Everyone’s talking about terrorism these days, but my family and I have experienced terrorism up close and personal. We survived our terrorist attack and, in the process, we learned a great deal about how state-sponsored terrorism actually operates in America today.
In our case, our home was invaded early in the morning. We were robbed at gunpoint and then kidnapped. These terrorists even tried, though unsuccessfully, to extort $200,000 (in bail) from us. Worst of all, these terrorists had badges, and were empowered by laws that were originally passed to be used against “drug lords.” Despite the fact that we were lawfully exercising rights granted to us by a medical marijuana law we helped to pass, we found ourselves facing 19 criminal counts.
After two and a half years and a quarter of a million dollars in legal expenses, a jury acquitted us and we regained our freedom, but little else. Even though we had proved our innocence, none of the terrorists involved were ever punished for this illegal raid, nor was any of the property stolen from us returned, not even the data off of our computers. But we survived and sought an escape from such terror in the freedom and wildness of British Columbia.
From the safety of Canada, we now watch in horror as America’s police and military are handed the keys to the country. Because of our experience with “drug lord” laws being used against our family, we understand that, with the passage of the “U.S.A. Act,” the Constitution has effectively been suspended and martial law imposed.
Our leaders assure us that Congress is standing up to terrorists by passing this law, but just the opposite is true. Congress is refusing to stand up for the freedom and rights that are the heritage of all Americans. Congress is failing to use its constitutional power (and fulfill its constitutional obligation) to check and balance the other branches of government. Cowering before the police, the military and public hysteria, Congress is bartering away our rights.
The USA Act may be the greatest act of appeasement since Chamberlain waved a piece of paper in the air and told the British they were safe from Hitler. Congress has just handed over unprecedented and unconstitutional powers to the police. Have we forgotten that these are the same police who just a few months ago were making headlines for violating human rights, profiling minorities, placing a third of black males under the control of the criminal justice system, and planting guns and drugs on innocent young men in Los Angeles?
No one has the right to barter away rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Yes, it’s horrific that 5,000 innocent people were so brutally slaughtered on Sept. 11. But what about the hundreds of thousands of brave American patriots who willingly gave their lives to defend the guarantee of inalienable rights? Who will speak up on behalf of these brave patriots who paid the ultimate price to preserve our heritage of freedom?
The American patriots who created and bravely defended our Constitution and Bill of Rights deserve to be heard. If they were alive today, they would be outraged.
Benjamin Franklin would remind us: “They that can give up essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety,” and, “Wherever liberty dwells, there be my country.”
Wise old Thomas Jefferson would then raise his voice and with calm firmness explain that rights are indivisible and can never be separated from us by any law or government. “A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.”
Then a hush would fill the air, as everyone turned and faced the great general and first president, George Washington. The assembled patriots would all show their deeply-held respect for Washington, an American legend, whose death inspired the proclamation, “First in war, first in peace, first in the hearts of his countrymen!”
The founding father of the United States of America would then speak directly to every citizen in America and repeat the warnings he issued upon leaving the White House: “Over grown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty … Government is not reason. It is not eloquence. It is a force, like fire: a dangerous servant and a terrible master.”
Steve Kubby is the founder of The American Medical Marijuana Association and played a key role in the passage of California’s Prop. 215, the statewide initiative legalizing medical use of cannabis.