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WebToday Cover Story:

MEDIA MONITOR AND TALK SHOW HOST ASK POLICE
TO LET BESIEGED WOMAN TELL HER SIDE OF THE STORY

By WebToday Staff Writers
Friday, October 3, 1997, 6:00 a.m. Central Time USA

 

ROBY, ILLINOIS (October 3, 1997)-- Thomas R. Wayne, a media monitor with Americans for Responsible Media (ARM) of Arlington Heights, Illinois and radio talk host Jack Jackson ("One-Eyed Jack") of WMAY Radio in Springfield, Illinois teamed up today to approach Illinois law enforcement officials with what they call a common sense proposal to end the twelve day old siege in the tiny town of Roby in central Illinois.

Wayne and Jackson propose that since every effort the police have made thus far has failed, maybe the besieged widow would be willing to tell her side of the story during a live radio interview that she can conduct via telephone from the privacy of her own home.

In detailing the proposal being given to police today Tom Wayne stated, "For the better part of 12 days now police have cut off Shirley Allen from the outside world. They have isolated her depriving her of a lawyer, electricity, water and a telephone. They played good cop, bad cop. Figuratively speaking first they tried to 'kill her' filling her home with tear gas and sinking bagged metal balls into her chest. That didn't work. Next they tried to 'kill her with kindness' by piping Barry Manilow music into her house. That didn't work either. Why can't the police simply rehook her phone to call a lawyer or a friend or order a pizza or maybe even be a call-in guest on the radio and let everyone know what's on her mind?"

Jackson echoed Waynes sentiments by stating, "We really believe she would respond positively to the offer of telling her story live. Ten minutes into the interview anyone listening will know more about her mental and emotional state than an entire army of state psychiatrists with a half million dollars of taxpayers' money. What have we got to lose? Nothing else has worked anyway."

State Police have acknowledged that funding the siege has been $15,000 per day, which is greater than a half million dollars per year, cited Wayne.

The siege began September 22 when the widow Allen refused to leave when deputy sheriffs came to her door with a court order (not even a warrant) for her involuntary "psychological evaluation."

As the story goes Mrs. Allen had relatives who complained that she didn't invite them into her home on Labor Day. The relatives found that and other behavior strange and secured a court order for commitment.

Speculation has abounded on the Internet about any possible tie-ins between Mrs. Allen's $120,000 in CD's, her 47 acre farm and her actively producing oil well on her property and any potential financial custody of assets should Mrs. Allen bee deemed mentally incompetent.

The Roby, Illinois stand-off has become known as "Roby Ridge," named after the deadly confrontation between the Randy Weaver family and federal law enforcement officials in Ruby Ridge, Idaho). Many similarities exist including the fact that police have banned media for an entire half mile from the home, in essence giving government the monopoly on the media coverage since they are the only "reporters" close enough to "cover the story."

ARM has publicly contended that not only Mrs. Allen's rights have been grossly violated but that the rights of the news media have been flagrantly violated as well.

Wayne stated, "The First Amendment of our constitution clearly protects free speech and freedom of the press. It's high time our leaders should apologize to both Mrs. Allen and the news media and allow them to communicate with each other and with the citizens at large. The question we ask the police is: Can we talk here in Roby?"

About the proposal Jack Jackson, the proposed talk host turned mediator stated, "It's obvious Mrs. Allen hasn't been interested in coming out of her home for the past 12 days, and that is certainly understandable considering her home has been turned into a veritable battle zone. But she should at least be allowed the opportunity to talk. However if she doesn't accept our offer and she doesn't want to talk, that's her decision and that's her right. We're not about to force her and we're certainly not going to be spoil sports and force her to listen to my talk show at 180 decibels for a week as retribution. But we must at least try. Who knows, maybe she will say yes."

Shortly after the arrival of the ARM media monitor, Illinois State Police Director Terry Gainer conducted a news conference in Springfield during which time he publicly agreed to a partial withdrawal over the next three days. During that conference he also admitted that during the 11 day siege Mrs. Allen was never offered a legal counsel.

Wayne, who credits radio talk show hosts for helping diffuse the siege, stated, "We applaud everyone involved in talk radio across the nation who exposed what was happening to Shirley Allen."

Prior to Gainer's news conference Wayne stated in an ARM news release dispatched to local and national news media, "Government officials claim that this 51-year-old woman Shirley Allen may be a danger to the community or to herself and that she needs to be protected. We ask protected from whom? It's obviously this remarkable widow has a strong will to live. Police have already filled her home with tear gas, shot her in the chest with bagged metal projectiles, and tormented her with loud music and bullhorns night and day. How much more will it take for them to figure out that this widow is not a danger to herself and that the real danger is from state agencies that have already decided that not taking Prozac for a year makes a person unstable."

Wayne's statement in the news release continued, "This could set a precedent that can be used against anybody-- the crime of wanting to be left alone. Her neighbors who know her best say Mrs. Allen is neither crazy nor a danger to anyone. She has no criminal record or assaults or any other anti-social behavior other than she wants to be left alone on her property as guaranteed by the constitution. Even if she does have an aversion to helicopters and planes flying overhead as alleged, does this constitute insanity? But since when is it a crime to hold such beliefs? There also is the question of the formidable assets owned by Mrs. Allen, including the mortgage free 47 acres of land and an oil well on her property."

ARM has in the past successfully deferred license renewal of two television network affiliates in Chicago for alleged irresponsible broadcasting of the Chicago Bulls riots.

To schedule interviews with Tom Wayne or Jack Jackson contact: 616-924-1000. #

How soon we forget history..."Government is not reason. Government is not eloquence. It is force. And, like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master." ---George Washington

 

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