Rafter Held in Suspected Intelligence-gathering Mission
(E. L. Tessier)

HOUSTON%mdash;A man poling a raft on Buffalo Bayou was spotted yesterday by an alert motorist, reported to police and arrested in what authorities suspect was an attempt to gauge the response time of local law enforcement.

The barefoot rafter wore a saffron robe and had a shaved head. Police would not comment on his appearance, saying only that they have entered specifics of the incident into a database containing information about terrorist organizations around the world.

The rafter asked his attorney to issue a statement. Police initially barred its publication, saying it might contain code that could endanger national security. A federal judge overrode the gag order on First-Amendment grounds, paving the way for the statement’s release late last night.

“Every single being, even those who are hostile to us, is just as afraid of suffering as we are, and seeks happiness in the same way we do,” the statement said. “Every person has the same right as we do to be happy and not to suffer. So let's take care of others wholeheartedly.”

E.L. Tessier is the pen name of a writer who practices meditation at the Houston Zen Center with the guidance of Abiding Teacher Gaelyn Godwin.

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