While advocating for Ken Unger recently I discovered that the lack of support from established activists, advocates, and organizations within Missouri is due, in part, to his outspoken nature and public criticisms of Show-Me Cannabis Regulation. This is terribly disconcerting to me as an activist and as a consumer, this trial is too important to let the forces of prohibition attain a guilty verdict against Ken. A verdict of not guilty or an instance of jury nullification is not only a strategic victory – that will set precedent in Missouri courts – but, more importantly, it will be a personal victory for a victim of the War on Drugs – that on the grandest scale is victory for all humanity. Although time is running desperately short there is still time for Missourians of all walks to pull together and act on Ken’s behalf.
For those unfamiliar with Ken Unger he is a 53-year-old fully disabled Navy Veteran injured during the U.S. Invasion of Grenada when the davit hook from a 50-ton crane struck the top of his skull. Thrown backwards and laying sprawled out on the deck a SEAL quickly picked him up, set him on his feet, and rushed him to the infirmary. The treatment provided for his injuries suffered that day and complications that followed while in the Navy consisted of 2 aspirin and 24 hours sick leave with no follow-up by medical professionals.
These injuries led to a slow and painful decline of his spinal column from compression caused by the impact of the crane that spread misalignment throughout his skeletal system for which the VA deemed him 40 percent disabled after a forcing him into a protracted decade long struggle. It also led to VA prescriptions for opioid pain relievers that Ken feels where responsible for the initial major heart attack that forced the VA to deem him 100 percent disabled. Opioids, including morphine, may also be responsible for the plaque buildup that contributed to him suffering two more major heart attacks and one minor heart attack since qualifying for full disability. They may also be the reason he has an 8-inch plastic tube running through his belly that helps maintain blood flow to his lower extremities by bypassing his failed artery.
After decades of dealing with an inept VA system and by the time Ken is married and has a young son, he is tired of the opioids preventing participation in his family’s lives due to the “zombie parent” state created by this class of painkillers that force many parents to raise their children from the couch and or bed. He finally tried marijuana and it successfully treated the pain of his conditions, he decided to grow cannabis to replace the dangerous and addictive opiate drugs so that he would no longer be, as he felt, a detriment to his son and his wife’s lives due to the opiate pain (patient) “killers” affecting him so negatively. In fact, he reached the point where he could, for the first time in many years, walk around the block with his wife and child. He was able to return to life and to the living of life for the first time in decades.
Ken was enjoying his newfound life cannabis provided in his basement retreat while looking forward to spending an evening with his wife and child after they each arrived home later that evening the night of September 9, 2010. Without warning, chaos and turmoil abruptly enter his life when an invading force of O’Fallon Missouri police officers dressed in SWAT gear carrying automatic weapons bust through his front door serving a no knock raid, beginning for Ken and his family what is now a two-year hellish legal and political nightmare. Fearing for the safety of himself and his aged dog Nina, Ken immediately begins to cooperate by informing the police of his whereabouts and begs them not to shoot his dog or throw him to the ground as he attempted to relay to them his age and the severity of his injuries and illnesses. Fortunately, the police did not feel compelled to shoot his aged canine companion; unfortunately, they ignored his pleas for mercy and threw him to the ground regardless of his age and infirmity. Despite his pleas and cooperation, this jackbooted brute squad manhandled him in the standard fashion anyone familiar with the several dozen videos, or more, from police cams of cops serving no knock drug raids on otherwise law-abiding citizens.
So began the judicial and political persecution of a crippled veteran who sought nothing more than to live his unassuming life as a devoted husband and father. Subsequent to his arrest and multiple pre-trial court appearances he has maintained that his cultivation of marijuana was solely for personal medicinal use; but lack of medical marijuana laws leave him subject to the full might and weight of this wayward criminal justice system. Since his legal woes began in September of 2010, Ken underwent double bypass heart surgery earlier this year; but still he perseveres despite the odds and the risks of long-term imprisonment and a greatly reduced lifespan. Two years and two months after this travesty started a St Charles County Sheriff recently served Ken with his wife and child’s summonses to appear as witnesses for the prosecution – imaging Ken’s surprise.
As Ken faces this witch hunt of a trial he is not only forced to fight for his life but knowing the stakes he willingly fights this injustice knowing that a legal victory for himself is a legal victory for all Missourians, and in the larger context a legal victory for all Americans. He does this not for fame and fortune or accolades and attention but because he must do this to preserve the sanctity of his life and family. He also understands it takes the citizens of this nation standing up for their rights against a perverted judicial system and corrupt political system to end marijuana prohibition.
I know he is an outspoken person who holds very strong political views and he is not afraid to express those views to anyone. I also understand Ken is suffering from PTSD from the SWAT raid, his initial incarceration, and the subsequent events surrounding the mockery this county calls court proceedings leading what amounts to a political trial meant to persecute a legitimate medical patient. While at the same time, he is unable to seek treatment at his only source for medical care the Veterans Administration. Doing so would force him to admit to the VA that this trauma wrought by the police and prosecutors is occurring because he grew marijuana, which could put his VA benefits at risk. He obviously cannot afford to risk losing those medical benefits or risk his losing his disability. Therefore, he must suffer the stress, anxiety, depression, angst, and plethora of other emotional and mental states without the assistance of a medical professional. This can cause the person’s beliefs and their behaviors becoming extreme at times when facing such tribulations – to me, this is understandable considering he is in a fight for his life.
This brings me to a hazard of this job; dealing with people in dire and desperate situations forced upon them by this aberrant abomination within our legal and political systems – the War on Drugs. I do believe that a certain level of understanding and compassion necessary to work with those victimized by no knock drug raids, which requires activists and advocates to set our personal feelings aside so we may best help those in need our assistance.
All of that is honestly beside the point; I thought we, the marijuana activist and advocate community, support people like Ken not because they show poise and grace as they face the onslaught of our wayward judicial and political systems but, precisely, because they are facing the onslaught of our wayward judicial and political systems. I thought our movement’s goal is to support all humans’ right to consume cannabis free of a jail cell, this in essence is my goal as an activist and advocate and hope it is the goal of my counterparts in Missouri and around the globe.
Now, I do not expect nor demand that these people upset with Ken to mend burnt or broken bridges while publically fawn over the man. I simply hope and ask that those folks within Missouri’s legalization organizations do as I hope folks who know little to nothing about Ken might do for the good of the movement as a whole. Please friends, attend and or promote Ken’s trial to stand up and speak out for him and with him as he combats the draconian forces of prohibition in a battle that if won will establish a judicial toehold for marijuana legalization in Missouri while he simultaneously fights for his, his son’s, his and wife’s lives.
Ultimately, Missourians were not able to vote for legalization this election year and win that grand victory, although, we can still come together and help Ken win this grand victory within Missouri’s courts for Ken, his family, cannabis consumers, and humanity.
The prosecuting attorney’s office is attempting railroading Ken through the legal system for growing his own medical cannabis to replace his opioid pain relievers so that he was no longer a “zombie parent” in order to be a part of his son’s life. Ken is also the victim of political persecution and prosecutorial misconduct that violates his civil and Constitutional rights as an evidentiary-based motion filed by Joseph Welch on Monday, November 05, 2012 indicates.
Help defend Ken’s rights, and all people’s rights, to remain free of prison cell for consuming cannabis and add to the recent election victories for Team Legalization. Stand up and speak out with and for our brother by attending his trial. If you cannot attend, please pass his Facebook trial event to friends, family, and concerned citizens.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 9:00 am
St Charles County Courthouse
300 North 2nd Street #216, St. Charles, Missouri
- Colorado Legalizes Recreational Marijuana and Industrial Hemp (activistpost.com)
- Marijuana’s Victory in Colorado, Washington Means California Will Follow Soon (blogs.sfweekly.com)
- Colorado is first state to legalize recreational pot (dawn.com)
- Recreational marijuana legalized in Colorado, Washington (thestar.com)
- Marijuana legalization passes in Colorado, Washington (fromthetrenchesworldreport.com)
- Colorado Legalizes Recreational Marijuana and Industrial Hemp (infiniteunknown.net)
- Recreational Marijuana Legalization Passes In Colorado, Washington, Fails In Oregon (brandtstandard.com)
- Marijuana legalization passes in Colorado, Washington (money.cnn.com)
- B.C. pot activists push for legalization after Wash. vote (cbc.ca)