The walls around Attica It has now been six months
since angry inmates at the Attica Prison revolted and were subse- quently beaten down and killed by troopers and prison guards. Six months is a lot of time, regardless of what side of the iron bars one might be standing. At this time we should all ask: "What is happening to prevent fur- ther Atticas; What is being done to meet the demands that were made by the inmates six months ago - just prior to the siege; What has been the result of the numerous investigative teams which were formed to probe the circumstances surrounding the tragedy; and fi. nally Why have the people of A- merica not been kept informed to these things?" One should ask these questions but unfortunately it is doubtful that any satisfactory answers will result. The walls around Attica have grown thicker since 13 September, 1971. And there is pit- ifully little the average American can do to storm those walls him- self. Hounding state officials, sena- tors and assemblymen does not al- ways prove successful or en- lightening. It seems that all one . can do is donate books to help re- store the prison library. And the kinds of books that are sorely needed will not pass through the walls. One might question the media. We live in an age when things happen swiftly. Just , as the a cbl- escent is programmed by the tele- vision commercials to have an attention span of no more than a dozen minutes, so are we pro- grammed by government and newspapers to have an attention span of no more than a few weeks.
Three weeks after the Attica uprising there was scarcly a filler article on a front page or a retro- spective thought on an editorial page in any above-ground paper in the country: Out of sight, out of mind. Few people today realize that there is a grand jury convening in Warsaw, N.Y. to deliberate on the events leading up to and including the ma~cre. And fewer people are allowed the findings. No one has been permitted the informa- 4
tion resulting from Assistant Attorney General Fisher's official state investigation of the rebellion and siege. No one knows how - or even if • the inmates' demands have been met by State and prison officials. There are two conclusions we come to after six months of si- lence: Attica has been put to sleep by justice so that, in the eye of a justice, justice might be done; TheW people of America are behind bars · too - the bars of the media.
STRAIT 23 MARCH 1972
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