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Police Marijuana Raid Turns Deadly; Prosecutor Seeks to Employ NDAA?Tim King Salem-News.com
"There is no time frame or deadline for filing charges" - Weber County Attorney Dee Smith
(SALEM) - A most poignant, striking, and fatally stupid example of the failure of marijuana laws happened in Utah last week. The death of one undercover police officer and the wounding of several others in Odgen, leaves a U.S. veteran facing the death penalty; it is both shocking and a complete and total result of the police work that is not well thought-out.
As long as police in this country think they have a legal right to kick in a person's door and place that person and their family at risk, rather than taking a humane approach without violence, they are serving immoral law. These cops might as well have served under Lt. William Calley in Vietnam; you know, the guy who led the raid on the My Lai village that left hundreds of civilians raped and murdered.
Just Following Orders
Here is what went down in Utah: Matthew David Stewart, who is 37-years old, is an Army veteran that suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He is employed and works an overnight shift at a local WalMart.
According to reports, he apparently grows medical marijuana to help cope with the effects of PTSD, which he manages to do without the use of any other drugs.
The Daily Chronic wrote:
A state famous for religious and conservative politics, Utah is defined for many Americans by one memorable interview with a Utah Highway Patrolman who said Utah police look for 'Grateful Dead bears' when seeking potential vehicles to pull over.
They care about your rights as much as they care about jumping off a cliff. So let's face it, Utah's politics are so right-wing, the state is like the Attila the Hun of U.S. Politics, like Arizona, the spirit of the place is so foreign to U.S. morals and ideals like "civil rights" that it numbs the senses to consider. So it should be no surprise that sense has no bearing on laws that not only make marijuana illegal, but lead to violent 'door-kicking' raids by tactical police.
This incident left Ogden Police officer Jared Francom dead, and five other officers wounded. How one could find a more definitive example of why these rogue SWAT tactics and marijuana are a bad mix?
Stewart's Criminal Past
Even though his character is being slaughtered by the prosecutor so busy building his case, it sounds like Utah officials have a pot-smoking WalMart employee on their hands who knows how to defend his home. Those set to prosecute him are now portraying Stewart as a mad terrorist over a photo of him wearing a Halloween outfit. Let's remember that he in no way provoked the police into this attack.
In the past, police would have placed a couple of officers in front of the house and waited for the guy to eventually come out. This guy had no criminal past, of course the police knew this.
What they thought they had, was a little kick-ass training exercise with a live person. They believed they had an 'opportunity' to get some aggression out and attack another pot smoker, almost all of whom are not armed. However they say those who live by the sword often die by the sword and it is tragic that such gutless, failed attempts at police work are wasted on our citizenry. But then this isn't the first time this 'task force' has performed similar tactics.
Again, from the The Daily Chronic:
Beyond that, Stewart had apparently been cited about three years ago for driving without valid insurance, not exactly what places a person in a criminal category. Even if he was suspected of growing this natural plant that so bitterly offends Utah officials, their blunder was needless and more than costly.
Mike Caldwell, the Ogden City Mayor, says an event of this magnitude is a humbling experience. He said he expressed his sincerest sympathy to all those involved with deep sadness and a heavy heart.
Caldwell concluded by asking for prayers for, "... our police, fire, EMS, and dispatchers". My question is, why not call for prayer that is broader and more inclusive of all people?
Any time police officers die or are seriously hurt, it deals a tremendous blow to people in this country; a ripple effect ensues and police share a common anger. However I have to question whether this case is the same; the very idea of what happened to this American Veteran haunts most U.S. citizens in their hearts; it chills them to the bone to consider having their own version of this confrontation...
One story references, " ...the speculation that Stewart was asleep, or possibly in the shower when police knocked at the door". It begs the question, what would you do if you were awakened suddenly to the jarring sound of men kicking your door in? What if he had slept with the TV or stereo on? What happened was totally and completely unnecessary.
There is no grander, more in-your-face power-trip form of "invasion of privacy" than this case in Utah, where Mr. Stewart both took a life and now faces losing his own, strictly due to the obscene choices in tactics made in Odgen by the 'Weber-Morgan' Narcotics Strike Force.
Of course Mike Caldwell is in office, leading this place with laws that allow police to act like stormtroopers; where veterans get no recognition, only grief. Stewart is now looking at the death penalty, for God's sake the man was sleeping! The government sure knows how to create a martyr and a human symbol against police abuse and overly ridiculous aggression and violence.
If Stewart is killed and this standard is allowed to be set, then it is a major victory for this government so intent on literally striking your rights from the record, as it did so willingly recently with the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which allows Americans to be held in detention indefinitely without charges.
And on that note, an article by the Standard-Examiner, referenced Weber County Attorney Dee Smith saying, "Stewart will be booked into Weber County Jail once he is released from the hospital, a decision that is up to medical personnel".
But then prosecutor Smith added, "There is no time frame or deadline for filing charges". Now, why would that be? Aren't people afforded certain rights in the United States? Oh wait, it looks like Matthew Stewart may be the first public victim of the NDAA.
In a recent article carried by Salem-News.com, writer Ralph Lopez wrote:
Matthew Stewart was an “Army Airborne” soldier, indicating that he had specialized military training and qualifications. During his service he received both the Army Achievement Medal and the National Defense Service Medal, which ironically symbolizes Bush's never-ending 'war on terror' that apparently now means he is no longer a human being with rights. I have not confirmed whether this bout of bungled police work has caused the NDAA to be invoked, but it looks like that is probably the case.
Dying for a Natural Plant
The drug war is a total failure and it is sad that the police will ignore this at all costs. Marijuana: it's a plant that was grown and smoked by Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Even Abe Lincoln was quoted about his fondness of smoking cannabis. The extreme irony with this violent police approach to a plant, is that the Declaration of Independence is written on hemp paper.
The plant was demonized by the U.S. Hearst Newspaper chain in the early part of the 20th century and outlawed by 1937 so that Dow Chemical could bring its new "synthetic rope" forward. Marijuana/hemp is one of the strongest fibers in the world and was always a favorite for parachute rope.
It grows naturally, it's never killed anyone, and according to our own Dr. Phil Leveque, who treated thousands of patients for PTSD, it is a far better alternative for PTSD sufferers, than the highly addictive morphine-based drugs that the Veteran Administration doctors prescribe.
Some veterans who suffer from PTSD drink themselves to death. Pot is a mellow, simple herb that can be smoked or eaten. It helps people build appetites and has a wide range of medical uses.
Why a state or government can still be taking the approach of extreme violence at this point; whatever the answer may be, is a myth and does not carry with it a real justification. Police aren't exactly respected these days and this is why; I know it is terrible that so many people were hurt and that an officer, or 'agent' as he is described, died. That is really terrible, but he and the others should have refused the mission, and until that day comes, we are all in increasing trouble.
Of course the last time something very similar happened, it was in nearby Arizona, and that police raid over suspected illegal drugs wasn't even correct, they were running on bad information.
At the time of this terrible occurrence involving a Marine, I wrote:
For now, Matthew Stewart, "likely faces a charge of aggravated murder, which carries the death penalty, and additional charges of attempted aggravated murder", again according to prosecutor Dee Smith from the Weber County District Attorney's office. At this point he remains under police guard at Ogden Regional Medical Center.
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