Priorities

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Chris Strohm at The New Republic considers whether, before 9/11, the government was more concerned with killing folks like Peter McWilliams than Osama bin Laden.

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  1. Just what the hell are YOU smoking Julian?

    First, Strohm’s article mentions McWilliams exactly ZERO times.

    Second, McWilliams was died from AIDs contracted through a promiscuious homosexual lifestyle.

    Do you REALLY beleive he would still be alive today, if we had allowed him his wacky-weed?

  2. McWilliams died precisely because he wasn’t allowed to smoke marijuana. He used the drug to control his nausea which caused him to vomit uncontrollably. When his medicine was denied to him, he predictably vomited uncontrollably and choked to death on the vomit.

    If the government denied a life-long heavy drinker access to medicine required to fix his damaged liver, would you be blaming the drinker if he died?

    And tell me, Vigilance, how, exactly, do you know that McWilliams was promiscuous? (Not that the way he was infected matters in the least, I’m just curious.)

  3. Thanks to Bush, enemies of the US have now learned the US is capable of fighting only one-front wars.
    Extrapolating, Bush can only fight a third of a crusade at a time, therefore he’s gonna be forced to choose:
    Crusade against Islam or certain drugs?
    I know those poppies in Afghanistan are a rock in Bush’s boot.

  4. ” considers whether before 9/11, the government was more concerned with killing folks
    like than Osama bin Laden.”

    No need to wonder. We know. When zealots rule.

  5. ” considers whether before 9/11, the government was more concerned with killing folks
    like Peter McWilliams than Osama bin Laden.”

    No need to wonder. We know. When zealots rule.

  6. I’ve thought about your question Les and you’re right. The guy is dead, and i should not speak ill of someone i never knew and never will. The fact remains, he was gay and AIDs killed him. Perhaps he would have lived longer if the prison had given him his medicines properly, perhaps not.

    But to say he was killed by the “war on drugs” or to imply that he would still be alive today had he been given “medical marijuana”, requires a leap of logic that none of us would tolerate from the moonbats on the left.

    PS: Ruthless, one front war? Dont forget the war against women and gays…

  7. Les said: “He used the drug to control his nausea which caused him to vomit uncontrollably. When his medicine was denied to him, he predictably vomited uncontrollably and choked to death on the vomit.”

    VM said: “But to say he was killed by the “war on drugs” or to imply that he would still be alive today had he been given “medical marijuana”, requires a leap of logic that none of us would tolerate from the moonbats on the left.”

    How is that some gigantic leap of logic to suggest he was killed by the war on drugs? Assuming Les has his facts correct, he was denied a medicine with well-established anti-nausea properties and he died of uncontrollable vomiting. He was denied this medicine because it’s the biggest target of the war on drugs. It wasn’t the only factor in his death (AIDS, his other treatment regime that caused the nausea, etc.), but it was sure as hell an important one. He had a usually-fatal disease so who knows if he would still be alive now; but since he was denied medicine capable of preventing the phenomenon that directly lead to his death, it seems fair to say he would have lived longer than he did.

    Do you dispute any of Les’ details about his death? Do you doubt the medicinal properties of marijuana? Where is the lack of causation here?

  8. Vigilance, I appreciate your second thoughts.

    But I do think it’s possible to say that the war on some drugs killed him AND not know if he’d be alive today. If a cancer patient is denied chemo and dies from cancer, you can accurately say that the denial of chemo killed the patient while saying that it’s not possible to know if the patient would still be alive several years later. In either case, we know that what killed the patient was a lack of medicine. Those who deny medicine to patients who die from that lack of medicine, regardless of the severity of their illness, should face manslaughter charges, at the very least.

  9. I’m not going to dig up all the old research, but my understanding is that it was his anti-aids drugs (or his chemo regimen) that caused the uncontollable nausea — not the sickness of AIDs or cancer itself.

    Couldn’t we just as easily blame the makers of those drugs for not making them easily ingestible? Or can we blame Pepto-bismol for not making an extra-strength version capable of dealing with this common problem?

    No, McWilliams himself made a scapegoat of the war on drugs, not the other way around. A tragedy for sure, but just because some of us enjoy a lefty on occasion (ahem) or oppose the drug war, doesn’t make the murderous rhetoric used here any more accurate.

  10. Vigilance Matters,
    Worst may be wars that can be fought on the cheap.

    I see your war on women and gays, and fold.

    Raising is inappropriate.

    Love.

  11. VM-

    OK, so McWilliams had uncontrollable nausea as a side effect of his AIDS medications, not because of the underlying disease. Fine. Now, you want to argue that there’s no reason to blame his death on the people who withheld medication for the side effect, when it could just as easily be blamed on the medication that caused the side effect. Well, consider this situation:

    Suppose that somebody suffered hemmoraging or infection or some other side effect after a surgery. Such things are known to happen, and if untreated they can be fatal. Now, suppose that the surgeon wants to treat the life-threatening side effects, but a man with a gun stands in the way of the surgeon and refuses to let the surgeon do his job. As a result the patient dies. Would we blame the death on (a) the original condition that prompted the surgergy, (b) side effects from the surgery or (c) the man with the gun who wouldn’t let the surgeon do his job?

    By the same token, McWilliams suffered life-threatening side effects from his AIDS medication. Do we blame his death on (a) AIDS, (b) side effects from his AIDS treatment, or (c) the government thugs who denied him treatment for the side effects?

    My answer would be (c) the gov’t.

  12. How is that some gigantic leap of logic to suggest he was killed by the war on drugs?

    Here’s a hypothetical situation illustrating why that’s not a valid claim to make.

    Lets say that Fred catches a nasty disease which destroys his liver and kidneys. The only way he has a good chance of living is if he receives Bob’s liver and kidneys. He decides to kill Bob and harvest the organs. The government catches him, stops him from killing Bob, and jails him, after which he dies.

    Who killed Fred — the disease, or the government? I think any rational person would say “the disease”, even though it is an indisputable fact that the government stopped Fred from doing what he needed to do to live.

    Now, I know what you’re thinking — you’re thinking “but murder is morally wrong and pot-smoking isn’t”. That’s true, but it’s not relevant here. We’re not arguing about whether or not the government was behaving in a moral manner in the “pot” and “organs” scenarios; we’re arguing about whether or not they KILLED the people involved, and that’s a question which exists independent of the moral reasoning behind the government’s actions.

    Anyway, something I thought was interesting about this article was that Ashcroft actually requested less anti-drug money, and more anti-terrorism money, than the Clinton Justice Department had. That fact runs counter to the typical public images of the pre-9/11 Bush and Clinton administrations.

  13. Would we blame the death on (a) the original condition that prompted the surgergy, (b) side effects from the surgery or (c) the man with the gun who wouldn’t let the surgeon do his job?

    There’s a difference between killing someone and merely being responsible for their death, thoreau. Julian said the government was focused on “killing folks like Peter McWilliams”, not that the government was “responsible for the death of folks like Peter McWilliams”. The man with the gun, in your example, is certainly at least partly to blame for the death, but he didn’t kill anyone.

    As a parallel — because the United States pulled out of Vietnam, millions of innocent people died in Southeast Asia and tens of millions were enslaved by totalitarian governments. Now, I blame this on (among others) the people who pushed for an American withdrawl. In addition, while those people were agitating for American withdrawl, they were NOT engaging in productive activities like, for example, agitating for civil rights. This would not make it right for me to say “anti-war activists were more concerned with killing Asians than they were with helping American blacks”.

    Similarly, it is inarguable that some people die each year because of lack of government-funded medical care. You can, fairly, blame opponents of state medical care for this (and I’m one of them, and I accept that blame). But if you say “opponents of socialized medicine are more interested in killing poor people than they are in helping the sick”, I would rightly classify you as a member of the Tinfoil Hat Brigade.

  14. Peter McWilliams was a personal friend of mine.

    His use of marijuana resulted in two very measurable and consistent results.

    First, his T-count was kept in line where other combinations of heavy duty pharmacueticals were ineffective.

    Second, it consistently allowed him to keep his regimen of pharmacueticals down for sufficient time to receive their benefit.

    Once he was convicted, Judge King only allowed him to remain under house arrest if he was willing to submit to 2 drug tests weekly. As collateral for his bail, King demanded and received full title to the home of Peter’s mother in Michigan – a paid mortgage worth over a quarter million dollars. Had Peter failed a UA and had his house arrest revoked, his mother would have lost her home immediately.

    Peter was but one of many Americans targeted by the federal drug warriors.

    He did not begin openly using marijuana until California made it legal in 1996. He and Todd McCormick were early targets of federal agents who have been conducting an eight year campaign to quash any successful attempt at providing medical marijuana to patients in California on any kind of large scale basis. As I’ve noted in other threads here, the feds specifically target hospices and caregivers who have been successful at creating consistent patient databases. The agents to date have seized countless patient records and to date have failed to return any of them.

    Would Peter be alive today if not for the federal drug warriors? There’s no way to know, but I speak with grim confidence that his death was prematurely hastened by the actions of the federal drug warrior jihad against Americans who use marijuana in preference to heavy duty, addictive narcotics sold by the ‘legal’ drug companies.

  15. Can we at least agree that the government it “responsible” for a death that wouldn’t have occurred had the government allowed the man to have his medicine?

    In your “man with a gun in the operation room” scenario, even though he didn’t “kill” (according to Webster’s Dictionary) the patient, he would certainly be held legally responsible and, I think, morally responsible, as well.

    What about this? If a parent doesn’t feed his or her baby and the baby dies of starvation, did the parent “kill” that baby? Or did the parent merely cause the death? Isn’t the parent held responsible? Don’t we, as a society, expect that people who are “merely responsible” for the deaths of others pay a price?

  16. Steve we posted simultaneously, but I think yours makes mine moot. Wrestling with semantics is a lot easier for some than admitting that their government is often totalitarian.

  17. Dan said: ?Now, I know what you’re thinking — you’re thinking “but murder is morally wrong and pot-smoking isn’t”. That’s true, but it’s not relevant here.?

    Of course it?s relevant. The gov?t prevented from using a medicine that could give great benefit to him and would cause absolutely no meaningful harm to anyone else. That?s murder by any reasonable moral, legal, or logical standard. As Les pointed out, saying he wasn?t killed by the gov?t because DEA agents didn?t actively come over to his house, put a gun to his head, and pull the trigger is a silly semantic argument that trivializes the gov?ts culpability.

    ?As a parallel — because the United States pulled out of Vietnam, millions of innocent people died in Southeast Asia and tens of millions were enslaved by totalitarian governments?.?

    One key difference between your Vietman and health-care examples and the marijuana example is that in your examples, to prevent the death or enslavement of Vietnamese or the deaths of people without medical care, someone would have had to actively intervene to help them. All the gov?t had to do in the case of Peter McWilliams was leave him the hell alone. Instead, they actively intervened to prevent him from using a therapeutic drug. There?s a big difference between not doing anything to help and actively doing harm.

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