Friday, October 17, 2008
Tie him to the Whipping Post: Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman apparently sees nothing amiss in sending his thugs to steal the life savings of a seriously ill, law-abiding elderly couple.
As the economy collapses, credit lines become constricted, and tax revenues are choked off, we can expect local representatives of the parasite class (commonly called “government”) to become perversely creative in finding new ways to extract money from productive people. For parasites looking to feast on the wealth of others, the liberty-devouring fraud called the War on Drugs offers a particularly rich menu of possibilities.
As we’ve discussed before, Police and Sheriff’s departments in many jurisdictions are robbing people blind in the name of civil asset forfeiture, an officially sanctioned form of robbery in which cash or property is deemed “guilty” of involvement in narcotics trafficking.
It’s not necessary to prove that a crime has been committed, or even to arrest or charge an individual with a criminal offense. All that is required is for an officer to assert some “nexus” between the coveted money or property, and then a civil procedure begins in which the onus is placed on the victim to prove that both he and his property are innocent.
Law enforcement bodies across the nation are engorging themselves on the corrupt proceeds of such plunder. Tom Allman, Sheriff of California’s Mendocino County, recently advanced this depraved science by devising a way to seize both property and the money belonging to people who have explicit government permission to cultivate and use marijuana for medical purposes.
Allman, it must first be understood, insists that even though “a marijuana plant that’s legal looks just like a marijuana plant that’s illegal,” his Sheriff’s Department carefully discriminates between the legal cultivation of medical marijuana, and that grown for illicit “commercial” use. He also claims that “I have friends who benefit from medical marijuana.”
Allman also takes offense when his department is accused of exceeding its mandate by seizing medical marijuana. “The Sheriff’s Office focuses its eradication efforts on commercial marijuana operations,” Allman insisted in an essay-length letter published in the October 10 Ukiah Daily Journal. “We do not target legitimate medical marijuana patients or their caregivers.”
In fact, Sheriff Allman continued, his department actually protected legitimate medical marijuana crops from violent criminals who would poach them and sell them illegally: “Recently our office arrested eight Sacramento area young people who drove to Mendocino County for the sole purpose of stealing marijuana. All eight were arrested within an hour of the crime. Investigation into a series of violent marijuana robberies on the Coast has resulted in the arrest of more out-of-county criminals.”
“The citizens of Mendocino County can be proud of the work our detectives put into these cases,” concluded Allman in the kind of self-congratulatory plug that’s de rigueur in official communiques from the governing class.
To be fair, the September 19 marijuana robbery was a serious property crime, in which six large plants — each of which was valued at $3,000 — were stolen at gun point from 57-year-old Laytonville resident Richard Weaver, who cultivated them for medical use. This was an example of that rarest and most unexpected of things, a government agency actually acting in defense of an individual’s person and property.
However, Allman’s heroic deputies didn’t bestir themselves to solve an even more egregious armed robbery involving medical marijuana that took place in Philo the following Wednesday. That crime involved the seizure of 17 marijuana plants and over $80,000 in cash. As was the case with the Laytonville heist, the victims of the second crime had legally cultivated their plants for their personal medical needs.
Where Mr. Weaver was a sick man on the wrong side of 50 confronted by eight armed, college-age men, the victims in Philo were Lester and Mary Smith, both of whom are in their ninth decade and suffer from a variety of afflictions, from severe arthritis to heart disease.
Mary is confined to a wheelchair, and Lester, a World War II veteran, is immobilized by two bad hips and suffers from frequent chest pains that make it nearly impossible to breathe. The pitiless thugs who attacked the Smiths on September 24 not only took away their indispensable pain medication — for which they had obtained the appropriate prescription, and the necessary growing permit — but stole their life savings as well.
It’s difficult to conceive of a personality so utterly surrendered to criminal appetites that it would commit such an act. Since Sheriff Allman is so eager to throw laurels at the feet of his intrepid detectives, one might expect him to deploy them in pursuit of the fiends who assaulted Lester and Mary Smith.
“Let every brush be beaten; let every stone be capsized; let no clue elude your vigilant gaze,” one imagines Sheriff Allman commanding his eager detectives, assuming that he favors the over-ripe diction typical of a hero from a 19th Century Penny Dreadful serial. “Darken not the door of this Sheriff’s Office again until you hold, within the unyielding grasp of incarnate Justice, those responsible for reducing this venerable couple to their present undeserved state of suffering penury!”
One would expect Sheriff Allman to issue a command of that sort to his detectives, albeit in less florid language. One would be wrong. You see, the perpetrators who robbed the Smiths at gunpoint were Allman’s deputies, so having the detectives build a case about them would pose some interesting problems in workplace etiquette.
“Four of these guys [the deputies] came in here, big as barnyard bulls, hollering real loud, accusing us of growing marijuana to sell,” Lester Smith told Pro Libertate in a telephone interview. “They do everything they can to scare you and get you frustrated.” Smith lives near three grandchildren who rent properties from him. One of them is his 31-year-old granddaughter Yolanda, who was the victim of a lengthy, abusive harangue by one of the heroic deputies.
“The trailer is nearby, and I could hear him yelling at her,” Lester recounts. “He kept screaming at her, `Your grandpa gives you pot to sell for money!’ and she kept telling him that I don’t. This went on for a long time, and he eventually made her cry and even throw up. She told me that she was convinced that if she just told him what he wanted to hear, he’d leave her alone, so she eventually said `yes.’ But I never did anything of the kind; we have a prescription, my daughter got the permit, and we grow marijuana here only to use as medicine.”
The only “legal” justification for seizing anything from the Smiths would necessarily involve some kind of criminal charges. Yet neither Smith nor his wife, nor any of their children or in-laws, has been charged with a crime. So even by the terms of what Sheriff Allman calls the “law,” this incident is nothing more than felonious armed robbery, carried out under the color of supposed authority.
Not long ago, Mary Smith received a $52,000 inheritance. And roughly a year ago Lester started to withdraw money from his bank accounts in anticipation of the economic catastrophe now in full flower. When Congress passed the Plutocrat Bailout and Economic Dictatorship Act two weeks ago, Lester cashed in his CDs. When the Sheriff’s deputies arrived to conduct their little robbery, the Smiths had $81,000 in the family safe, and then tore up another $51,000 in medicinal marijuana plants.
Casing out fresh victims? Officers from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department prowl the rural highways of beautiful northern California.
This is a total haul of $132,000, which is pretty impressive for just a couple hours’ worth of government “work.” Lester and Mary have to wait until next March 3 to begin the long, painful, and expensive process of trying to recover the money Allman’s department stole from them.
Both of them are approaching ninety years of age and in very poor health, which makes it exceptionally unlikely that they will ever get their money back. This suggests the thugs who robbed them must have cased out their target very carefully. It wouldn’t suprise me to learn that they got a heads-up from a spitzel at the local bank. (When I suggested this possibility to Lester, he dismissed it right away.)
Interestingly, Allman and his homiez at the DA’s office didn’t attach the Smith’s minuscule checking account, which they could have done had they really believed that the elderly couple were “drug peddlers.” But with their savings now being used to keep the Sheriff’s Department supplied with donuts, Lester and Mary now have nothing but their Social Security checks and the $600 he gets from renting properties to his three grandchildren.
The Smiths are a couple who had saved nearly everything they earned that wasn’t spent on necessities. They are children of the Great Depression, who were making preparations to deal with the Greater Depression (Lester indicated to me that he was planning on buying gold).
Stricken with years and left helpless by disease, they were an easy target for a predatory law “enforcement” agency. This kind of thing is going to become very commonplace.
Sheriff Allman, you’ll recall, admits that he can’t tell the difference between a “legal” marijuana plant and an “illegal” one. Clear-headed people will have exactly the same problem in trying to find a moral distinction separating the gang of private sector thugs who robbed Richard Weaver, and the government-authorized gang that terrorized and robbed Lester and Mary Smith.
The gang that attacked Weaver behaved very much like a police unit: They gathered intelligence about Mendocino County’s legal marijuana gardens, coordinated their movements via radio, and carried firearms to compel their victims to submit. As far as I can tell, the only substantive differences between these two robberies were, first, that the crooks who robbed Weaver had a much smaller take, and second, their heist was unsuccessful, because it was foiled by the intervention of a much larger, better equipped, and more ruthless gang.
Sheriff Bubba’s new toy: Georgia’s Cobb County Police Department recently paid $45,000 — anybody wanna bet that the funds came from an asset forfeiture fund? — to refurbish this $500,000 “Peacekeeper” light armor vehicle, which was donated — anybody wanna bet through the Pentagon’s LESO program? — to the department.
Once again, we’re driven to contemplate the wisdom of Albert Jay Nock from his magisterial book, Our Enemy, The State:
“Everyone knows that the State claims and exercises [a] monopoly of crime … and that it makes this monopoly as strict as it can. It forbids private murder, but itself organizes murder on a colossal scale. It punishes private theft, but itself lays unscrupulous hands on anything it wants, whether the property of citizen or of alien…. Of all the crimes that are committed for gain or revenge, there is not one that we have not seen it commit – murder, mayhem, arson, robbery, fraud, criminal collusion and connivance.”
In ways too numerous to chronicle (I’m doing my best, and falling behind badly), the local police in our country are rapidly becoming the most serious criminal threat we face. This is because common crooks, when repelled, will retreat and seek other victims, but criminals in State-issued costumes will summon sufficient force to visit exemplary violence upon those who resist.
A personal note….
Recently, in reply to a very kind inquiry about Korrin’s health and our family’s circumstances, I described at length some of the challenges we have recently experienced.
In response I’ve received an enormous outpouring of kindness from many of you who take the time to read what I publish in this space.
I earnestly wish there were words adequate to convey my gratitude for your concern, your prayers, and also the many acts of generosity that have been made toward me and our family. Thank you, all of you, very much.