Why you should help Ray Bradbury who is being sued by Mel Sembler, and how
an editorial by Wesley Fager © 2003
Note: By now we assume you have read the story of the 6th Circuit's attempt to railroad Ray Bradbury again. If not there's no need to read this page until you have. ..
We have colleges and universities that teach mature people psychological counseling. We do not believe that kids with addiction problems should be counselors for kids with addiction problems. Nor do we believe it is appropriate for any child to be refused private contact with his own parents.


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In 1988 prosecutor James T. Russell tried to put Ray Bradbury in jail for doing his (Russell's) job, and for harassing Mel Sembler. Ray was young and impetuous, just 23, and did a foolish thing. He had been authorized by some former clients to get their Straight files but Straight just laughed him off, so he went there to get them himself, after hours, and was caught. [The first attempt to railroad Mr. Bradbury by Pinellas-Pasco Sixth Circuit is described here.]

Ray Bradbury worked almost entirely by himself, mostly without funding, to close Straight. It took him eight years but he did it. Bradbury is now burned out from the years he spent over Straight, but he does attend an occasional picket. And sometimes he goes through Mel Sembler's trash looking for documents verifying the Straight Holocaust; verifying Mel Sembler's role in it; and making sure it happens Never Again. One day three years ago, looking for discarded documents, he found a medical device belonging to Sembler. He held onto that device for three years. But recently, on a lark, overcome with the stories of horror and tragedy he has read from Straight survivors, he decided to place the item for auction for the purpose of raising awareness to the Straight issue; to raise funds to aid in his own Straight-related medical expenses; to help fund charities involved in exposing child abuse and in aiding victims of child abuse; and to get Mel and Betty Sembler deposed in a court of law about their involvement in Straight in an effort to make them accountable for what they did at Straight.

For his efforts he has been temporarily gagged by a Florida judge. Straight is a Holocaust, but will Sembler get his judges to place anybody in jail who tries to tell the story? Will you be next? Mel Sembler is trying to sue Richard Bradbury out of existence and he has unlimited funds to do it--and many Republican judges at his disposal. The Sheriff and state attorney are working hard to find some way to send Ray Bradbury to prison.

On New Year's Day 1988 Melvin and Betty Sembler were trying to enjoy brunch in their back patio when something drew Betty to the front door.  "Honey,  did you know we were being picketed?"  she called back to Melvin.  It was none other than a slim Richard Bradbury with his associate Dusty Hopkins.   [Photo: Neil McGahee, The Tampa Tribune]


And what are you doing about it. NOTHING. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Some of us try to have conferences to discuss the issues of organized rehabilitation fraud and abuse; to expose the programs that do these things to kids; and to bring public awareness to the problem. But you won't go. You won't send any money to support these efforts. After the fact you want to gossip on the forums and find out who was there. For those of you who were in Straight there is a rule of no parent contact. Many second-generation Straight's still have that rule. You know what can happen behind those closed doors when a child is not allowed to talk to his parents. There was no one there for you because no one knew. But now you know and you have a responsibility to those trapped in these programs, but you do nothing. We stage protests, but you don't go. You complain about what Straight did to you. Mel Sembler lives a life of luxury, proudly bragging to Congress and on his State Department web page that he founded Straight. But you don't do anything. Someone suggests the Straight Holocaust must be documented and asks for former members to tell their stories in an affidavit and encourages them to file the affidavit with law enforcement or the state attorney's office. But another gives a thousand reasons why you should not do that because you can be sued for what you say, even if it is the truth--if you can not prove it. Don't you realize that the first Jews to come forward were in a similar situation when they accused those who had tormented them. They could have been sued too, and some no doubt were.

I'm reminded of what Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wrote in The Gulag Archipelago. He wrote that in the old Soviet Union, early in the morning, you could hear the footsteps of two KGB officers bravely walking down the hallway of your apartment building. Everyone cowered in his bed, he wrote, trembling, hands pulling coarse blankets over heads hoping the officers would take his neighbor down the hall. Hoping he and his family would be spared yet another night. Solzhenitsyn calls these people rabbits. He wrote that all that was needed was for one night when the Gestapo walked down the hall, have them met by all the people in the apartment building wielding clubs. The group would beat the officers to death. Yes, he wrote, the KGB would come back and arrest some residents and they would be shot; but the next time the KGB walked into an apartment building they would not be so arrogant as to walk in alone. They would come in with a truck load of soldiers with riffles bringing attention to just what they were doing.

Others point out that Ray Bradbury will come out looking like a jerk for placing a poor old man's medical device on eBay. They say that Bradbury may want to get the Straight story into court, but, they write, that doesn't mean the judge will allow it in. That is exactly correct. Leonard Englander will try to keep the word Straight from being used. But Ray has an excellent free speech attorney in Tom McGowan. His job is to convince the court that if Ray Bradbury is not insane, then there is some reason why he feels compelled to do what he does. So what is it?

Ray Bradbury wanted to bring attention to the plight of Straight survivors. If he should be successfully sued out of existence tomorrow he has already accomplished a major objective --to get the Straight story told.

Help. Protest. Attend conferences. Organize.
Volunteer. Send money. Do something.

Please don't call Tom McGowan. He is snowed under fighting this case. But do send him an e-mail or letter expressing your support; a letter he can read during lulls in the case. If you can spare it, send him money too. If not, don't sweat it. Sending money for this cause is not a one time event. In six weeks or two months if you can send more, do it. Mel Sembler has an endless supply of cash to fund Lenny Englander.

Send non tax exempt donations to:
Thomas H. McGowan, P.A.
150 Second Avenue North
Suite 870
St. Petersburg, FL 33701


Specify whether the funds are to be used for the Ray Bradbury legal defense fund; the class action fund against the state of Florida; or to be used at Mr. McGowan's discretion for either.
The party at Mel's house in 2002

Ray Bradbury's fight with Mel Sembler is a fight between former clients of The Straight Archipelago and Mel Sembler. Read now why other groups have an interest in this story:
  • Why drug policy reformers should support Ray Bradbury. Read this.
  • Why cult awareness people should be concerned. See this.
  • And speaking of cult awareness people, Scientology critics in particular have an interest in the unfolding Straight drama as it relates directly to first amendment issues in Pinellas County, Florida. See this.
  • First Amendment watchers need to know what's happening:
  • Why members of the The Florida Holocaust Museum, The National Holocaust Museum, The Simon Wiestenthal Centre, et al have an interest here. Coming soon.
  • Why WWASPS trackers should be concerned. See this.
  • Why Assistant Florida Attorney Generals should be concerned. See this. Contact them here.
  • Why folks concerned with privatization of prisons and why state employees in Florida should be concerned. See this.
  • Why Florida consumers and the Florida Better Business Bureau should be concerned. See this.
  • Why the National Democrat Party, the Florida State Democrat Party and the Pinellas County Democrat Party should be concerned, as well as Libertarians and Greens. See this.
  • Why should blacks in Florida who are concerned that our drug laws unfairly target them for prison be concerned. Read this.
  • Why the Internet domain name community has an interest. Contact them at Domains Magazine.
Italian Embassy 2002.

Please help us contact the above organizations (and any others you may think of that have an interest here) to explain to them what is going on in Pinellas County Florida and why it is in their interest to help Ray Bradbury. Tell them they can help by sending money, by telling the story, by conducting protests, by contacting their Congressmen, by donating their own legal services, and/or by any other means they may have to help out in this noble cause.

The Blues Brothers
support the blue ribbon campaign

Mel Sembler wants all of Ray Bradbury's money because he feels that Ray Bradbury has caused him intentional infliction of emotional distress. Give me a break. Mel Sembler has caused the intentional inflection of emotional distress to perhaps as many as 50,000 people and he may have caused some of them their life. How dare he sue Ray Bradbury or any other former Straight client for intentional inflection of emotional distress, I don't care how outrageous the former member's behavior may appear to be. How dare him try to squeeze another nickel out of a former Straight member--he already got $100 million. Don't let him do this to Ray Bradbury. If you're down get up and fight. Do it. Do it now.

Thank you,

Wes Fager
Editor, theStraights dot com


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