We Can’t Have Freedom Without The Rule Of Law

I know I have been ragging on the police a lot here lately and it has been taking a toll on me. Reading and writing about people who’s lives have been severely harmed at the hand of police such as Ramarley Graham and his family, have left me depressed and angry about the misdeeds done in the name of law enforcement by a few errant policemen. It is very likely that I do not have all the facts and maybe I am wrong in my assessment, but anytime a person looses their life as a result of this war or drugs it bothers me. For a man to die over a dime bag of marijuana is a horrible tragedy, and I can find no justification for it. But I also love this country and I want the Constitution to continue to be the guiding principle in the way our country is run. I want the freedoms and rights that we have to endure and be passed on to future generations. That freedom and those rights cannot be preserved without the rule of law. Law enforcement is just as crucial to preserving our Constitution and freedom as a standing army. Without it our society would descend into chaos and the strongest, the richest or the boldest would reign supreme and the weak would be at their mercy. Rape, robbery, murder would be rampant and we would all live in fear. The brave men and women in law enforcement have a very thankless job. Countless times every day, they put their lives on the line to preserve the rule of law and fulfill their vow to serve and protect. For that we owe them a debt of gratitude that they may never see. Most of their encounters with the public are not on good terms. They see people on some of the worst days of their lives and often their intervention is unwelcome and sometimes violent. No one wants a traffic citation and no one wants to be arrested and people’s reactions are sometimes hard to predict. Police never know what will happen on the next encounter with the public so they must remain vigilant, ready to make split second decisions concerning life and death, not only their own, but the public as well. I am grateful for those who stand in harm’s way, and risk their lives to enrich mine. At times I tend to lose sight of that and I will forever believe the war on drugs is the wrong approach to a social and medical problem. I will forever believe that paramilitary raids on people’s homes over marijuana is a bad idea. I will forever believe that marijuana should be treated the same as alcohol, but the job of the police is not to judge which laws are good or bad, but to enforce the laws passes by our elected officials. There are many people in law enforcement who want an end to the war on drugs and have become outspoken critics of it. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is an organization of just such people. Judges, attorneys, and policemen from all across the country have united to oppose the war on drugs. They actively lobby Congress and give testimony in public venues to educate people about the failures and fallacies in the war on drugs and that gives me hope for a better future. The vast majority of men and women in law enforcement are good honest people who believe in the rule of law and hold themselves to a very high standard, but that is not news worthy, so the media focuses on the mistakes and misdeeds of the few. God Bless those who choose to serve this country and preserve our way of life. My beef is with Congress and the President, not with law enforcement.

Randy Johnson

Stop Killing People For Using Marijuana

I keep finding stories about people killed over marijuana possession. Eighteen year old Ramarley Graham was shot to death by officer Richard Haste in his Grandmother’s bathroom while allegedly trying to flush a dime bag of marijuana down the toilet after New York City police saw him make the purchase and followed him to his residence. A video shows Graham walking to the residence and entering with police running up to the door a few seconds later, where they unsuccessfully try to kick the door in. They moved around to the rear of the residence and finally gained entrance by breaking in. Also in the home at the time were his Grandmother, Patricia Hartley and six-year-old brother. Several stories have evolved from the initial event such as that Graham had a gun that was never found and that Graham had struggled with the police which turns out not to be the case according to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. The indictment of the officer involved in the shooting has been dropped because the Grand Jury was not informed that fellow officers had told Haste that Graham was armed. Graham’s Grandmother was treated badly after her grandson was shot The grandmother, 58 years of age and 85 pounds, was forced into a chair and her arm twisted while police called her a f—ing liar for covering for her grandson, and hauled her in for questioning for 7 hours, while she was denied heart medicine and medical treatment and officers delayed her lawyer from seeing her for 90 minutes.

Since police have acknowledged watching the hand to hand drug buy, I am certain they knew it was not a large quantity of drugs. It was obviously a personal use, small time drug buy which brings us to the question of why it was so important to break into a home and shoot someone over a small amount of marijuana. Is it so important for society to eliminate drug use that they will do so at all cost, even killing people? While I do fault the police, for this tragic over use of authority, they should not stand alone in fault here. Also culpable are the Police Commissioner, and all the elected officials from the mayor all the way up to Congress and President Obama who played a role in directing police to pursue small time drug buyers and users with such aggression. The police in this case were likely just following a directive that came from someone far above their pay grade. That does not excuse their behavior but it does shed a little light on a much larger problem that starts with Congress and The Office of The President and filters down to the poor and people of color that are preferred targets in this war on drugs. While the Office of the President no longer calls this a war on drugs, the tactics have not changed where police are urged to aggressively pursue drug crimes through Congress making military weapons and equipment available to local police departments for free or drastically reduced prices and offering grants for police to train for and interdict drug use. More and more our fourth amendment rights are circumvented or ignored while judges rule that the end justifies the means in this war on drugs.

But what about the people caught up in this horrible, hateful and unjust war. The victims like Ramarley Graham, or his Grandmother or his younger brother. Was it just to kill this man just because he liked marijuana. At his age purchasing alcohol would have been just as illegal, but it is very unlikely he would have been shot over a six-pack. Did his grandmother deserve the abuse she received after watching her grandson being killed by police. The saddest part of this story is that it is just not that uncommon. It breaks my heart to think that society supports this kind of treatment of our fellow Americans at the hands of those we trust to serve and protect us, from our local police all the way up to The President, but that is exactly what is happening. Without public outcry in defense of those abused by our justice system, our leaders see silence as approval. When we vote them back into office after supporting this kind of behavior, they think we approve. We are all guilty of what happened to Ramarley Graham and others like him when we don’t rise up in defense of those abused by the justice system. There is no justification for ruining people’s lives and killing them because of marijuana. Call your Mayor, your Congressman and Senator, and call The White House and tell them you want this to stop, unless you approve.

Randy Johnson

http://reason.com/blog/2012/02/06/surveillance-footage-shows-nypd-breaking

http://reason.com/blog/2013/07/24/bronx-council-member-blames-racial-profi

http://reason.com/blog/2013/02/01/ramarley-grahams-family-suing-over-killi

Censorship Sucks At Nascar Brickyard 400 Event

An ad promoting marijuana as a safer alternative to alcohol from the Marijuana Policy Project, was aired outside the Brickyard 400 race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The ad was scheduled to air 72 times but was pulled early because of pressure from the Drug Free America Foundation. It seems ironic to me that with the massive amount of alcohol served at Nascar events and the propensity for alcohol related advertising at Nascar events and alcohol related sponsors of race car teams associated with Nascar and the history of Nascar being associated with alcohol prohibition, that a pro marijuana ad would be deemed unsuitable at a family oriented event.

In an article form NYDailyNews, Calvina Fay stated,“This campaign falsely claims marijuana is safer than alcohol and promotes  illicit drug use in a state where marijuana is illegal,” Calvina Fay, executive  director of Drug Free America Foundation and Save Our Society From Drugs, said  in a statement. “It is irresponsible marketing and I commend Grazie Media for  their swift action towards the removal of this ad,” concluded Fay.

And in rebuttal, Mason Tvert from Marijuana Policy Project, that produced the ad and purchased the air time from Grazie Media replied, 

Tvert told the Daily News that Fay’s claim that marijuana is more harmful  than alcohol “absolutely absurd.”

“We are absolutely baffled by the claim that marijuana is not safer than  alcohol, which accompanied the announcement of the ad being pulled,” Tvert said.  “If Save Our Society From Drugs truly wishes to ‘save our society from drugs,’  why on earth would they want to prevent people from learning that alcohol use is  far more toxic and likely to contribute to violent behavior than marijuana? It  is clear this organization is more concerned about maintaining marijuana  prohibition than it is about maintaining public health and safety. We are sorry  to see Grazie Media abandon its agreement with a client when confronted by such  reefer madness.”

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/pro-pot-nascar-ad-pulled-brickyard-400-article-1.1410215#ixzz2aFnHuhtN

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/pro-pot-nascar-ad-pulled-brickyard-400-article-1.1410215#ixzz2aFm3CuNm

http://reason.com/blog/2013/07/26/marijuana-ad-to-air-at-nascar-races

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/07/26/marijuana-ad-nascar-indianapolis/2591313/

Randy Johnson

White House Drug Policy Is Hipocritical At Best

The Obama administration’s new drug policy is full of hypocrisy. First of all the basic premise is that any one who uses drugs must be ill and fixed by society whether they like it or not. Individual users will be tried in drug courts where mandatory rehabilitation will be the preferred choice of punishment with incarceration as the backup plan. The supply chain will still face the same punishment of paramilitary raids, incarceration and confiscation of property even if they are following state law as is the case for medical marijuana in the 18 states and Washington DC where medical marijuana is legal as well as Colorado and Washington, where marijuana has been legalized for recreational purposes. The will of the voting public is ignored. The White House still steadfastly refuses to consider that marijuana should be treated the same as alcohol and separated from the harder drugs such as cocaine, heroin, meth, and LSD, even though statistics and medical science shows that marijuana is far safer than alcohol or tobacco. Whenever the government discusses the harms from drugs to society, it is always drugs in aggregate or meth or one the harder drugs but never marijuana alone, because they know preaching about how harmful marijuana is to society is unbelievable. Most all of society knows that the reported harm to society from marijuana has been grossly overstated.  Lacking in the view of White House policy is that alcohol is statistically the worst drug in America. Granted tobacco kills more people each year, but alcohol has the added stigma of social destruction in the form of violent crime and traffic fatalities that are not associated with the other drugs to such a great degree. A Department of Justice report on violence related emergency room visits shows that alcohol is the most violence related drug in America by a wide margin where the report states, “Almost all of the alcohol/drug citations on the hospital records reflected alcohol involvement. Drugs were cited on the hospital record in less than 1% of all violence-related injuries treated”.

. Yet marijuana is demonized as a horrible menace to society by keeping it listed as a schedule one drug, on par with heroin, codeine and morphine even though it is not usually associated with addiction. Marijuana users have been stripped of their second amendment rights without trial or representation even though violence is not normally associated with its use. According to a study about traffic fatalities, states that have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes have seen a 9% reduction in traffic fatalities. The study did not confirm the reason for the reduction in fatalities but speculated that it may be caused by people substituting marijuana for alcohol. In contrast, alcohol kills more Americans every year than all illegal drugs combined and the number of people killed by marijuana could easily be counted on one hand. Evidence that would show marijuana to be beneficial as medicine is ignored even though a plethora of evidence showing marijuana to be an effective medicine is currently available and the Federal government owns patents on medical marijuana that detail how marijuana can be an effective treatment for various ailments such as wasting, seizures and cancer. Evidence showing marijuana as a safer libation than alcohol is ignored as if it were non-existent and the harm to society from alcohol is ignored. President Obama even has a brewery in the basement of the White House where he has his own beer brewed. If people were to choose to grow their own marijuana to forego the black market, they risk loosing their home, their children, their money and their freedom. That’s quite a risk for choosing to use a safer drug than the one Obama brews in the White House. Recently the Justice Department caught HSBC in a money laundering scheme with the Mexican and Columbian drug cartels. HSBC had been laundering billions of dollars for the cartels over a 15 year period and were caught red-handed. Instead of confiscating the money and prosecuting the bank executives that were responsible, the Justice Department took 30 billion dollars and let HSBC punish the responsible banking executives by deferring their bonuses for five years. They didn’t lose their bonuses, they were just put in an interest bearing account for five years as their punishment. Nobody went to jail and the justice Department did the same thing that HSBC did, they took money to look the other way. The disparity of justice is staggering where the poor and people of color are disproportionately searched, arrested and incarcerated  than the wealthy and white population. We still have people serving life sentences for possession of marijuana, and people loosing millions of dollars in property and their freedom for sales of marijuana that are legal under state law and President Obama, “an admitted pot head” is brewing a more dangerous drug in the basement of the White House. People are still having their children removed from their custody for simple possession or use of marijuana. Federal law still requires that any businesses with a contract with the government to drug test as a condition of employment and the required test doesn’t even show if the person is impaired, only that they have used recently as a way to punish people who would not otherwise be caught by denying them employment. I believe the federal government is protecting businesses such as the drug testing industry, the drug rehab industry, the prison industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the alcohol industry, the cotton industry, the timber industry, the petrochemical industry and many others from the competition or loss they would incur if free people were allowed to choose a safer alternative to alcohol. We have the largest per capita prison population on earth as a result of this failed war on drugs with special emphasis on marijuana. Our constitutional rights against illegal searches have been circumvented and we are denied the right to pursue freedom and happiness and make decisions about our own health and safety. Hateful, hurtful, hypocrisy and a total disregard for personal freedom is what I see. End the war against Americans who choose a safer drug than alcohol. Come on Barry, was marijuana use a just cause for the government ruining people’s lives when you were Chooming with your friends, riding around totally absorbed, doing roof hits and intercepts? Was it so detrimental to your life that it kept you from reaching your goal of being President and chief hypocrite in the war against marijuana?

Randy Johnson

Whats Wrong With Paramilitary Raids

The war on drugs has led this nation to a point where citizens should have a real fear of encounters with police. All too often innocent people are shot in their own homes in a violent raid at the hands of paramilitary police looking for drugs. All too often these raids are at the wrong address. The police typically enter the home in the wee hours of the morning when people are asleep. When startled awake by police, breaking down your door and yelling, while storming through your house with flash bang grenades, assault weapons and lights, the victims of these invasions are in real danger. For one thing the police are likely scared and are looking for anything that may be perceived as a threat and ready to respond with deadly force to make sure they are not harmed. But people do not always react the way you would expect them to, especially when startled, scared, and half awake. Many people have firearms in their homes for self-defense, others may have a bat or a golf club and we all have the right to defend our homes. But anything in your hand, like a phone, or just having your hands where the police cannot see them is likely to cause them to panic and start shooting. The justification for this type of raid seems to be that the suspect may try to destroy evidence. In my line of thinking, if they have enough evidence for a paramilitary raid on someone’s home, then why are they worried about further evidence? This type of raid puts the whole family at risk. Typically the family dog is shot, the family is herded into one room in their underwear and held at gunpoint while the house is torn apart. Sometimes family members, even children are shot by mistake.  Wouldn’t it be safer to arrest the person at work or in a traffic stop, and then go search their house without the violence of a home invasion that endangers everyone involved. More and more we are treated as though we were the enemy of America instead of citizens. I think it is a pretty heavy hand in fighting a war against people who rarely ever fight back. In fact, I can’t remember a violent protest against marijuana prohibition, ever. The only violence I have seen would be from the crime syndicates who supply the drugs because our government won’t allow a legal source. Most of that violence is infighting between drug gangs that are fighting for turf to protect their market or settle disputes. All the other violence in the war on drugs is directed towards the users at the hand of law enforcement. It’s a very one-sided war, where drug users are not even allowed to own guns or ammunition by Federal Law. A right I might add, that was stripped from them without trial, representation or justification over a decade after the government declared war on them.

Police are almost never held accountable for mistakes in these raids. Accidental shootings are said to be justified if the police say they perceived a threat, even when they get the wrong house. Police have lost respect for our privacy and our rights against illegal searches and the Supreme Court has ruled that dogs may authorize searches. Some people have tried fighting back, by video taping the police’s actions as evidence of abuse, but this often brings wrath from law enforcement. People are arrested and phones or cameras are confiscated even though the Supreme Court has ruled that police can have no expectation of privacy in public law enforcement and video taping of police is legal. Congress seems to support these paramilitary raids by making military equipment and weapons available to local police either free or heavily discounted and offering grants for police departments to train for and conduct these raids. The Cato Institute tracks these raids and even has an interactive map highlighting errors made by law enforcement where innocent people are targeted by these raids and where needless deaths and injuries have occurred.

No Knock Raid preformed by Lindy (caution graphic images)

It all seems to swing on the premise that we as a society must eliminate drug use. Is it really that important to have the illusion of a drug free society that no one actually wants anyway? We all use drugs in one form or another. Anyone who claims otherwise in just not being honest. We use drugs to feel better. Most of the drugs we take are not curative, but only designed to alleviate some symptom and anyone who still believes alcohol is not a drug is delusional. We take drugs as a social catalyst, to relax, to correct sexual dysfunction, for restless legs, depression, pain relief, weight loss, to stay awake and for energy just to name a few reasons. It’s almost impossible to turn on a television without seeing an ad for some drug or a law firm wanting to represent people to sue a drug manufacturer for some unwanted side effect of a drug. Just because people use a drug, doesn’t mean they are sick or criminal, any more than you would consider that for those who use alcohol. We’re just people trying to get through life the best way we know how. What is so horrible about using marijuana that would justify a war against us?

Randy Johnson

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323848804578608040780519904.html?mod=WSJ_hpp_LEFTTopStories

http://reason.com/archives/2013/07/03/commit-any-felonies-lately

http://reason.com/blog/2012/08/27/shot-four-times-by-undercover-deputy-and

http://reason.com/blog/2012/12/17/attorney-leaks-dash-cam-video-of-police

http://reason.com/blog/2012/01/06/one-cop-dead-five-injured-in-would-be-ro

http://www.wmctv.com/story/20568356/mpd-officer

http://motherboard.vice.com/blog/police-militarization-an-interview-with-radley-balko

http://reason.com/blog/2013/03/04/the-dhss-latest-toy-we-have-gunports-so

http://www.courthousenews.com/2013/03/05/55432.htm

http://reason.com/blog/2013/05/16/45-million-settlement-for-family-of-unar

http://www.timesdispatch.com/opinion/our-opinion/columnists-blogs/bart-hinkle/hinkle-commit-any-felonies-lately/article_58344fc1-7d4f-584a-8d16-36a1b1f2cdc0.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/questions-arise-after-a-19-year-old-suspect-is-killed-in-frederick-raid/2013/06/14/de47aa2a-b809-11e2-92f3-f291801936b8_story.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/autopsy-report-gives-details-in-death-of-man-with-down-syndrome-at-md-theater/2013/03/27/43848e64-971a-11e2-b68f-dc5c4b47e519_story.html

http://reason.com/blog/2013/06/14/constitutionally-illiterate-michael-bloo

http://reason.com/blog/2013/07/11/cops-shoot-man-in-bed-shooting-ruled-jus

If Obama Wants To Combat Racism He Should Start With The War On Drugs

The Justice Departments insistence on pursuing an investigation into George Zimmerman on the basis of a racial hate crime is misguided. The jurors who struggled with the verdict about the guilt of Mr. Zimmerman claimed they did not believe race was an issue in the actions of George Zimmerman and the double jeopardy clause in the fifth amendment of our Constitution should allow their verdict to stand. If the Justice Department wants to combat racial intolerance, they should start with the war on drugs, where people of color and the poor are far more likely to be searched, arrested and incarcerated than whites or wealthy Americans.

http://reason.com/blog/2013/07/15/obama-wants-you-to-respect-the-Zimmerman

http://reason.com/archives/2013/07/17/4-reasons-to-reject-federal-charges-agai

http://reason.com/blog/2013/07/18/judge-napolitano-on-double-jeopardy

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/15/us/justice-department-to-restart-hate-crime-investigation-in-trayvon-martins-death.html?ref=us&_r=0

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/16/george-zimmerman-juror-b37_n_3608057.html?ref=topbar

http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/16/justice/tale-of-two-trials/index.html

http://www.aclu.org/billions-dollars-wasted-racially-biased-arrests

http://reason.com/blog/2013/07/12/dc-cops-criticised-for-black-ew

Randy Johnson

NSA Surveillace Is Unacceptable

There are a large number of our elected officials in Congress and The President who believe that they are justified in maintaining the surveillance of our electronic communications and internet searches along with our banking records and medical records. Their justification seems to swing on the premise that they are protecting us from terrorist threats. My question is what is going to protect us from them?

A majority of them seem to believe that continuing the blatantly racist and useless war against marijuana is a good idea. I’m not saying that marijuana should not be regulated, but the Federal Government has a long history of favoring rich industry in its actions and that is what I believe is the primary motivation for continuing their failed marijuana policy. I want the Federal Government out of the business of ruining people’s lives over marijuana. Let states decide how marijuana should be regulated.

There is sufficient evidence now showing that marijuana is far safer than alcohol or tobacco and it has a very promising place in future medicine, yet those we have elected to lead us regularly ignore and suppress any evidence showing marijuana to be beneficial to society. Their action only serves to protect industries that would be negatively effected by legal marijuana and hemp. Most Americans would benefit from a well-regulated marijuana and hemp market when considering how useful the marijuana plant can be. Hemp for instance is one of the best plants to make biofuel and petrochemical products and is carbon neutral. It can also be made into building products such as beams and sheathing to replace lumber and is a fine source of fiber for paper. It can also be made into clothing and hemp seeds have all the essential oils and nutrients for human health and have been used for human and animal food for thousands of years. The medicinal uses of marijuana alone should be enough of a reason to change the restrictions on marijuana use in the Controlled Substances Act, but Congress and the President seem bent on protecting the pharmaceutical industry and others. States that have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes have seen a 9% reduction in traffic fatalities, likely due to people substituting marijuana for alcohol. If marijuana was available for recreational use those traffic fatality reduction statistics would likely be even more dramatic.

Even if all this were not true, allowing adults to celebrate with a libation different from alcohol should not be illegal as long as it caused no more harm to society than alcohol. Alcohol causes far more harm to society than all illegal drugs combined and the harm from marijuana is a miniscule part of that harm to society. When the overwhelming racial bias in the prosecution of the war on drugs is factored in, I believe our freedom is in serious jeopardy. Until our government has a long history of protecting our freedom, instead of selling us out for profit, I for one want the surveillance stopped.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/politics/prism-collection-documents/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/house-committee-holds-hearing-on-nsa-surveillance-programs/2013/07/17/ffc3056c-eee3-11e2-9008-61e94a7ea20d_story.html

http://www.aclu.org/billions-dollars-wasted-racially-biased-arrests

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/16/marijuana-legalization-kids-parents/2519339/

http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/Other/ALC_INT.HTM

http://reason.com/blog/2013/02/08/a-group-of-drug-war-profiteers-are-askin

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6630507.PN.&OS=PN/6630507&RS=PN/6630507

http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/VRITHED.PDF

http://www.jackherer.com/

http://www.ccguide.org/young88.php

http://ftp.iza.org/dp6112.pdf

Randy Johnson

Racial Intolerance Is Alive And Well

Reading news of the demonstrations concerning the Zimmerman trial verdict, I was reminded of the return trip from our youngest son’s graduation and winging ceremony from helicopter training school at Whiting Field NAS near Pensacola, Fl. We were driving across Louisiana on Interstate 20 late in the evening and needed a break. I spotted a sign directing us to a nearby McDonald’s. After following signs about 8 miles north of the interstate, we finally found the restaurant, parked and went inside. I noticed we were the only white people there but didn’t give it much thought until several people who came in after us were waited on. After a few minutes I heard the manager say, “somebody better wait on the white folks”. I am somewhat hearing impaired but I still heard the words cracker, honky and Oreo whispered several times. We got our food and left and I remember thinking I could stop and get some spray paint and return to the sign on Interstate 20 and write “blacks only” on the McDonald’s sign but I quickly dismissed that idea and it was soon forgotten.

The demonstrations and vandalism about the Zimmerman trial verdict are somewhat similar to the riots following the trial of the police who beat Rodney King and were acquitted. King eventually sued and received a large monetary award in a civil trial but the riots did nothing to dispel racial intolerance, if anything it only made matters worse and punished people who had nothing to do with the verdict such as the truck driver, Reginald Denny who had his head bashed in with a concrete block by Damian Williams, who also attacked Fidel Lopez with a car stereo. In all 53 people were killed and 2000 were injured in the riots. What do you think their opinion of black people is, as a result of their encounter with that mob? I know juries don’t always come to the right conclusion in trials but I have to think it is better than a lynch mob where uninformed public opinion is the deciding factor. Now Eric Holder is looking into the Justice Department filing charges against Zimmerman, in what I believe is the Obama administration trying to win black votes at Zimmerman’s expense. Our Constitution says that no one can be put in jeopardy of life and limb for the same crime twice, but often our justice system just comes up with another law governing the same action and tries people again to make sure no one goes unpunished. Zimmerman may still face a civil wrongful death suit in Florida, but I really didn’t see this trial as a racial issue. The only racial comments I read about in the news, were from Trayvon Martin, when he referred to Zimmerman as a “weird ass cracker”. This is a tragic event that unfolded as a series of terrible misunderstandings and mistakes on both parts. Zimmerman is guilty of a strong prejudice against criminals and that is likely what led him to volunteer as a neighborhood watchman. Whether he over stepped his authority in that role and whether his actions were justified as self-defense, is what the jury had to decide, but I didn’t hear of any testimony that would indicate his actions were racially motivated. Had the two met in a verbal confrontation, instead of a fight, they might have avoided this tragic event and Trayvon might still be alive, but that is not what happened. Regardless of the outcome of the trial, if you believe in God, you must believe that no one escapes judgment. Trayvon Martin was created in the image of God just like the rest of us, and God will be the one who decides if justice has been met. George Zimmerman will either stand forgiven with Jesus as his advocate or stand accused and face judgment. But today Zimmerman’s troubles are far from over. Both George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin’s family could use our prayers as they try to live beyond this tragic event. The bible says that if we do not forgive, we cannot be forgiven.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodney_King_riots

Randy Johnson

We Have Rights Our Government Refuses To Honor And Obligations We Have Neglected

Recently I have noticed that a large percentage of people I have talked to, did not know who Edward Snowden is. Most would add that news is depressing and they try to avoid it. Even my wife has told me the same thing. She avoids news because it is depressing. But we all suffer from information overload. In our society, we are constantly bombarded with new and often unimportant information mixed with information that we need, so it is not in our best interest to ignore it. We take it all in and filter what we believe is relevant or important and ignore the rest. We also live in a society where communication is almost as easy as looking at a watch and entertainment is as close as our phone. We can play interactive games, text, watch movies and surf the internet virtually anywhere, yet we have become disconnected from the things I believe are most important. Keeping watch over those we elected to lead us and protect our freedom.

Those we elected to represent us in government have failed to protect our rights and to uphold their oath of office. They refuse to acknowledge our second amendment as a right and treat it more as a privilege that can be legislated away incrementally, locally as well as at the federal level. All Constitutional rights and natural rights should be the same in any state or territory in our union. It is the job of Congress, the President and the Supreme Court to uphold the Constitution of The United States of America as the supreme law of the land and protect our freedom, yet those in office are constantly looking for ways to circumvent the Constitution. Greed and corruption are rampant and it has become business as usual for Congress to pass laws favoring one business over another to create wealth and reward campaign contributions. A revolving door system of bureaucrat’s go back and forth from the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve, the same can be said for companies like Monsanto and Cargill and the Department of Agriculture and the FDA and the pharmaceutical companies. Lobbyists from the richest and most powerful industries meet in private with members of Congress and the President and form federal policy and law without the voice of the people. If and when our rights, get in the way of this profit machine, government lawyers look for ways around the Constitution and our freedom suffers. Our fourth amendment rights against unlawful searches has also been attacked. Our elected leaders have allowed and likely encouraged the NSA, FBI, DHS, CIA and who knows what other government agency to view and record all of our phone, text, email, banking records and now the IRS will have access to all of our medical records. Even the Supreme Court which is supposed to be the last line of defense against unconstitutional laws passed by legislature, unanimously decided that dogs can authorize searches.

We have failed as well, in our obligations as citizens of society and to our government. We must work if we can and support our government by paying taxes, obey the laws and be willing to serve as jurors in the judicial process. We also are obligated to watch over those we elect to lead us and hold them accountable when they fail to uphold the Constitution. We are also obligated to come to our country’s defense if needed in time of war or any other national calamity. Regardless of whether we agree with one another, we have to live in this country together and find a way to get along. Yet we continue to push our elected officials to pass laws to keep us safe or to keep us from being offended. That leads them to pass laws that restrict freedom in almost all cases. Free people are no longer allowed to act on their freedom for fear of offending someone or getting sued. Communities are passing laws preventing all kinds of things such as smoking, gardening, clothes lines and lemonade stands. Our children were put on a diet by Federal mandate and one child was expelled from school for chewing a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun. Reason and common sense have given way to panic and hysteria where knee jerk reactions from our leaders further our loss of freedom. Discipline among our children has been lost and the judicial system has become the backup plan and we have the largest per capita prison population of any nation on earth. What happened to the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave”?

Randy Johnson

Is Congress Above The Law

The war against marijuana is more about what is good and beneficial to people and society about marijuana and protecting existing industries from competition than the health risks or damage to society from its use.
Consider hemp, which is one of the best feed stocks for biofuel or ethanol production. We could grow enough hemp to rival our petroleum production and it is carbon neutral. Hemp can also be used to make fabric for clothing and does not require the vast amount of chemicals used in cotton production. Over 50% of all agricultural chemicals, such as herbicides, pesticides and fertilizer are used in cotton production. Hemp can also be made into sulfur free charcoal to be used to fire coal-fired power plants, and again it is carbon neutral. It can be made into building materials such as sheathing to replace plywood and beams to replace lumber, saving our forests that actually capture carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Henry Ford once made a car from hemp based plastic that was said to be stronger than steel when struck with a hammer and it ran on biofuel made from hemp. Hemp seeds contain all of the essential oils and nutrients that are necessary for human health and have been used as food for people and livestock for thousands of years. Hemp was so vital to the development of our nation that up until a hundred years ago we had laws mandating that farmers grow hemp and it was even legal tender for a time in our nations history.
As far as smoked marijuana or marijuana edibles, marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. It has been found to be effective in treating pain, spasms associated with multiple sclerosis, wasting, post traumatic stress, cancer and more, yet our government steadfastly ignores all of this evidence, even though they hold a patent on marijuana that describes in detail how marijuana is efficacious in treating cancer. Could they be protecting the pharmaceutical industry? States that have legalized marijuana for medicinal use, have seen a 9% reduction in traffic fatalities. The study did not determine the reason for this drop in traffic fatalities but speculated that it may be because people may have been substituting marijuana for alcohol. If that turns out to be the case, recreational marijuana may have an even greater effect on reducing traffic fatalities. Marijuana is far safer for individuals and society, than alcohol or tobacco from a health viewpoint and does not have the strong association with violence that alcohol has.
Based on what is currently known about marijuana, the arguments our government uses to support marijuana prohibition are baseless and just plain wrong. The only thing that makes any sense to me is that our government is protecting certain businesses from competition or loss from legal marijuana and hemp. But then again, why would you expect anything else from the corrupt government we have that believes they are above the law, the Constitution and the will of the people?
http://www.jackherer.com/
http://www.ccguide.org/young88.php
http://ftp.iza.org/dp6112.pdf
https://itsmycountrytoo.org/laws-built-on-lies/
http://reason.com/blog/2013/02/08/a-group-of-drug-war-profiteers-are-askin
http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=6630507.PN.&OS=PN/6630507&RS=PN/6630507
http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/VRITHED.PDF
Randy Johnson

Marijuana Is Not For Children Or Maybe It Is

Recently there were several stories in the news of children ingesting edible marijuana products, some requiring medical treatment. The articles generally called this poisoning, yet the treatment indicated the patients were watched and after several hours of rest, they were released and were fine with no further complications. Poisoning is a pretty strong term for marijuana ingestion as it would likely be impossible to produce a life threatening condition by ingesting marijuana. DEA Administrative Law Judge, Francis Young, once declared after hearing extensive testimony from doctors and patients on the efficacy of marijuana as medicine that;

15. In strict medical terms marijuana is far safer than many foods we commonly consume. For example, eating ten raw potatoes can result in a toxic response. By comparison, it is physically impossible to eat enough marijuana to induce death.

16. Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care.” http://www.ccguide.org/young88.php

While marijuana may not harm a child by an incidental or accidental ingestion, its effect on the developing brain is not well understood and children should not have access to marijuana. Just like parents should not allow children to consume alcohol and tobacco, the use of marijuana needs to be restricted to adults. Children lack the maturity and experience to deal with intoxicating substances and the health risks to children’s developing brains is just too great a risk. Parents or grandparents that use marijuana, with children in the home should be cognizant that edible marijuana products are a strong temptation for children and their access should be restricted. You wouldn’t want your child raiding your liquor cabinet or smoking your cigarettes and the same precautions should apply to your marijuana as well.

http://healthyliving.msn.com/pregnancy-parenting/kids-health/kids-poisoned-by-medical-marijuana-study-finds-1

Often marijuana prohibition advocates use the argument that marijuana needs to remain illegal to protect the children. An article by William Cooke from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, titled ” Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Children – an argument for drug legalization”, highlights the errors in that argument. Among his observations are that marijuana use among children is actually lower in Holland where people can use marijuana without being arrested, because the people selling the marijuana are legitimate business people who want to preserve their business and therefore will not break the law and sell to minors. While there will always be people who will help minors gain access to marijuana just like people give alcohol and cigarettes to children. Children as a general rule cannot purchase alcohol or tobacco from the store. Legal outlets have a strong incentive to check ages of young customers to protect their business. The article also discusses the racial beginnings of anti-marijuana laws and the racial bias in todays enforcement where an inordinate number of Black and Latino families are torn apart by racial profiling and incarceration in the war on drugs. Also the article discusses the fact that most drug related violence and gangs that harm children would go away if drugs were legalized. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is a fine organization of law enforcement officers, judges and others in the criminal justice system that advocate for an end to the failed war on drugs. This article at http://www.leap.cc/ is an excellent read. http://copssaylegalize.blogspot.com/2009/12/wont-somebody-please-think-of-children.html
Update:
As a desperate attempt to save their child who was experiencing epileptic seizures, sometimes up to 250 a day where he would stop breathing until the seizure was over, these parents decided to try medical marijuana to help their child. They had tried 17 different medications and treatments that didn’t work and one doctor recommended medical marijuana. A group of brothers who own a medical marijuana store in Colorado have been growing a special strain of marijuana that is very low in THC especially for him and he has been seizure free now for 9 months. These conservative, Christian parents believe marijuana has saved their child’s life.
http://www.nbcnews.com/health/medical-marijuana-can-help-sick-kids-some-worry-about-risks-6C10506407

Happy Independence Day

July 4th marks the birth of our nation. Brave men risked their lives, their fortunes and the lives of their families in an act of treason by sending our Declaration of Independence to King George III and declaring that they would no longer tolerate the acts of tyranny perpetuated by royal dictate from a king that did not recognize their rights. It listed several basic human rights that had been violated and declared that some of our rights were ordained by God and therefore could not be taken away by men. They declared that all men are created equal and that when governments become hostile to basic human rights, and after long suffrage, men have the right and obligation to throw off those bonds and form their own government and that those who govern do so by the consent of the governed. Their actions set the stage for what would become the greatest nation on earth, an economic and military superpower and a beacon for freedom and democracy. We have every right to be proud of America and all that it stands for.

It is worth noting though, that not all Americans share the same reverence for this holiday celebrating our freedom, because not all of them received their freedom as a result of the birth of our nation. The American Indians certainly have no reason to celebrate the birth of a nation that destroyed their way of life and stole the land that had been passed down to them through countless generations. The blacks in this country generally celebrate their independence on Emancipation Proclamation Day, when slavery was abolished. Even then they had to wait and suffer before they were allowed to vote and faced decades of persecution and discrimination because of racial prejudice and hatred. Women’s right to vote came years later. Although our Declaration of Independence says that all men are created equal, it has taken us 237 years to get to where we are today and still people are struggling for equal treatment and freedom under the law.

The Edward Snowden affair highlights what the founders of our nation were fighting, a government that has lost its way and become openly hostile to the rights of its citizens. In direct violation of our 4th amendment rights of privacy and guarantees against illegal searches, our government has decided it is ok to spy on us and believes we have no right to even know about it, much less question their motives or ask how they justify such actions. Congress swore an oath to support and defend our Constitution, yet they have become openly hostile to protecting our rights and the rule of law that they are obligated to uphold. Another battle in the assault on our 4th amendment rights is the war against marijuana where now the Supreme court says that dogs may authorize searches and paramilitary raids on homes and helicopter and drone surveillance have become all too common, just for choosing a drug that is not alcohol. A drug that is safer for the individual and society than alcohol, yet those who use marijuana are still treated as enemies of the United States. They are persecuted and prosecuted at every opportunity and people of color are still arrested and incarcerated at a grossly disproportionate rate.

We are still one of the most free nations on earth but we seem to be going in the wrong direction and loosing freedom to a government bent on gaining knowledge of all parts of our lives and control of all of our actions. More and more we are being treated as though we are the enemy, yet we are The United States of America, and those that govern us are supposed to represent us and govern by our consent. I just hope it is not too late to preserve our nation and the freedom that so many of our brave men and women have fought for. We still have a long way to go before we are all free. Lets keep our eyes on the prize.
http://reason.com/archives/2013/07/03/the-surveillance-state-isnt-coming-its-h
http://reason.com/archives/2013/07/03/stossel-shrugged

I hope you all have a happy Independence Day.
Randy Johnson