Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Legal Face of Evil

Once I had a friend who was a farmer. He is not a farmer any more. He is barely alive. The legal system nearly killed him.

He had a dream. He wanted to treat animals right, he wanted to treat customers right. He did not believe that diseased meat cleaned with ammonia was appropriate for human consumption. He had not had any experience as a farmer, so he abounded a successful engineering career and went to school again. Four years later he borrowed money from family, friends and the bank and started his own little farm.

He built a few raws of chicken coops, with enough space for chicken to move, and enough windows for them to see the light. He planted a few acres of vegetables, which he tried to grow without chemicals, and he started planting his first orchard.

But as small and insignificant as he was, he was a threat to the big corporates. After all, if they let him – and others like him – grow, who knows where it might lead. Maybe consumers would even start demanding quality and responsibility? This would have hurt large corporates' bottom lines, and cannot be just. Like vultures they circled above, waiting for the opportunity to shove him down the cliff. “Kill him young before he grew,” said the CEO of a big corporate.

And so they did. Hangmen, who have never worked a day on a farm – some would say they had never worked a day – would appear in their expensive outfits, holding death warrants. My friends tried to fight, after all they had no claim, but they had money.

The court dismissed their case, so they came with a new one, and my friend fought again. The court dismissed again, and they kept coming back. There was no respite. They knew how the system worked; they knew that no one could stop them from coming after my friend's farm over and again.

My friend never lost a case, but behind him stretched a long a trail of blood and money. And the corporates, smelling the blood, licked their lips, knowing that his end was near. By now, he was in debt, debt he could never repay. His farm was not the happy place any it used to be, as he would spend his time in court and not in the field.

What could have been a successful enterprise, the type that once built America and its economy has turned into a feeding frenzy for the winners.

“Kill them young they said,” their eyes already set on their next target.

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