The wait is over. The Haphazard Gourmet has named the winner of its raw milk slogan contest, a contest that actually grew out of a comment by Mark McAfee on this site about the “Viagra effect” of raw milk. I commend the Haphazard Gourmet for its good humor on this subject, since its writers disagree with most on this blog. Take a look for the winners.
There is another subject Mark commented on recently that hasn’t evoked nearly as much good feeling—in fact, it’s been only alluded to here and there in semi-hushed tones–and that’s the subject of guns and violence. An Observer and Concerned Person have expressed upset. Now poison food lawyer Bill Marler is tut-tutting on his blog, calling the comment Mark made on this blog in connection with the raid in Ohio on the Manna Storehouse “disturbing.”
Bill Marler’s decision to excerpt the entire comment suggests this feeling: Hey, we may disagree on whether the authorities should have gone after Mark on selling raw milk out of state, but when it comes to violence and guns, only the deranged can go along with this.
Well, maybe it’s time to take a closer look at what Mark really said. And what he said is that while violent resistance is a last-ditch measure, it’s something many could be forced into if recent trends of government heavy-handedness expand. The way I read it is that all Mark is doing is giving voice to the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
A few points about the amendment:
–It’s adamant that “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
–It’s listed second, only after the right of free speech and a free press of the First Amendment.
–It was just reinforced by the U.S. Supreme Court, in a major decision.
The reason Mark is raising the issue now is because we’re seeing more and more evidence of encroachments on assorted liberties, such as protection from unreasonable searches, in the form of police raids on farmers.
Mark doesn’t make such statements out of thin air. He notes in his comment on Bill Marler’s blog that he made the comments in connection with the raid on the Stowers family in Ohio earlier this month.
Mark comes from a family that has stood up firmly to questionable government actions. His father, Rodger McAfee, bailed out Angela Davis, a civil rights activist, in 1972, before she was put on trial for complicity in a courthouse murder—and acquitted (in link, see section under “Detention”). He raised the bail by pledging the farm from which Mark now produces unpasteurized milk.
This is a discussion that can quickly become highly charged. Mark alludes to the “tipping point,” but suggests quite appropriately that he doesn’t know exactly where it is. Nor do any of us. But wherever it lies out there, our government enforcers seem to be moving closer to it as they raid farms of peaceful families while waiving firearms.
It is also important to remember that our founders had experienced the abuses of an authoritarian government directly from the British, and considered armed resistance important enough to be made a key component of our constitution.
Mark is just giving expression to that, reminding us of the New Hampshire license plate’s admonition: “Live free or die.”
For the record, Mark has set a strong example of working within the system, such as earlier this year, when he was a major part of the effort to pass SB 201 to change the coliform regulation on raw milk in California. Now, he’s just initiated an effort to change the federal prohibitions on raw milk , filing an “FDA Citizen Petition” requesting that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration allow an exception to its ban on interstate commerce for raw milk, as follows:
“Raw milk that is tested, state inspected, state regulated, carries a ‘government warning statement’ and labeled for retail sale in one state may be transported to another state if that other state allows the sale of raw un-pasteurized milk and or dairy products.”
He and Christine Chessen of CREMA (they filed the petition jointly) argue in part: “Raw un-pasteurized milk that is tested and authorized by a state dairy regulatory agency for retail sale within a state is not the same raw milk that is produced as intended for pasteurization under the PMO (pasteurized milk ordinance). The standards and testing protocols are completely different.”