Eulogy by Paul Zimmerman
He died on Wednesday, June 14th, but I just learned of his death this morning as I sat down in front of my computer with my first cup of coffee. I logged onto my email account and I saw the subject line on an email: Peter McWilliams passed away. It was not unexpected but it still hit me like a sucker punch to the gut.
Peter's death was not unexpected, but his manner of death is unexcusable.
Peter was a best selling author and his 1996 book Ain't Nobody's Business if You Do: The Absurdity of Consensual Crimes in Our Free Country (Available thru Amazon) became an instant libertarian classic. Unfortunately, soon after Peter's book became a success he was hit with a fatal one-two punch; he was diagnosed with AIDS and cancer.
Peter took charge of his health and sought the best treatment that he could. He was on a regimen of pills and elixirs that the medical profession has concocted in order to prolong the life of people who are dying of AIDS and cancer. Unfortunately the treatment, (it's not a cure,) is nearly as deadly as the disease itself. To counter-act the wasting syndrome which is so prevalent with AIDS and to counter-act the nausea which was a side effect of his therapy Peter turned to medical marijuana. Peter lived in California and the people of that state passed Proposition 215 which made it legal for doctors to prescribe marijuana and on his doctor's recommendation Peter started using medical marijuana to ease his pain. He soon found that it stopped the nausea which caused him to vomit up his food and medication. He was able to eat, keep his food down and he was able to work and sleep through the night. He stopped losing weight and got on with his life.
Of course, the feds don't give a hoot in hell about the will of the people or the Constitution, especially the 10th Amendment. As soon as Proposition 215 was passed, the Drug Czar, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, and his heartless minions started threatening doctors and patients who dared to seek relief from their suffering by using this beneficial herb. Doctors were threatened with imprisonment and the loss of their licenses. Patients, many of them paraplegics and the terminally ill, were arrested and harassed.
Peter could not stand by and watch what was going on. He knew the relief that he'd found with marijuana and couldn't stand by doing nothing while the feds assaulted the sick and dying.
On December 1, 1997 Peter took out a two-page ad in Variety which was highly critical of the DEA and the Drug Czar. Seventeen days later Peter's house was raided by DEA and IRS agents. His property was ransacked and his computers and research were confiscated, (that's the legal term for government theft.) I refer you to Peter's own webpage and his synopsis of what happened.
This was just the beginning of the murderous harassment that Peter had to endure. On July 4, 1998 Peter gave a speech at the Libertarian Party's national convention and on July 23 the DEA came to his house and arrested him. He was charged with bogus federal conspiracy charges and taken to prison. For the first nine days he was denied all medication and nearly died. He was finally allowed his medication, but without his prescribed marijuana the medication would not stay down. The feds were tightening the noose.
The feds requested and got his bond set at $250,000. After four weeks of incarceration and after his mother and brother put their houses up as bail, Peter was released.
As a condition of his release Peter was denied the use of marijuana. Peter complied with the judge's order because he did not want to risk having his mother and brother lose their homes. Judge George King's order was in reality a death sentence.
Peter finally went to trial but the feds denied him any defense. Neither he nor his attorney could mention Proposition 215, his medical condition or that he was using marijuana as prescribed by his physician in accordance with California law. He was forced to accept a plea bargain.
Peter McWilliams died at home awaiting his sentencing. He was found dead in his bathroom. He'd choked to death on his own vomit. He died because the feds denied him the only medication that controlled his nausea and vomiting. They killed him as surely as if they'd cut his throat.
Judge King, I'll never forget what you did to Peter. Gen. McCaffery, I'll never forget what you did to Peter. There were many more feds who were accessories to the murder of Peter McWilliams and I say this to all of them: I won't forget and I won't forgive.
How many more lives will the feds take before we say enough is enough? How many more Ruby Ridges, Wacos and Peter McWilliams before we drown in the blood of the martyred? God forgive us for standing around while the innocent die and suffer.
If the freedom movement awarded medals and citations I'd recommend Peter McWilliams for a Medal of Honor. He fought the good fight and even though he was dying, he never gave up. I'm not presumptuous enough or lucky enough to be able to call Peter McWilliams my friend, but we did exchange a few emails and I always found him to be a gentleman and an optimist.
Peter, I hope you've now found the freedom and peace that was denied you here on earth. God bless you.