rituals, and diverse "occult" activity. Police were allegedly urged to schedule extra patrolmen and be particu- larly active in their surveillance on the night of April 30th. We were very concerned about this report, and since it had come to us through a series of sources, we decided to check it out. On Monday, April 14th {1986 - WB Sysop}, one of our members questioned an officer of her local town police force about the rumor. The officer she spoke to is the local Juvenile Officer for that town and had a GREAT deal to say about the bulletin. According to this officer, the bulletin in question did indeed go out to every police department in the country, and its contents were just what we'd heard. However, during the course of the conversation, the officer repeatedly emphasized that the purpose of the bulletin was not to harrass or limit the legal activities of adults in any way. "We're very careful about people's rights," the officer stated, asserting repeatedly that adults may believe anything they want and get together to observe those beliefs privately as they choose. Our interviewer made it carefully clear to the officer what her position was, without mentioning any buzz- words, so that the conversation would be on an informed level. "This doesn't have anything to do with what you're doing," the officer insisted. So just what does the bulletin mean? According to this officer, there is a great deal of concern about illegal activities associated with Satanism. Our officer described at length the problem of kids, mostly teenagers, who are devoted to particular rock groups, vocally and visibly identify themselves as Satanists, and allegedly involve themselves in some fairly serious illegal activities, including animal sacrifice and serious drug abuse. Our interviewer was rather startled to learn that this is apparently an active problem in her own community and that there has been at least one verified case of animal mutilation there. She was also surprised to learn that the police know of several such groups in her town, mostly kids, with a few adults, and they're "keeping an eye on them." The officer also said that police know of other people in town who are Witches and occultists, and emphasized that those adults were not the subject of the bulletin. "That's how all the departments are taking it," the officer stated. The source of the bulletin is apparently the FBI. All Pagans should be aware that the authorities are very concerned about "Satanism" which they see as a movement which is anti-social, involved in destructive illegal activities, and dangerous, entirely apart from any Christian connotations. While a give police department may or may not be aware that many harmless groups exist that celebrate Beltane, they will likely be checking out any odd report. So be discrete this Beltane, and be conscious of your local by-laws and regulations concer- ning fires, use of public land, outdoor assemblies, and anything else which may apply. There is no need for Pagans to have trouble with their local police if we promote understanding on both sides! -EarthSpirit Community [Ed. note: We hope that ALL police depts. are as enlightened as the one in this report from the Boston area, but don't count on it. Maybe this is the time to mail the Press Packet prepared by CoG, to all local police agencies! The FBI ought to get one, too, if they indeed did originate the police bulletin. This report naturally leads to the next one, also from EarthSpirit. Read on...] ~~~ ENTERTAINING SATAN For some time now there has been considerable publicity in the media about "Satanism." These reports are always linked to destructive crimi- nal activity which includes vandalism, animal killings, child abuse, sexual abuse of minors, drug use, and even abduction and murder. The emphasis usually is on the anti-social rather than anti-Christian aspects fo the new "Satanism." Pagans have a tendency to respond to these reports by seeing them as a fundamentalist Christian exaggeration and as a backlash against alter- native religions. Some Pagans have openly protested the linking of the words, "Satanism" and "Witchcraft." However, it's beginning to appear that the concerns about Satanism go far beyond the fears of fundamen- talists or the mass media stereotypes. It would certainly appear that a growing number of people really are involved in serious harmful activity, using the anti-Christian images of Satanism to give form and symbol to their attack on society. Because the Church turned ancient Pagan motifs into Satanic ones, Pagans find their symbols and beliefs once again linked to violence and hatred against society and a wish to harm others. Apparently, not all the recent fears about Satanism are ill-founded. The EarthSpirit Community feels that we need to be as well informed about this phenomenon as possible. We are asking all our members to forward to us any news clippings, reports, or cases that you may hear of which involve supposed "Satanic" groups practicing destructive or crimi- nal acts. It is important to remember that these groups tend to be young and are devoted to a violent rebellion against society -- they have no concern for religious tolerance and reflect very badly on true Pagans and Witches. We need to be aware of the real danger behind the media hype. -EarthSpirit Community [PANEGYRIA urges everyone to participate in this project by forwarding clippings and articles on the subject either to us or to EarthSpirit or CoG, attention Don Frew, at PO Box 1226, Berkeley, CA 94704. ... and all this talk about media hype leads us to the next article, taken from Red Garters of California, newsletter of the New Wiccan Church, PO Box 162046, Sacramento, CA. 95816, 8x,$8/yr.] THOUSANDS--------- HUNDREDS//////// DOZENS OF CHILDREN ARE MISSING! A dozen young faces look up from the page. The headline begs me to be on the watch for these youngsters; they are "MISSING." A generic "family letter" tearfully describes the warm loving homes that await the return of these prodigal sons. Could a heart be so hard that it could fail to be touched by the plight of these families? This particular flyer is from Woolworth's variety store; similar messages stare at me from milk cartons, billboards, grocery bags, cereal boxes, and photocopies taped to the windows of my local market. I haven't seen a T-shirt with a missing child displayed on it, but the year is young. Obviously, a plauge of kidnappings is sweeping America. As I was typing this into the old IBM, Jim Levitis, President of Select TV, came on the screen and announced that FIVE MILLION kids are missing, of which thousands are murdered! With a population of 60 million children in the United States, that means that every twelfth child has disappeared. I am surprised to see any of the neighborhood children left to play ball in the street. These numbers made me wonder. I know a lot of people, I mean a LOT of people! I even know several people whose children have been sexually molested (in each case by a heterosexual family member). But I DON'T personally know anyone whose child has been abducted. Certainly, kidnapping happens but the numbers being presented to us are deliberately inflated. What are the real figures? The FBI says that in 1985 it investigated 67 cases of children kidnapped by strangers. That works out to about 1.1 in 1,000,000. The local paperboy who careens all over my street, before sunrise, on a bicycle without reflectors or lights, is more likely to die under an automobile, than he is to be kidnapped. I suspect that his parents have gone to great lengths to advise him against talking to strangers, but they haven't invested $10 to make him visible to drivers. Now that we have our figures straight, do we have our priorities straight? What about all these other missing children? What do we mean by "missing?" The majority of these "missing" children are in the custody of their parents, or other family member. They are "missing" to the extent that the estranged spouse does not know the child's whereabouts. There is no reason to presume that these children are victims of foul play. This is admittedly unjust, but child custody battles do not warrant frightening 60,000,000 children [or their parents -Ed.] with visions of abduction, molestation, and murder. Most of the truly missing children are run-aways, and I fear that for many of them, our worst fears are realized. A life in the streets can be brutal, and many of them succumb to it. But a run-away has only to present him/herself to the police, and they are safely on their way home. If they do not, we must presume that for some reason they prefer street- life to home-life. From what kind of home-life are they running away? Who is promoting the "missing children" fad? Yes, it is a fad. One "child finding" organization solicits local merchants to offer discounts through the organization's coupon books. The organization then SELLS these books, each coupon bearing the description and badly reproduced photograph of a "missing child." What is the result? The distraught parents feel that something positive is being done. The merchant gets the usual advantages of advertising and a few kudos for supporting community interest. Most importantly the organization, which is not a charity but a profit-making enterprise, pockets the cash. Has this method located any children? Not that I have heard of. What about the offer to have my child video-taped for a nominal fee? I doubt that a moving picture will be much more effective than a snapshot, and it certainly will not reproduce well on the back of a box of cereal. To have 67 children disappear is a terrible misfortune. To use such misery for commercial gain is a travesty! A final question. If you wanted to mark each individual with an indellible identification so that you could keep track of them, how would YOU go about convincing them to VOLUNTARILY mark themselves? [Seems to be working, doesn't it? -Ed.]


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