Rallying Once More
Wed, 13 Nov 2002 - South Bend Tribune (MI)
©2002 South Bend Tribune - All Rights Reserved
- Website: www.southbendtribune.com
Author: Adam Jackson, Tribune Staff Writer
Supporters remember Rainbow Farm shooting victims Crosslin,
VANDALIA - A chilly wind from a leaden sky buffeted
the small group of people Tuesday afternoon as they waved signs
at passing traffic along Michigan 60.
But Mother Nature's cold breezes couldn't extinguish the enthusiasm
of the group's members, or divert them from their goal-honoring
the memory of Grover "Tom" Crosslin and Rolland Rohm,
who were killed in a standoff with police over the course of
Labor Day weekend in September 2001.
The two men, who owned and operated Rainbow Farm Campground,
were staunch supporters of the movement to decriminalize marijuana.
To that end, they staged festivals and concerts at the campground
which featured pro-personal rights and pro-marijuana themes.
However, police say the festivals also featured illegal drug
use and sales, which led to undercover investigations, police
raids, and criminal drug charges, for which Crosslin could have
been sentenced to more than 20 years in prison; Rohm faced 15.
On the same day Crosslin failed to show for a court hearing,
neighbors of the campground reported that the two men were carrying
weapons and setting fire to the buildings on the property.
Thus began the five-day standoff, which ended when the two
men were killed separately by police sharpshooters, while both
reportedly brandished weapons.
While both men are now dead, their mission continues, in gatherings
such as the one on Tuesday.
About two dozen people turned out to remember their fallen
friends, and to denounce what they feel is unjust persecution
resulting from the federal government's ongoing war against illegal
"The war on drugs is a war on people," Nora Callahan
said. "That is something we feel very strongly about."
Callahan is one of the founding members of the November Project,
a grass-roots effort based in Colville, Wash., dedicated to ending
what the group says is an unfair, government-sponsored assault
against American citizens.
The group was one of the sponsors of the gathering, which
included a roadside demonstration, a protest at the Cass County
Courthouse in Cassopolis and a quiet remembrance ceremony at
the now-desolate campground outside Vandalia.
Callahan said the deaths of Rohm and Crosslin are a perfect
example of the casualties in the government's war on drugs.
"This proves that (the government) will kill people over
nothing," she said. "We can't let (Crosslin and Rohm's)
story ever die."
Those who turned out to brave the cold Tuesday are working
to make sure it doesn't. Some, such as Delores Taylor of Charlotte,
Mich., drove more than 100 miles to attend the event, even though
they never had the chance to know the two men before they were
"I'm interested to find out more about why this happened,"
she said. "That's one way to make sure it doesn't happen
At the campground, demonstrators walked quietly through the
overgrown fields, looking at the charred remains of the buildings
that were burned to the ground during the standoff. One of the
last remaining structures is a wooden stage, where bands once
played during the pro-marijuana festivals the property was known
It was on that stage where the group gathered to share memories
-- and to express ongoing outrage at the tragedy that resulted
from the standoff.
"This showed me that the government can just come in
and do whatever they want," said Shirley DeWeese, Crosslin's
sister. "It is still hard to believe."
And even harder to forget. After a small prayer ceremony,
as members of the group filed back to their vehicles, Callahan
noted that from the ashes of tragedies like Rainbow Farm- which
she called the "Waco" of the drug war-can come the
resolve needed to make their battle a successful one.
"The movement against this war is growing and getting
broader," she said. "None of this drug war is about
being just or right-it is about killing people."