Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Felony for Health Care

James Verone drove a truck for Coca-Cola for 17 years. When his job ended three years ago, he had a hard time finding work. Eventually he would up working in a convenience store. The bending, lifting, and standing took a toll on him. Back trouble, foot trouble, arthritis in his hands, and carpal tunnel were all making his life painful. He found a something sticking out of his chest, and tried to get financial help to deal with his medical situation. He didn't qualify. Verone chose not to ask his siblings for help. He chose a different direction. He decided to rob a bank.

From the Gaston Gazette in Gaston County, North Carolina:

He handed the teller a note demanding one dollar, and medical attention.
“I didn’t have any fears,” said Verone. “I told the teller that I would sit over here and wait for police.”


Verone expected to be charged with bank robbery.

Because he only demanded $1, he was charged with larceny from a person. Still a felony, the count doesn’t carry as much jail time as bank robbery.

The bearded, gray-haired man plans to represent himself in court. He’s trying not to get too confident about his knowledge of the legal system. He just wants to prepare a statement for the judge and then take whatever active sentence he is given.

Verone is considering an ultimatum if the penalty isn’t great enough, he said.

The crime will happen again.

It's impossible to read this story and not think about different choices that James Verone might have made. The real story here is the desperation that he was feeling; desperation shared by increasing numbers of people in the United States - the only industrialized nation in the world that does not provide universal health care to every citizen.

cross-posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org

1 comment:

DissedBelief said...

So glad you addressed this story which is poignant regardless of an individuals opinion of our healthcare system. It remains ludicrous to me, that personal health, and life and death issues are FOR PROFIT. I term the system we have in our nation, as Health Apartheid. Because this is exactly what it is. It is segregated and discriminatory, determining who gets to live a healthy and fulfilled life and who doesn't. We are an international disgrace. For a nation that preaches and places demands on all others, our own high bar has dropped so low, I don't think we can stoop low enough to pick it up anymore.