The Chilling Effect

Friday, October 29th, 2010

Quick addendum to yesterday’s post on the federal government’s persecution of Siobhan Reynolds. This is the video AUSA Tonya Treadway subpoenaed, along with a host of other documentation, then tried to have silenced. It’s about an hour long.

Siobhan also noted on my Facebook page that she’d like to hire an assistant, but the fines she faced for defying Treadway’s subpoena depleted her finances. If you’re interested, you can make a contribution here.

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16 Responses to “The Chilling Effect”

  1. #1 |  Aresen | 

    If you can ‘make an example’ of a critic, you can intimidate a lot of the rest.

  2. #2 |  Cyto | 

    It isn’t the idea that a single prosecutor could lose perspective and use the grand jury power in an abusive manner that surprises or disturbs me so much. After all, people are people, and every now and again you’ll get someone operating outside the lines.

    The real disturbing thing about this case (and the long list of similar cases documented here and elsewhere) is the way that obviously, patently wrong behavior is treated so seriously and even supported by the rest of the people in the system.

    The first judge to hear this could have tossed her out on her ear. But that didn’t happen. He fully supported her powers. Then the appeals judges could have laughed them out of court, summarily dismissing the whole thing. But that didn’t happen. They treated the arguments seriously and shockingly found that it was perfectly fine, even expected that all of this secrecy and abuse could happen. And on and on, up the food chain. Never a judge or a more senior justice department official to call foul on the whole thing.

    There must be some pathology at work for such groupthink to be so pervasive. We see it in more trivial cases like “zero tolerance for weapons” in schools when a kid brings in a squirt gun. For some reason everyone involved in the chain of command becomes defensive of the system and takes on the most ridiculous stance. One would think that any rational person faced with a subordinate moving to expel a student for bringing a GI Joe with little plastic gun to school would laugh out loud and smack their junior report in the head and send them back to class a little ashamed. But that doesn’t seem to happen. They always seem to circle the wagons all the way to the top, seemingly actually believing the ridiculously stupid positions they’ve staked out for themselves.

    I grew up hearing about how evil the Nazi’s were, firm in my conviction that something like that could never happen here in the land of the free. And yet I’m faced with a daily march of examples of people blindly following a path that no rational person should follow – seemingly for the simple fact that the path has been set for them and for lack of any ability to see anything other than the path. When you can have a state supreme court (Mississippi) opinion that a proven corrupt and incompetent expert witness is just fine because “even though he’s been wrong before, maybe many times before, without more there’s no proof he’s wrong here” and then watch a man marched off to his death on the strength of that evidence…. well, is Godwin really too strong for that thread of reasoning?

  3. #3 |  Kevin3% | 

    One of the doctors said: “chronic pain destroys families.” and apparently what is left of the family is further eviscerated by the state….financially and emotionally.

    It is heart breaking to watch the testimony of these families, especially the children. I just cannot understand how prosecutors, judges, cops, and politicians can inflict such emotional damage on people.

    How is it that we have allowed lawyers and cops to determine what is best for a patient?

    Perhaps in 100 years people will reflect upon the history and events of the drug war and liken it to the Salem witch hunts. Based in ignorance, feeding a powerful elite and utterly barbaric.

  4. #4 |  Kevin3% | 

    Very poignantly articulated.

    The pathology part is especially compelling. It is as if these people in power have a stake in never questioning anything about the system. It might, after all, cause their judgment to be discredited. So they go on inflicting untold human suffering on their fellow citizens

    It makes me retch!

  5. #5 |  Cyto | 

    Another example of officials blindly proceeding down an illogical path, long past the moment when any sane person should realize their error. In this case we have social workers destroying a family over innocent breastfeeding photos. Long after the complaint about photos is dropped, the family remains separated “for their protection”. Nice.

    Credit to Salt posting on the Lunch Links thread, although this has been discussed here and ad reason previously.

  6. #6 |  Jonathan Hansen | 

    I followed the link to donate which leads to the Pain Relief Network. It is not clear that the donation goes specifically to Siobhan Reynolds to assist in this case; rather, it appears to be a donation to the Pain Relief Network in general, which I am assuming is overseeing and coordinating the effort…

  7. #7 |  Steve Verdon | 

    It is heart breaking to watch the testimony of these families, especially the children. I just cannot understand how prosecutors, judges, cops, and politicians can inflict such emotional damage on people.

    They enjoy it, it is validation of their power.

  8. #8 |  Steve Verdon | 

    As a side note, I know the fear that parents have in taking and developing photos of their children. When my older son was about a year and a half old, we took him camping. I later tried to get the film developed and was told that they wouldn’t release select photos because of Target’s child porn rules. The photos in question were sequential: 1) Baby boy playing by the water. 2) Baby boy no longer wearing onesie. 3) Baby boy no longer wearing diaper, in various splashing shots. I was told,

    We’ll give you the pictures on the CD, if you can find anyone else who would develop them for you.

    Boy, did I feel dirty! And it was completely their view of my child that made me feel this way. I could only imagine what would happen had the police gotten involved! Thank goodness for a digital camera!

    In other words, because the guy developing the photos is a sicko and got a boner, the pictures must be dirty.

    This is why I never took any pictures of my son while naked, breast feeding, or the like while he was an infant. We’ve let the retards run the asylum.

  9. #9 |  Marty | 

    ‘How is it that we have allowed lawyers and cops to determine what is best for a patient?’

    they’re not deciding what’s best for patients, they’re acting in their own self-interests. they could give a shit less about patients and citizens.

  10. #10 |  croaker | 

    @8 Calling them retards is an insult to the mentally handicapped.

  11. #11 |  Dave Krueger | 

    During the health care debate, advocates for Obamacare argued adamantly that the government wouldn’t come between you and your doctor. What a fuckin’ joke. The government is ALREADY between you and your doctor. In fact, in the “land of the free”, the only one who doesn’t matter is the goddamn patient.

  12. #12 |  GregS | 

    Radley, I can swear I watched this video about a year ago. And I’m almost certain that you linked to it. Was it successfully suppressed AFTER being posted online? Or did Treadway just TRY (unsuccessfully) to suppress it? Your wording was ambiguous, or maybe I’m a little dense.

    At any rate, it’s heartbreaking. I can think of few things more evil than keeping a suffering patient in pain. That must be like hell. The story I believe is: the DEA found a statistic that actually responds to enforcement, so they started enforcing it. I’m sure some of these twisted bastards are power-tripping, but I can also see how this is the outcome of a dehumanized bureaucracy with perverse incentives. I think CATO (Ronald Libby) has done the definitive study of this:
    This was pretty horrifying to read, but definitely worth it.

  13. #13 |  Lloyd Flack | 

    In this case Treadway has to know what happened to Siobahn Reynold’s husband. That would make any reasonable person at least question her actions. But she shows no indication of doing so.

    I can only conclude that she is willfully blind. I believe that she wants the buzz of seeing herself as a champion of justice and refuses to see the harm that she does. And Reynolds is challenging her righteousness. She wants to feel righteous so much that she becomes evil in order to have that feeling. The combination of a cause that one can see as rightous, linking one’s self image to that cause, a lack of sense of proportion, vindicativeness and unscrupulous ambition lead in her case to self righteousness, one of the most objectionable forms of evil.

  14. #14 |  Joe | 

    Pain is a complex subject. Pain reducing rugs alone are not the sole answer but they are a tool and should be treated as such. Often chronic pain (especially back pain) is a mix of physical and psychological. But a puritanical ban on drugs is not the answer either.

    The answer is dealing with pain and how to block it. Drugs are part of it, so are other therapies. But the current system just assumes you will be in pain for a week or two and basically leaves you on your own after that. This forces people to attempt to self medicate because medicine is failing them.

  15. #15 |  Know yourself… while you still can « Entitled to an Opinion | 

    […] Keith Humphreys asked Are There Libertarians Who Worry About Corporate Power? in the context of people who seek out providers for difficult to obtain pain medication. But even there the assumption was that some folks are essentially poisoning themselves, with the […]

  16. #16 |  Donna | 

    These tradgic events of people suffering are still happening and it’s been years later. When is that our rights to have our pain relieved are going to be aknowledged? Because of a few addicts they are torturing all these legal patients. 100 million people now. American’s we need to keep Sioban Reynolds work alive!! This can’t die with her. Here in Florida, pill mills were left to take over the state for years and now with new laws this has caused a crisis with Florida’s legtitmate patients. Innocent people are suffering!! Because the DEA has the pharmacies so afraid to fill for people with legal prescriptions. We are being told that the medicines are ordered and not being shipped, along with many other excuses. The states laws now allow pharmacies to turn people away because they don’t like how they look and many other reasons. This still doesn’t give them the right the say to people they are addicts for trying to get the medicines filled that they need for their pain. People are being turned away because they don’t live within a 10 mile radius of their store and your doctor??? This is absurd. People do travel to visit family members. If a Florida patient was to leave the state for a family visit somewhere else. They wouldn’t be treated like this. What is this?? because you have horrible pain, you can’t leave your neighborhood?? How communist is this? The new system that has now created, needs to be over hauled and BALANCED for fairness!! Patients, start printing out your Pain patient Bill of Rights and start signing the petitions that are trying to get around. They are on twitter and face book. We must fight back, we do have rights. Cars are not removed from roads because they cause fatal accdents. In fact it’s not the cars fault, like it’s not the pain medicines fault. It is the responsibilty of people. Don’t blame and punish everyone for some people’s bad choices. These people that abuse and die made a choice. They chose to take a risk. They lost. All we can do is teach safety and lock up and protect your medications. Total diversion will not stop but car accidents won’t stop either. I don’t see anyone out lawing automobiles.. Good grief, use common sense.
    The negative media and old statistics need to be updated. I’m sure they have gone down, a whole lot. I’m sick of hearing old news that happened 2009.
    It’s been 3 yrs. It’s time to change the conversations about pain. It is real. It is causing suffering. It needs to stop. 100 million people suffering with chronic pain in the US, not including the veterans or pallitive care or people under the age of 18. This has been reported by the Institute of Medicine, last summer.