THE MURDER OF PETER McWILLIAMS
THE MURDER OF PETER MCWILLIAMS
An Indictment, Not an Obituary 
Peter McWiliams, 50, best selling author, . . . . medical marijuana activist, AIDS patient and cancer survivor, was found dead on the floor of his bathroom, apparently having choked to death after vomiting, for want of medical marijuana.
There will be an autopsy, but whatever the immediate cause of death may have been, he was murdered by the United States Government as surely as if they shot him. Indeed, it would have been much more humane if they had just put a bullet in his head. No one should have to go through what he suffered at the hands of his country.
. . . Peter is where they can't hurt him anymore, but his murderers are still at large, and if there is anything that Peter would want, it would be for us to continue to speak the truth to power, to tyranny.
Of course, if Peter did choke after vomiting it would be directly the result of his having been denied the right to use medical marijuana. Peter was a part of the roughly 40% of those patients for whom the anti-viral drugs being used to treat AIDS can cause violent nausea. The government knew this from direct observation. During at least one court appearance he vomited into a wastebasket during the hearing.
Dealing with this nausea is one of the best documented uses of medical marijuana, and he had also used it during cancer chemotherapy, when he actually gained weight.
None of that mattered to the judge. None of that mattered to the prosecutor. After all, these are the same people who had held him in federal detention for months on a $250,000 bail, even though he posed no flight risk, the only justification for such a high bail.
. . . When his elderly mother pledged her house as security for the bail, they threatened that the government would seize her house if her son simply failed a drug test, not just if he were to flee. She would not be intimidated, but now her son is dead as the result of the conditions of the bail. These are the "family values" of America's war on the sick and dying.
“The federal prosecutor personally called my mother to tell her that if I was found with even a trace of medical marijuana, her house would be taken away.” said McWilliams. McWilliams’ mother, 72, is disabled and has lived in the same house in Michigan for forty-eight years. She was telephoned on Tuesday, August 18, 1998, by the lead federal prosecutor in McWilliams’ case, Fernando Aenlle- Rocha. “This prosecutor has destroyed my health by telling the judge I was getting my medications when I was not,” said McWilliams. “Why must he terrorize my mother as well?” During his incarceration, his AIDS viral load, which had been "undetectable" soared to dangerous levels. Peter was also very fragile psychologically. Aggravated by his health and legal problems, he often suffered from debilitating bouts of depression. . . . Thus, even if the immediate cause of his death were AIDS, or even suicide, the guilt for his death lies squarely at the door of the Justice Department and the Federal Courts, and the United States Government as a whole.
If an individual did what the federal government did to Peter McWilliams, deliberately deprive him of medicine that would save his life, that person would be indicted for murder. And this was murder. Moreover, it was premeditated, and a part of a pattern of the criminal abuse of power. . . . Many others are suffering anonymously in our vast prisons, underfunded hospices, and dark little rooms in the slums in our shining cities. Many others use medical marijuana, but live in fear of their government while doing so. And they have no choice. Tens of millions of Americans - and countless millions around the world -- have no health insurance to pay for the expensive pharmaceuticals, even if they worked as they are supposed to.
. . . . However, for each of us, the moral case is very simple. To witness a crime in silence is to commit it. If we are silent on the murder of Peter McWilliams, and all of the others whose suffering and death pass without notice, then we are as guilty as the judge, prosecutors, and politicians, and police who signed the papers that ultimately became a warrant for judicial murder. Silence would also make us complicit in the betrayal of the traditions and values that should have protected Peter and all the others.
Authors note: A couple of days after Peters murder, the prosecutors in the case issued an apology to Peters mother; as if somehow, that would fix anything. To those prosecutors, this museum curator says what Jesus would have said; “The time to do good is when you wake up in the morning, not after evil has been exposed.”
- Info taken mostly from the MAP at the following website:
Pubdate: Fri, 16 Jun 2000
Author: Richard Cowan
Bookmark: MAP's shortcut to items about Peter McWilliams is:
Also: The websites supported by Peter McWilliams have been mirrored in his honor and are available here: http://www.drugsense.org/mcwilliams/
- Quotation taken from
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