'Beloved anti-war poet' arrested


A man known as J. J. Jameson became one of Chicago's prominent anti—war figures and a member of the community of leftist anti—war poets.  The author of two books, a congregation leader at a church, and named Chicagopoetry.com's poet of the month in March 2004,  Jameson seemed the very model of a modern 'enlightened' cultural leader.

He was also living as a fugitive under a phony identity, an escaped con, and a vicious murderer. His real name was Norman A. Porter, Jr.  Michael Dukakis commuted one of his life sentences, and unsuccessfully tried to commute a second. According to the Boston Globe,

Porter's criminal history in Massachusetts began with a string of robberies. On Sept. 29, 1960, he robbed a Robert Hall Clothing Store in Saugus, brandishing a sawed—off shotgun. Porter herded customers and employees into a back room and ordered them to give up their valuables, according to the state Department of Correction.

''As a part—time clerk was reaching into his pocket for his cash, Porter, with no known provocation, placed his shotgun's muzzle against the back of the clerk's head and pulled the trigger, killing him 'execution style,' " the department's website states.

Porter was caught in New York, and while awaiting trial in a Middlesex County jail the following year, Porter assaulted the chief jailer, while an accomplice, Edgar Cook, shot and killed the jailer. Both escaped. Cook committed suicide, and Porter was caught a week later in Keene, N.H., while he was robbing a grocery store, the Correction Department's website says.

Porter pleaded guilty to second—degree murder in both slayings and was sentenced to two consecutive life terms.

During his time in prison, Porter earned a degree from Boston University, published poetry, and started a prison newspaper and radio station.
In 1975, Governor Michael S. Dukakis commuted Porter's first life sentence, and he began serving his second sentence. Dukakis tried twice in 1978 to commute that sentence, as well, but was unsuccessful.

On Dec. 21, 1985, Porter walked out of a minimum—security facility, the Norfolk Prerelease Center, and didn't come back. He has been one of the 12 most wanted fugitives in Massachusetts ever since.

[UPDATE: The Chicago Sun—Times notes that

The Boston Herald reported that the Chicago connection was made after the FBI matched Porter's fingerprints to a 1993 arrest here. The paper also reported Porter had been arrested four times between 1989 and 1993 in Illinois and Washington state.

So our poet was unable to control his criminal impulses, even while living an assumed identity. and functioning as a publicly—visible poet. It would seem that poetry may not be the balm for a troubled soul.]

We have had our differences with leftist anti—war poets on this site. Luckily, the murderous J.J. Jameson was not among those who wrote letters to us protesting our audacity in daring to criticize one of their colleagues. The worst we have endured so far is foul language and vitriol  and laughably inept attempts to disrupt our site's mechanism for donations.

It is obvious that claiming the status of a poet can sometimes be a cover for malicious hearts, minds, and souls.

Hat tip: Ed Lasky, who adds

Poets are not pure as the driven snow. The anti—Semitism of T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound (who compounded his flaw by working for Mussolini and betraying his nation); the anti—Semitism and anti—Americanism of New Jersey Poet Laureate Amiri Baraka and now this anti—war poet.

Thomas Lifson   3 23 05