Thursday, October 08, 2009

When Orchids Are Made Illegal, only Criminals Will Own Orchids.

We are all becoming criminals.  Here is yet another example of the Government overreaching its authority and criminalizing ordinary citizens who had no intention of breaking the law.

In 2006, Federal Agents burst through the door of the home Kathy and George Norris, 60 and 66 year old Grandparents of six grandchildren.  They ransacked the house, overturned drawers, emptied bookshelves, threw the Norris' belongings on the floor and searched their home.

Were these SWAT clothed agents from the FBI?  The ATF?  Homeland Security?

Nope.  They were from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service....and their mission:  Looking for illegal orchids.

That's right.  Orchids.  Seems that Mr. Norris, who owned a home-based business cultivating, importing and selling legal orchids, did the unthinkable:  he ordered perfectly legal orchids from a supplier overseas, but failed to fill out the necessary paperwork properly.  The result?  Mr. Norris spent two years in prison.

As Brian W. Walsh writes: 

The judge who sentenced George had some advice for the Norrises: “Life sometimes presents us with lemons.” Their job was to, yes, “turn lemons into lemonade.”

Never mind how difficult it is to run a successful lemonade stand when you’re a diabetic with coronary complications, arthritis and Parkinson’s disease serving time in a federal penitentiary. If only George had been a Libyan terrorist, maybe some European official would have lobbied to secure a health-based mercy release.
Common sense would tell you that a simple inquiry into the background of Mr. and Mrs. Norris would have shown that they were not smugglers, but simply two citizens that have done what many in Washington have done, filled out their paperwork improperly.  When a politician does this, its OK; when two grandparents do so, it means two years in a federal penitentiary.

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