Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Heart Sick

The world is a mighty F-ed up place, full of terrified, F-d up people.  The dissonance between values and actions is so painful that I, like Hamlet, wish I could simply dissipate, vaporize my molecules into a fine red mist.

Peter McWilliams was an author who wrote the popular Life 101 series of books back in the 90s with his authorial partner, John-Roger.  The trail of this story lead from research into Arianna Huffington, who was a devotee of John-Roger.  A click on John-Roger revealed him to be a founder of a new religious movement (NRM) the subtext of which is spelled c.u.l.t.  Peter McWilliams and JR wrote several books that dealt with a non-violent, non-combative approach to life, of finding purpose and enjoyment in daily living.  I remember being quite taken with Life 101, in particular the quotes they found to incorporate into the book.  My favorite was one from Fran Liebowitz, "Whenever I feel an urge to do something artistic, paint, or play music, or write, I eat something sweet and the feeling passes."  (A riff on the Hershey bar fix for alcoholics in early recovery).

In any event, apparently a deep rift developed between the two men.  You can visit this website to find some of the details about the organization JR founded.  Some of the allegations against John-Roger are described at Wikipedia (scroll down to "criticisms").  The spiciest, I'm sure, have never been aired.  McWilliam's venting screed, Life 102 I don't believe has been kept in print due to libel litigation. 

Be that as it may, the trail lead me ultimately to McWilliams himself, who died in 2000 after choaking on his own vomit.  He was desperately ill with AIDS.  He and an associate had taken to growing medical marijuana under the aegis of California proposition 215 which legalized it for that purpose.  However, the DEA and the feds got involved, moving the case to Federal Court, out of the jurisdiction of the state, in order to send a message.  While out on bail, McWilliams was prevented from using marijuana as an antiemetic.  A failed drug test would have cost him his mother's house.  Thus the irony of his final moment. 

In response, Judge George H. King, the jurist responsible for trying the case said this (you'll have to click and read.  It's too horrible to rekey).  However, I strongly urge you to read it.  That a Judge could say such blatantly horrific, mean-spirited, inhumane and biased things clearly shows wilful misconduct in my view.  If these statements attributed to him are true, his dancing on the grave of this poor soul is evil beyond words to express and sick by any standard.  It deserves impeachment.  To think he was elevated to the federal bench by Clinton.  (In two years we will be able to say, "the FIRST president Clinton....")

To be confronted by such blatant disregard for a fellow human being's pain is to feel physical pain in my own body.  My chest siezes, my breath shortens, my pores open, my eyes blur.  I feel an urge to flee, go somewhere completely deserted.  Nobody else is to be trusted.  I can trust no-one!  That our society can engender the kind of truculent inhumanity in which a judge can say that a person who didn't conform deserved death, then our nation is utterly lost.

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