Pubdate: Fri, 26 Jul 2002
Source: News Leader, The (VA)
Copyright: 2002 News Leader
Author: Sue Werner


I've lived in the Staunton/Augusta County area for some 40 years, and I 
wouldn't think of leaving this beautiful place, but I have read some recent 
articles and seen some recent letters that have me really upset.

How can an Augusta County man have to face 50 years for so simple a thing 
as a draw off a smoking apparatus? Regardless of whether he is guilty or 
innocent, he's still a person in this community who has a wife and 
children, someone who has worked to give his children the best life he could.

The Bible says, "Judge not, lest you be judged." Some of us could really 
use that passage from our Heavenly Father right now!

A few years ago, when our president, Mr. Bill Clinton, told us on national 
television he puffed off a marijuana joint but never inhaled, I didn't see 
him being imprisoned awaiting sentencing. Was this because he was our 
president and not just a common person that this demeaning injustice had no 
bearing on him?

People are allowed to smoke cigarettes, drink, curse and do all types of 
crimes but yet I still haven't seen anyone getting 10 to 50 years for a 
little puff of smoke.

I also have another fact at hand. During the Vietnam War, many of our 
soldiers came home addicted to morphine, but no one is imprisoning them, 
because it's not their fault they had to serve our country over there. But 
morphine is a far worse drug than marijuana. In different articles, I have 
read that physicians have stated that marijuana is helpful to patients with 
glaucoma and certain kinds of cancer.

I personally do not believe in smoking (anything), drinking or any kind of 
self-destructive behavior, but as an American I will defend anyone's 
constitutional right to be stupid. Many have fought for this since leaving 
England or whatever homeland they may have had. That's what freedom is all 

I believe that Mr. Phillips has not been treated fairly, and that our 
community should rise up in defiance of what appears to be a corrupt 
judicial system, and in support of his displaced family. If you don't, 
maybe your family will be next. Now, more than ever, we need to be "One 
nation, under God."

SUE WERNER, Fishersville
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