An Amish farmer from Kentucky was recently sentenced to six years in federal prison. His crime: Mislabeling herbal salve and failing to bow to the tyrannical authority of government.
Samuel A. Girod of Bath County was convicted earlier this year of conspiracy to impede an officer, obstruction of a proceeding before an agency, failing to register with the FDA, eights counts of causing misbranded drugs to be introduced into interstate commerce, tampering with a witness and failure to appear.
The charges all stem from an initial government investigation into his making and selling salves made from chickweed and bloodroot and a mixture of essential oils, which the government decided he labeled improperly.
Bob Livingston told readers Girod’s story back in March:
Samuel Girod’s initial “crime” was in the labeling of his products. He claimed his products – Chickweed Healing Salve, TO-MOR-GONE and SineEze – could help cure certain conditions. One of the claims was that his balm cured skin cancer, a declaration rooted in a testament from a woman who told him his product had cured her skin cancer.
For the FDA this is a “no-no,” even (especially) when it’s true. He had been making these herbal concoctions for more than 20 years but came under the scrutiny of the FDA gestapo when someone from Missouri reported him to the state health department. But even after Girod changed his labeling to meet FDA requirements the agency continued its assault on him.
While the farmer’s TO-MOR-GONE salve did contain bloodroot, an ingredient that can kill skin tissue, he didn’t make it available to the general public. The products were labeled “private members only,” meaning that the purchaser would have to have some relationship with the the product’s maker. Logic would dictate that the seller would provide any necessary warnings about the dangers of misuse as part of the explanation for why one needed to acquire a membership to purchase skin salve.
Girod’s real crime was his refusal to bow to the demands of the bureaucratic extortionists who came after him as he maintained that his herbal products aren’t subject to federal oversight. This landed him in court where the Old Order Amish farmer’s troubles intensified as he continued to defy his government overlords.
On June 19, Girod told the court that the government’s charges against him did not apply because he isn’t the subject of an all-powerful government.
“I am not a creation of state/government, as such I am not within its jurisdiction,” Girod wrote, acting as his own counsel.
He added: “The proceedings of the ‘United States District Court’ cannot be applied within the jurisdiction of the ‘State of Kentucky.’”
The court didn’t take kindly to the Amish farmer’s audacity in questioning the government’s power to steal his freedom for peddling homegrown remedies.
Girod, said U.S. District Judge Danny Reeves, created problems for himself “because he steadfastly refused to follow the law.”
“You refused to follow anyone but yourself,” the judge added.
This is the thinking in bureaucratic America. It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as the government gets its cut and you never question its authority.
As Livingston rightly noted back in March:
Had he paid millions of dollars to the FDA and assorted agencies to get his concoctions approved, the FDA wouldn’t care what he did — even if they harmed or killed people.
Without consequences the pharmaceuticals peddle drugs that cure no one and harm and kill hundreds of thousands of people a year, and food companies are allowed to tout artificial products as natural foods and produce harmful nonfoods and chemical additives in the name of nutrition.
Make no mistake, this case has nothing to do with protecting the public from mislabeled health products. It’s about asserting the government’s power over a belligerent.
A petition to free Girod on Change.org currently has nearly 29,000 signatures. And the Kentucky farmer is also getting some high profile support. Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association organizer Richard Mack said the government “created a felon … out of a good, law-abiding citizen” when they prosecuted the farmer.
A standby lawyer for Girod suggested to local media that sending the Amish farmer to a federal prison could border on cruel and unusual punishment.
“Keep in mind that Sam Girod is Amish. He does not live with electricity, phones, concrete, steel. Those are not normal; those are not natural in his life,” said attorney Michael Fox. “An incarceration in a prison setting is going to be more punishment for him than a normal person.”
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