1010 N Tennessee St
Published September 20, 2011 in Talking Points by Sharon Harris
A free society is a compassionate society — unlike our current government, which acts as though it's at war against sick people.
James Burton is a former Kentuckian who is living literally in exile in the Netherlands. A Vietnam War veteran, he suffers from a rare form of hereditary glaucoma. All the males on his mother's side of the family had the disease, and several of them have gone blind.
Burton found that marijuana could hold back, and perhaps halt, the glaucoma. So he began growing marijuana for his own use. Kentucky State Police raided his 90-acre farm and found 138 marijuana plants and two pounds of raw marijuana. At his trial, ophthalmologist John Merritt — at the time the only physician in America allowed by the government to test marijuana in the treatment of glaucoma — testified that marijuana was the only medication that could keep Burton from going blind.
Nevertheless, Burton was found guilty of simple possession and was sentenced to one year in a federal maximum security prison, with no parole. The government also seized his house and farm. Under forfeiture laws, there was no defense he could raise against the seizure of his property. No defense witnesses were permitted at his hearing.
After release from prison, Burton and his wife moved to the Netherlands, where he can legally purchase marijuana to stave off his blindness. Now, instead of living on a sprawling farm, they live in a tiny apartment, an ocean away from family and friends. They would love to return to America — but not at the cost of his going blind.
This is the visible fist of government.
Will Foster, a 38-year-old software programmer and father of three, grew marijuana in his basement to treat his severe rheumatoid arthritis. Police raided his home and found about 70 marijuana plants. Journalist James Bovard points out that, because Foster was a first-time offender, the judge let him off — with a 93-year sentence.
This is the visible fist of government.
One more example. In 1992, Jimmy Montgomery of Oklahoma was sentenced to 10 years in prison for possession of two ounces of marijuana. That's the same weight as the tobacco in two packs of cigarettes. Montgomery was using the marijuana to relieve painful muscle spasms in his paralyzed limbs. Montgomery is a paraplegic who has been in a wheelchair for over 20 years after an industrial accident. His harsh sentence was because he was convicted both for possession and for intent to distribute — based on the testimony of a cop who said he had never seen anyone with two ounces who didn't intend to distribute.
This poor man nearly died twice in prison because of lack of medical care. Because he had infectious sores that endangered other inmates, he was put in an isolated cell where he couldn't call for help. He had to remove his own bloody bandages without benefit of salve. Guards lost his urine bag, putting him in danger of death from infection.
He eventually was released, but the lack of medical treatment in the government's prison led to his leg being amputated.
This is the visible fist of government — at war against thousands of utterly innocent, desperately ill Americans.
A while back, I saw a TV news show about a new drug the FDA was considering for approval. There were people, some of them in wheelchairs, begging — literally begging — for the drug, which had helped many of them and which for some was their last chance. Tears were streaming down their faces. The pious committee of doctors sat around a table and voted not to give the drug to these people because the government had not yet proven its effectiveness. "It's for your own good," one of them said to the sick people. Later, one member of the committee explained to the reporter that they didn't want to "give false hope to these people."
These medical bureaucrats know so well what's best for you that they will kill you before they'll let you make a decision for yourself. Isabel Patterson, in her book God of the Machine, called people like this "humanitarians with a guillotine."
The FDA is a silent killer. The number of deaths that could have been prevented with life-saving drugs this agency withheld from the marketplace is in the hundreds of thousands. FDA delays continue to kill many thousands of people every year.
The visible fist of government.
Many patients suffering from terrible pain are denied adequate pain relief — even though such relief may be legal, cheap, and readily available. Many doctors and hospitals fear that if they write too many prescriptions, federal and state regulators will harass them or even halt their practices. Their fear is grounded in reality.
Dr. Richard Blonsky, president of the American Academy of Pain Medicine, said, "For a person experiencing pain, narcotics are the best pain killers we know. A lot of doctors fear that if they write too many prescriptions, Big Brother will get them." Studies indicate that up to 70% of terminal cancer patients — patients who are dying and thus no longer in danger of long-term addiction to narcotics — do not get sufficient pain medication.
This suffering is the product of the visible fist of government.
Well-intentioned or not, government is violence. Read how the free-market encorages non-violence while the government does the opposite in part four.