April 27, 1998

Brian Tranmer
P.O. Box 900
Genesee Unit
Ray Brook, NY 12977

Hi Brian,

        Thank you for the letter.  I'm glad to hear you are able to get some education while you're in captivity.  It's too bad they cut off some of the assistance that was available, but that's a real concern when they can't provide assistance to people who aren't in prison.  It's all part of the welfare reform deal, which seems to ignore the growing disparity between rich and poor.   I don't claim to know the answer, but I do see the problem.  We have prisoners in Iowa making $11.50 an hour, while the average wage outside the prison is less than $10 an hour.  That doesn't exactly make for good public relations, particularly when the employers don't have to pay for workers compensation if an employee (prisoner) is injured (the taxpayers have to pay for it).  As usually, everyone pays for a small number who abuse the system.

        So sorry to hear that you've run into the renegade Rastas.  There are a lot of people taking up this Rastafari thing, and most of them have strange beliefs.  They think the former Emperor of Ethiopia, Ras Tafari, was the second coming of Christ.  Some of them don't burn ganja.  Of course, I don't burn ganja either, but I would if I could.  Some of them actually don't believe that ganja is the sacrament.  I'm not even sure how we ended up using the name, but I know I was told it was just another name for God.

        Enclosed is some correspondence I've received recently.  There's a particularly nasty note that I just received from an anonymous source, which sounds very familiar.  I don't know who wrote it, but I'm not going to take them very seriously unless they identify themselves.  I know who Ivy was, I knew Wally, Keith, your dad and you, but I'm not going to listen to someone who's afraid to be identified.  That's one of my biggest problems with the brothers and sisters.  They had too many secrets.  Some of them could get quite violent, if they thought someone was going to reveal some secret (you know which secrets I'm talking about, since you're doing time for similar activity).  My Bible says something about being kind to your enemies, if you know what I mean.  I've expanded the header information on the note, to show the origin.  It came from Miami, Florida by way of Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas (mia-fl14-56.ix.netcom.com by dfw-ix7.ix.netcom.com).

        I'm glad to hear your friend Timmy got in touch with you.  You can now see the power of technology.  I think the computer is going to cause a revolution in the world.  I just hope it's the kind of revolution we would approve of.  We were always taught that the voice of the people is the voice of God.  Well, now people can communicate with each other like they've never been able to in the past.  If God is the word, then improved communications must mean a strengthening of God's spirit, or at least the ability to do so.

        Take care and keep in touch.

Carl E. Olsen