Death of a Crusader 

Death of a Crusader 
Posted by FoM on June 24, 2000 at 11:50:13 PT
Spotlight On Peter McWilliams
Source: The Freedom Network
It's perhaps unkind, but not unfair, to suggest that federal drug warriors killed Peter McWilliams, the bestselling libertarian author and medical marijuana crusader who died while awaiting sentencing on federal drug charges. Oh sure, jump-suited prohibitionists never shot McWilliams, beat him during a raid, or torched his home -- in fact they were careful to avoid overt brutality. While the federal government is hardly averse to littering the landscape with the occasional corpse, Peter McWilliams was too media-savvy and well-connected to a popular cause to be safely disposed of in ad-hoc fashion, a la Donald Scott, Waco and Ruby Ridge. 
Instead, federal officials wore McWilliams down. They ground away his finances, health and personal energy until there was nothing left. When the federal government's assault on McWilliams began in 1997, he was a healthy (if HIV-positive), well-known writer and prosperous businessman. At the time of his death two and a half years later, as he awaited sentencing, he was bankrupt and bed-ridden. Government drug warriors can take full credit for that transformation. As McWilliams described the scene in an article for Liberty: "On December 17, 1997, I was working in my living room-office on my computer next to a fire ... A hard pounding on the door accompanied by shouts of 'Police! Open up!' broke the silence, broke my reverie, and nearly broke down the door." raids took place at his new home nearby, and the offices of his publishing company -- the sort of treatment usually reserved for major criminal kingpins, not popular writers garbed in bathrobes. Whatever could have put the feds in such a tizzy? Ostensibly, the reason for the raid was a book advance McWilliams' publishing house paid to fellow writer and marijuana activist, Todd McCormick. McCormick used this money, apparently with McWilliams' knowledge, to grow a crop for research purposes and, it's said, to provide a ready supply of marijuana to cannabis clubs. With Prop. 215, California voters had legalized the use of medical marijuana, but no provision had been made for reliable supply. Of course, McWilliams was a high-profile critic of the war on drugs, and a prominent advocate for medical marijuana. His book, "Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do," had been a bestseller, and had openly mocked the war against some drugs in general, and the prohibition of marijuana in particular. McWilliams in handcuffs guaranteed a few headlines and a shot across the bow to other pot supporters -- a public relations victory for drug warriors who like their relations based on fear. But a date with the law is no one-night stand. As Peter McWilliams soon discovered, drug cops play for keeps. As McWilliams reported in Liberty, in the initial raid, police "took the computer, backup copies of my computer files, and most of my research materials on medical marijuana." They also advised his Prelude Press employees to look for employment elsewhere, since "the government will own this place in six months." This not only short-circuited the book he was working on, but destroyed his entire publishing operation. In court, McWilliams was forbidden to mention his AIDS and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, or that Californians had voted to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. This effectively precluded him from advising the jury as to the reasons for his involvement with marijuana, and from even mentioning that California and federal law were at loggerheads on this issue. McWilliams' personal need for marijuana might well have proven persuasive to a jury drawn from the same population that had passed Prop. 215 not so very long before. As the Marijuana Policy Project mentions in a briefing paper, in AIDS cases, " Marijuana can reduce the nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite caused by the ailment itself and by treatment with AZT and other drugs." In cancer cases, "[m]arijuana can stimulate the appetite and alleviate nausea and vomiting, which are common side effects of chemotherapy treatment." researchers seem to concur: The Medical Journal of Australia published a study comparing marijuana with two legal alternatives and finding that "THC was found to be a significantly better antinausea and antivomiting agent. ... In some patients, THC enhanced appetite during a course of chemotherapy." 1991, the Journal of Clinical Oncology ran the results of a survey of members of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The survey found that "more than 44 percent of the respondents report recommending the (illegal) use of marijuana for the control of emesis to at least one cancer chemotherapy patient." In 1995, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a much-publicized editorial calling for reconsideration of marijuana's illegal status. the federal judge had little time for either necessity defenses or California law. Barred from making his case, McWilliams pleaded guilty and threw himself on the mercy of the court. This is where we get to the bit about how the feds killed McWilliams. In the clutches of the federal criminal "justice" system, McWilliams lost control not only of his fate, but also of his own body chemistry. A condition of his bail, guaranteed by the deeds to the homes of his mother and brother, was that he not smoke marijuana -- and submit to regular drug tests. Without marijuana, nausea made it difficult to hold down antiviral AIDS medication, and his health began to deteriorate. McWilliams appeared in court in a wheelchair, lost weight and spent long hours in bed. Still, even as he awaited sentencing for his "crime" and his finances deteriorated, he worked on a manuscript detailing his ordeal. Just before he died, a fire at his home destroyed the computer on which McWilliams had been writing his manuscript. That fire may have burned away the last of the crusader's energy. On June 14, he was found dead in his bathroom, having apparently choked on his own vomit. Peter McWilliams was a victim of the nausea that he'd once taken marijuana to control. In larger terms, though, he was killed by the people who forbade him to use that marijuana, and who persecuted him for trying to ensure that the medicine would be available not just to himself (that could have been done quietly) but to the public at large. Ironically, just five days before he died, McWilliams was profiled on ABC's 20/20 by a very sympathetic John Stossel. The segment didn't just highlight the tribulations of one man; it also pointed out the cruel foolishness of the drug warriors and did so in a popular public forum. Peter McWilliams On 20/20 With John Stossel the end of his life, his finances and strength depleted, Peter McWilliams still managed to make a final statement for freedom. He'll be missed. Spotlight On Peter McWilliams Posted: June 23, 2000The Freedom Network is a service of The Henry Hazlitt Foundation.Related Articles:MapInc. Articles On Peter McWilliams Drug War Victim McWilliams, R.I.P. in California from Peter McWilliams
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Comment #5 posted by SWAMPIE on November 15, 2002 at 03:24:19 PT:
A Highschool Students Point Of View....
  Alicia,Welcome to the"real world"!You,and others like you CAN make a difference! You do not need to use cannabis to understand that it is a common medicine for some who have medical problems,and it takes more young people like you you to tell the prohibitionists that we are only trying to be good people too,and as a cannabis user for over 30 years with a 26 year old son who is also a good person,I would possibly die if my meds were taken away from me too.I know that you have been brought up by"RESPONSIBLE"parents,and this is an issue that is probably THE most important issue of the drug war.Too many parents have not taken the time to really work and talk with their kids,and that is why we have all of these young people experimenting with chemicals that have nothing to do with cannabis.When my son was 15,he asked me about drugs,and we talked about it,and then I went to the store and bought a 6-pack,a pack of Camels,a pint of Southern Comfort,and a joint from a friend.We sat down at a rock and he had one beer,wouldn't touch the liquor,smoked one cigarette,and a few hits of the joint.He didn't care for any of it,and to this day,he only takes the occasional toke from a joint.He has never asked for it,and he is working hard to live a normal life in this crazed world. I am proud of him.So,if you have the ability to make a difference in others'lives as you grow older,I sincerely hope that you do what needs to be done and get as much education as you can,and don't fall for the myths that have been told to you.Good luck in your research,and please be sure to keep away from hard drugs.A little cannabis now and then won't kill you like they tell you in school,but the others can,and I have seen it up close and personal.Good luck on your project,and stay well and happy! SWAMPIE P.S.If you have anymore questions,please ask.Your questions will be answered.Take care,and look up Rainbow Farm on the search to get more info about how the drug war has changed so many peoples' lives.There is a wealth of info here.GODSPEED!!!!K
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Comment #4 posted by Alicia on November 14, 2002 at 14:11:14 PT:
a highschool students point of veiw
While doing research for a term paper on medical 
marijuana I came across Peters story. I think that this is 
an outrage that they let a poor innocent man die. I think 
their (the governments) tactics were unfair and wrong. I 
don't think that their is anything wrong with using 
marijuana for medical purposes and I think that it 
should be legalized. Hopefully, thanks to Peters efforts, 
this will be realized and people who need it to survive 
will be able to without the fear they will lose everything 
especially their life. 
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on June 25, 2000 at 13:12:06 PT
Thanks observer
Thanks observer for another way to look at this. I never could figure out how to apply that Scripture but you sure just did!Peace, FoM!
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Comment #2 posted by observer on June 25, 2000 at 09:26:47 PT
Widows' Houses
This seizure thing has a familiar ring to it. A condition of his bail, guaranteed by the deeds to the homes of his mother and brother, was that he not smoke marijuana -- and submit to regular drug tests. Without marijuana, nausea made it difficult to hold down antiviral AIDS medication, and his health began to deteriorate. "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses. . ."-- Mt 23:14 The government needed to send out the right message to the children. For this reason it was necesssary for those in the government to kill Peter. All for the children. We can never kill enough adult marijuana smokers who criticize The State, for the children. All for the children, you see. To do otherwise would send the wrong message.
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on June 24, 2000 at 14:30:31 PT:
Murderers, indeed.
It is truly ironic that the father of Reefer Madness, Harry Anslinger, once wrote a book called "The Murderers"; the title was referring to those who peddled the 'dangerous, deadly marijuana plant'. He painted Federal officials as Horatio Alger types out on a crusade to rid the world of the 'vipers' (cannabis users) seducing our youth.When all the time, it is the very people who are sworn to protect us from this 'menace' are the *real* menaces.If anyone can be demonstrated to be 'The Murderers' in this particular instance, it is every narc and every prosecutor who was in on the bust, all the way up to McCaffrey.
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