Friday, September 21, 2018
News Roundup

Looking Back: In 1990 Timothy Leary dropped in to Eckerd College to talk about legalizing drugs

This story appeared in the pages of the St. Petersburg Times on October 9, 1990. What follows is the text of the original story, interspersed with photos of the event taken by Times staff photographer Maurice Rivenbark.

IDEOLOGIES CLASH AT DRUG DEBATE

By Tom Zucco, Times Staff Writer

Monday night's debaters were as different as two people from the same planet can be. On the far left was Timothy Leary; on the far right, Guardian Angels founder and president Curtis Sliwa. The topic for the evening was the legalization of drugs and the audience was standing-room-only at Griffin Chapel on the Eckerd College campus.

TIMES | Maurice Rivenbark

TIMES | Maurice Rivenbark

Leary, 70, a former Harvard University psychology professor who in the 1960s led the fight for a chemically altered state of consciousness, was pro-choice on the issue. Sliwa, wearing a trademark red beret of the Guardian Angels, argued that even "soft" drugs such as marijuana should not be legalized.

Most people have only a one-sided vision of the Woodstock generation, Sliwa said. Today, as in the 1960s, inner-city poor suffer under the weight of drug addiction.

TIMES | Maurice Rivenbark

"If we legalize drugs," Sliwa said, "it will do to the inner city what alcohol did to the American Indians. It's a form of genocide. How can we sit idly by when a portion of the population is enslaved?

"We must consider the us in we," he said, "to be more important than the I in we."

TIMES | Maurice Rivenbark

From the beginning, Leary was clearly the crowd favorite, even though many of his admirers weren't even born when he coined the phrase "turn on, tune in, drop out."

Leary didn't counterattack Sliwa as much as he challenged the audience. And he noted at the outset, "It's curious to me that your college was named after a drug manufacturer."

"The real cause of neglect of the cocaine babies is the Bush administration," Leary said. "There is no prenatal care.

"The government has no business telling you, as an adult, what to do with your body or your mind. Is there anyone out there who really thinks they can look to Washington or Moscow to solve their problems?

"I'm not advocating drugs," he said. "I'm advocating T.F.Y.Q.A. _ think for yourself and question authority."

Pounding his fist on the lectern, Leary at one point turned the microphone around and faced Sliwa. "As for the suggestion that casual pot smokers should be jailed, Curtis, I got news for you. You ain't gonna do it."

TIMES | Maurice Rivenbark

TIMES | Maurice Rivenbark

Leary brought up the anti-drug commercial on TV that shows an egg in a frying pan.

"I got a fax from a friend that showed a plate with an egg, bacon and toast. It said, "This is your brain with bacon and toast.' I mean, that ad must have really p----- off the poultry industry and caused all sorts of psychological problems for kids who saw that commercial and then saw their moms cooking breakfast.

"Look," he added, "we are not going to solve the problem of drugs by saying "Just Say No.' We'll solve the problems by saying "Just Say Know.' "

To order reprints, license or download any image included above, please visit the Times image archive.

Contact Jeremy King at [email protected]

Comments
St. Petersburg woman jumps from moving Uber to avoid kidnapping in Tallahassee

St. Petersburg woman jumps from moving Uber to avoid kidnapping in Tallahassee

It had been about 25 minutes since they passed her drop-off. So, realizing the driver wasn’t going to let her out, 19-year-old Brooke Adkins rolled down the window of the moving car and jumped.Police found her minutes later in a Tallahassee Wa...
Updated: 2 minutes ago
Hometown Pasco for Sept. 28

Hometown Pasco for Sept. 28

We want your news!Hometown Pasco is devoted to everyday life in our county, whether it's snapshots from your family reunion, recreational sporting events or news from your last club meeting. You can contact Hometown Pasco news coordinator Jean Hamilt...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
New Port Richey couple celebrates 75 years together

New Port Richey couple celebrates 75 years together

The NovobilskysEdward and Stella Novobilsky recently celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary. They were married Aug. 21, 1943.The couple, who are both 96, live in the Arborwood at Summertree community in New Port Richey. They moved to the area from...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
After record-setting day in Tampa, last day of summer brings more stifling heat

After record-setting day in Tampa, last day of summer brings more stifling heat

Weather in Tampa on Thursday took one step above the previous record high, then another for good measure.The high temperature in Tampa reached 96 degrees Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. That beat the old record of 94 by two degre...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
They spent $15,000 adding a driveway to their St. Pete House. Now the city says they canít park on it

They spent $15,000 adding a driveway to their St. Pete House. Now the city says they canít park on it

ST. PETERSBURG ó One day in January, Dana Cremo was on her front porch hanging a vintage screen door when two city employees walked up. "You canít park on your driveway," they said. "Why?" she asked. "Because somebody filed a complaint," they said. F...
Updated: 1 hour ago
How is Florida doing after 20 years under GOP rule?

How is Florida doing after 20 years under GOP rule?

Republicans have controlled Florida’s governor’s office and Legislature since 1999.When voters consider their choice in this year’s governor’s race, how they perceive the last two decades will be critical.Are we Floridians bet...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Examining Florida-Tennessee, FSU-NIU and the other state college football matchups

Eye on the NFL draftAt 6-foot-1, 237 pounds, Northern Illinois DE Sutton Smith doesn't have NFL size, but he does have next-level productivity. He ranked in the top four nationally last year in sacks, tackles for loss and fumbles forced/recovered. Fl...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Jimbo vs. Saban (again), CCC alum Jeff Smith starring and more national nuggets

Jimbo vs. Saban (again), CCC alum Jeff Smith starring and more national nuggets

Local of the weekBoston College WR Jeff Smith (Clearwater Central Catholic)After recording the first 100-yard game of his career last week, Smith could be in for another big showing against a bad Purdue pass defense. He'll try to help the No. 23 Eagl...
Updated: 2 hours ago
St. Petersburg man accused of sexually abusing sisters, 18 and 11

St. Petersburg man accused of sexually abusing sisters, 18 and 11

ST. PETERSBURG -- A St. Petersburg man faces charges after deputies say he sexually battered an 11-year-old girl and her 18-year-old sister.According to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, the victims had been placed in the care of 33-year-old Andr...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Florida man likes to garden in the nude, and his neighbors don't approve

Florida man likes to garden in the nude, and his neighbors don't approve

STUART — Being in touch with nature is one thing. But gardening au naturel is quite another for some neighbors of a Florida man who's been doing yard work in the nude.The miffed residents tell news outlets they've called the Martin County Sher...
Updated: 4 hours ago