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They did it. The Thought Police have killed my friend. No, it wasn't a shootout, nor a protracted, fiery siege on his publishing company, nor even a drug raid gone bad... The specific details aren't really important; what matters is that, after years of harassment, they've finally killed Peter McWilliams.
The short version is that the Thought Police killed Peter in a slow, cruel fashion, beginning in 1997 when he became a target because of his advocacy for medicinal marijuana (MMJ). He had AIDS and cancer, and MMJ was the only thing enabling him to keep his lifesaving medications--and much-needed food--down. Despite the new laws making MMJ legal in California, the DEA eventually arrested Peter on "federal charges" and jailed him without his medications. As a condition of parole, they forbade him from using the only thing he and his doctor had found that kept his extreme nausea in check.
In his typical inimitable style, Peter found a way to handle this challenge, altering his daily routine drastically in order to try to keep his medications in his system without using MMJ. In the end, however, the routine wasn't enough, and according to my sources his cause of death is directly related to his inability to use MMJ (as no other anti-emetic had been effective for him).
It doesn't take a sophisticated logician to create a powerful argument showing cause and effect here.
Whatever one may think of Peter McWilliams' decision to plead guilty to the charges he faced--and there are good reasons to accept or find fault with it--he was a man who understood freedom, who wrote passionately and beautifully about it, and in my opinion tried his best to live consistently with his principles. There aren't many like him, and he will be greatly missed.
This isn't a eulogy for Peter, however. I don't think I can properly write such a piece, as my mind continually wanders from my friend's life and contributions to freedom to the circumstances leading to his death. I think Peter would understand that, though. He knew what he was fighting against, and for, and to be remembered in the context of his cause would be valued by him.
So why am I writing about Peter?
Peter McWilliams is a powerful reminder of why I've unsubscribed from USA.gov, why I have no faith in the system to fix itself with some help from "our side", and why--despite my outlaw lifestyle--I sleep soundly at night. My money no longer goes to support the bombing of friends' families in Serbia, or to domestic attacks by the govgoons on its own innocent citizens. I don't feel as responsible because I have severed ties with this country, once the land of the free, now the land of the free-for-all by the state. My voice isn't "represented" by sham elections that foist more shackles upon the people. My views aren't what's fed to the sheople on the 6:00 snews, pre-masticated and prettified to paint a palatable picture of society. My life isn't tied to those who would make slaves of us all simply to satisfy their lust for power. The sense of freedom I feel as a result is incredible!
In traveling the course I have chosen in my quest to Do Freedom, this particular sense of freedom has been an unexpected (for me, at least) benefit. I didn't realize that a goodly portion of the sourness in my stomach when I'd hear of the ferals' atrocities came from the unavoidable sense of guilt I'd feel, at being part of a system that could torch children in a church in the name of protecting them, that would arbitrarily seize assets of people "suspected" to be involved in certain illegal activities and not return them even if no charges were filed, or any of a number of other equally repugnant, immoral actions. The fact that I was an unwilling, unconsenting party to such brutality made little difference to me.
By walking away as I have, I find greater peace of mind, and perhaps more importantly, greater dedication to help others who want to live in greater freedom achieve that goal for themselves. That doesn't mean what I'm doing is for everybody. There's no "one size fits all" when it comes to freedom. It also doesn't mean that I'm unaffected by the steady news of continuing usurpations--obviously I am, given my reaction to Peter's death. Instead of guilt, I now feel a clearer sense of purpose in my activism, and a renewed dedication to fighting institutionalized aggression. I also feel a profound sense of peace because I know, as much as I can make it so, that I am not supporting those who aggress against me and my friends.
The Thought Police killed Peter McWilliams in hopes they would silence his voice. They've accomplished that, but only in a literal way. By killing my friend, our would-be rulers have strengthened my resolve, and will create new activists out of many of those who've previously been silent.
I think Peter would consider that a fitting tribute.
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Postscript: Free-Market.Net has established a memorial Web site for Peter. Anyone who wishes may sign it, and leave a brief personal message. The signatures and comments will be printed, bound, and presented to Peter's mother. If you'd like to participate, please go to http://www.forahero.com before September 30, 2000. Don Lobo Tiggre has also spearheaded a different kind of tribute to Peter, which you are also welcome to participate in.