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The governments of Canada and the US are conspiring to murder yet another innocent man. This won't be the first time our government has imposed a de-facto death penalty for personal use of marijuana, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

How many have there been? Who knows? Peter McWilliams and Steven Kubby have fought very public, and very futile battles to save their lives. How many never fought? How many just gave up, or naively believed that, as bad as things looked, their government would never actually go that far - that there would be some last-minute provision to allow them to live, even if it meant prison and the loss of everything they cared about?

Steve Kubby has a choice to make - at least I hope he still has this choice. He can either become and international fugitive - a status he thought he had already taken upon himself - or he can submit and die.

If our government is successful in killing him, if he dies so senselessly, then...

Then what? Do I make some futile, spiteful threat that the perpetrators will be held accountable, no matter what it takes? How? The threat alone would accomplish nothing, or worse than nothing if it is actually heard and taken seriously.

Do I vow to renew the political fight to get the laws changed? Please, I might as well plan to be rescued by unicorns and taken to their secret lair uabove the clouds to live in peace and harmony for the rest of my days.

Do I say that this, then, is the final straw? That if Kubby is left to die like a dog in prison, choking on his own vomit or having his body consumed away by unchecked cancer, that I will no longer have any respect nor any use for any piece of government any longer? Well, that straw already lays forgotten on the road far behind me, lost below the horizon. I already have no respect nor use for any bit of government in any form, so even this can have no such effect on me.

The only reaction available to me is to become personally and quietly outraged. But there's no outrage left in me. I'm all used up. Without action to back it up, outrage only eats away from the inside. Outrage can only destroy, and if it is not directed outward at its source, it turns itself back on the one who holds it.

But there is one productive alternative to outrage. Cool, rational, and deliberative determination. Determination does not make empty threats, it does not announce its intentions, and it does not seek public acceptance. It does not seek a quick fix, it does not bother with addressing the symptoms - it does not tilt at windmills. It looks to principles and quietly observes, watching for tipping points, points of weakness, and vital chokepoints. It waits patiently for and works to create its opportunities and then takes them when they show themselves. Even if it takes a lifetime.

Governments do what they do for one reason. It is not to protect us from the harm of drug use, it is not to support the rule of law, it is not for anyone's personal gain. Those are all motivations for many of the individuals who are faceless cogs in the machinery in government (which includes those whose faces we see every day in the news). No, government does it to preserve the idea that it is they who make the decisions.

Even if the political fight makes some headway, even if the federal government is convinced to allow some use of marijuana for medical purposes, it will still serve that same purpose. These allowances will only ever be made on the condition that they are just that - allowances. Government will never say, "OK, you do what you want, we don't care either way." No, they may say that they will allow it, but they will always emphasize that it is they that allow it. They will always reserve to themselves the sole right to make the decision for the rest of us, even when it is the decision we would have made anyways without them.

Government is sin, and the wages of government is death. The rest of us had better learn it from those unfortunate enough to be among those who learn it firsthand. And quickly, "it's later than you think."

Hat Tip: Claire
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