Many of you have asked for a Sam Girod update, but first…
Readers. Friends. Surely someone knows SOMEONE. We MUST spread this story far and wide to increase the chances of reaching the right person, the one who will end the madness for this Amish father of 12 who was thrown into jail 11 weeks ago (the whole story is below). Sally Oh, friend of Sam Girod, says, “Signatures on the petition are over 20K — yay! — but have now slowed to a crawl. I know we've exhausted our local contacts and friends' list. We can't just keep pestering the same people to “sign and share”. We need to get the word out on a bigger scale, to reach outside our immediate circles.”
Here's the back-story:
Sam Girod is a peaceful Amish farmer from Kentucky who made and sold homemade salves, the type that anyone could make in their kitchen. These salves have never hurt anyone (did I mention, NO ONE?), and his “crime”? Rape? Murder? Drug dealing? Nope, not even close. His crime was mislabeling his homemade “product”, according to the FDA. So he changed the label. They said it wasn't good enough. He changed it again. Years later they came after him again. Then he missed a court hearing that he didn't even realize he was supposed to attend. It went from bad to worse from there…
Here's where I heard about it and shared a post that went viral: Amish Father of 12 Thrown in Jail, and this follow-up: Unbelievable Update on the Amish Farmer Trial. You can read the details there, but basically he represented himself, which did not work out well, and he was really, truly, in the United States of America, convicted on ALL 13 COUNTS! He was denied his request to go home to wait for sentencing in June. He had to stay in prison “because of his previous fugitive status”, which was absolutely bogus. He's still there. It's just beyond comprehension.
A side-note about the top photo:
It's from Sally's Facebook page, where she shared the following…
This is Michael Fox (the bit of bald head at the tip of the arrow) “surrounded” by the Amish outside the federal courthouse right after Sam was convicted. (All Amish faces are covered.)
Fox is Sam's stand-by attorney appointed by the court. On day one of the trial, Fox shredded the FDA's witness who said the Amish surrounded and threatened him and his partner who showed up at the property to do a search and were refused entry (by a Bath county Sheriff, no less, who also testified that the agents were lying about being threatened.)
After Fox shredded that witness, the judge decided that Fox could no longer cross examine for Sam and FORBADE him to do so. That's fair, right?
But the picture illustrates perfectly how the Amish “surround” you. They just want to hear what you are saying!
The two FDA agents were surrounded by a large, peaceful Amish family while trying to conduct a questionable search. Their guns and badges did not intimidate the family.”
So now he waits. I asked Sally Oh for more about how Sam is doing…
Sam is in Fayette County prison on old Frankfort Pike in Lexington until sentencing on June 16th. I've been there many times holding drug and alcohol counseling meetings. It's huge and gray, just as awful as can be. Sam has a 5-person visitor list (no more than 5) which of course are all for family, so I haven't seen him. The last report was that he was not doing great, feeling down. No surprise. The chaplain there is incensed by this whole thing. He wrote to Trump and everything.
The worst thing I would imagine (besides the food and being without his family) is the lights and bells and cage. Not being able to be outside. The Amish don't use electricity — Sam's never been in so much electricity in his entire life. Now there are doors slamming, whistles blowing, fluorescent lighting from dawn till lights-out. TVs, loudspeakers… I try to imagine what that's like for him. It must be completely foreign, like Robinson Crusoe lands on Manhattan.
I think there are two options now for Sam…
- Sheriff Mack thinks that because Sam's sentencing date was set so far away from conviction, the judge may give him time served or a very short sentence. Mandating, of course, that Sam can never make his salves again.
- The other option is a harsh 20+ years. Early on, I called several hi-profile attorneys asking for help for Sam (Sam was still using an attorney then). When those attorneys heard who the judge was, they ALL laughed out loud and said, “Sam's done. That's the hanging judge.”
I know I am not alone in being heartbroken about this. It is also terrifying to think a thing like this could ever be taken so far here in the land of the free. And that our elected officials could be so silent.
What would it take to get them to speak up, I wonder?
If you know any radio or TV hosts, any bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers — mainstream or alternative, no matter size of audience — please put me in contact with them. You can comment here. Share with me any news outlets that might talk about Sam. They all have an audience of “new” people, that's how we can get those signatures climbing again. I'll talk to anyone anytime. We are not alone in our efforts. Sheriff Richard Mack is working hard to free Sam as are others closely working with Sam's family.
If Sam is really going to spend the rest of his life in prison over a labeling infraction — charges made up out of thin air by an out-of-control federal agency, with not a single victim — the world needs to know. Apparently you and I are the only ones who can make that happen.
There is literally an ocean of people out there who have no idea this is happening in their own backyards. If this could happen to Sam, it can happen to anyone. With very very few exceptions, everyone who knows about Sam's story is touched by it and moved to act. I love the love and passion that surrounds him on the outside and on the inside, too, from what I've heard.
Every once in a while, do a Facebook post asking your friends to sign and share the petition (bit.ly/freeamishsam) if they haven't done so. I know the thousands of people on my FB friends' lists have not all signed and shared, so I'll keep mentioning it too.
The only hope I can see is from Trump, a presidential pardon.
Rand Paul, our liberty Senator, and Matt Bevin, our liberty Governor, are both studiously ignoring the situation. I don't understand that but I hold little hope that either of them will pick up the flag. I just don't know why both of them aren't all over this. They both campaigned on federal agency over-reach! Although, Trump and Rand did play golf over the weekend…
Another Sam Girod update — a recent post by Edwin Shank from the Family Cow: Rosa Parks was a Criminal
Pinch me quick. Is this really America…? Are we still in the land of the free?
Our friend, Sam Girod, Amish grandfather, Kentucky farmer and herbal salve maker has been convicted of all 13 charges thrown against him by the FDA. I'm serious. This is not funny, nor are we in a communist country. This is real news from America and to a real family that we know.
The federal judge who is appointed to the case will sentence Sam on June 16th. If the judge fully sanctions the FDA's case, this peaceful, 57 year old grandfather could be sentenced to 68 years in prison. If you'd like a sneak preview of the judge's leanings, maybe his response to Sam at the close of the trial gives us one. Sam respectfully asked if he could go home to his wife and children between now and his June sentencing. The judge flatly denied the request. Sam is still in jail held without bail. Understand… neither Sam nor his herbal salves have harmed anyone.
How did such a miscarriage of justice happen? What could a jury of 12 fellow Americans have possibly been thinking to hand down a verdict like this? I wish there was a short easy answer, but there really isn't. Here is a detailed daily report from a person who attended the three day trial.
So, yes, Sam Girod is now a convicted criminal. Are you shocked? Maybe you shouldn't be. I think I'm seeing a pattern here. Is it maybe even a pattern of hope?
Yes… There is Hope! (Stick with me a bit as we do some back time travel).
Rosa Parks was a criminal. She was. She broke state law. She was arrested and went to jail for it.
Jim Blake, the white bus driver who threw her off his bus and the Alabama police who arrested her for daring to sit while a white man stood, were the good fellows just doing their jobs… keeping law and order.
Mordecai was a criminal too. King Ahasuerus (Xerxes I of Persia) had ordered everyone to bow to his newly promoted Chief Prince, Haman. But Mordecai refused to bow… and not just once. He “transgressed the king's commandment” daily even as the rest of the King's servants bowed and urged him to comply. So really, who can blame the good, law-abiding Chief Prince Haman for preparing a 75 ft gallows for Mordecai the criminal? He wasn't revengeful or over-reaching. It was a law thing. One had to enforce the King's law. (Read the book of Esther in the Bible to see how that turned out for Haman.)
Even Harriet Tubman was a criminal. She had the audacity to not only escape her own cruel, abusive master, but to go against the law and to help nearly 1000 other slaves escape. (At one point Harriet had the equivalent of a 1.2 million dollar reward offered for her capture dead or alive.) The good, law-abiding folks of her day dutifully captured freedom running slaves, violently dragging them back in chains to their owners.
Corrie Ten Boom and her family were criminals too for risking their lives to hide and help 100's of Jews in 1943. Their fearful neighbors who betrayed the Ten Boom family to the Gestapo were just doing their civil duty.
Now in 2017, Amish farmer, salve maker Sam Girod is a criminal…
It's not my point to encourage lawlessness or civil disobedience. Sam particularly was not engaging in civil disobedience at all. He was simply a farmer minding his business making three types of herbal salves for happy customers as he had for the last 16 years. Read the full story of how Sam stumbled in front of FDA bureaucracy over a salve labeling technicality and has been trampled underfoot and unable to rise ever since. The story is disturbing in its commonness.
It is extremely clear that Sam is not a criminal at all in any normal sense of the word.
At the most, he has been a bit naive as a country farmer who underestimated the serious aggressiveness that the federal government exerts to crush any irritant no matter how small and no matter what the cost to the taxpayer.
Rather, my point is that all of these ‘criminals' had in common a basic sensibility, a strong moral compass and a simple faith in God that good would triumph over evil. They all had the humble simplicity and God-given instinct to know right from wrong and sense from non-sense even when the law of the day had it backwards. None of them ever were criminals in the normal sense of the word. Yes, they all were imperfect humans with whom critics and faultfinders can always find some failure. But they all were at the same time extraordinarily honorable, well-meaning, brave and heroic persons. They all suffered tremendously for their stand. They all found themselves misunderstood even by their peers and classified as wrongdoers and on the wrong side of the law of their day.
March 2017 is not the first time that there has been a grievous miscarriage of justice. It is not the first time that good has been called evil and evil good. And it’s absolutely not going to be the last time either. The problem is as old as humanity itself.
But God's Justice has a way of working these things out.
“Though the mills of God grind slowly; Yet they grind exceeding small.” ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Today Rosa Parks and all the rest of these truly “non-criminal, criminals” are internationally lauded as heroes. Upon her death in 2005, Rosa Parks became the first woman and third non-US government official to lie in honor at the USA Capitol Rotunda. The US Congress has named her “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement.” How is that for a status swing!?
And as for Mordecai… every year for the last 2,500 years, Jews all over the world commemorate the Feast of Purim to celebrate his ultimate triumph along with his niece Queen Esther and God's people over wicked Haman.
Harriet Tubman and Corrie Ten Boom to this day are lauded around the world for their bravery, integrity, sense of morality and personal common sense and their selfless service… willingly putting their own lives and freedom on the line for what they knew was right.
How will Sam's story end? We can't see the future so we do not know how long the wait will be, but I do have total faith in God that Truth and True Justice will triumph over Error, Tyranny and raw power. It always has. It always will.
“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” ~Romans 8:28
I Have A Dream!
I have a dream… that one day… one day in our great country little FDA boys and little FDA girls will join hands with little farmer boys and little herbal salve maker girls. I have a dream that they will together live up to that creed that all men are innocent until proven guilty. I have a dream!
I have a dream that one day farmer Sam's three little herbal salves will not be judged and incriminated by the story of their effectiveness but by the content of their ingredients. I have a dream today!
Sorry, Martin Luther King Jr…. Your original was so much better. I hope you don't mind my playful borrowing.
More from Edwin…
Four Steps to HELP Sam & Elizibeth now:
1. Support the Girod Family via the GoFundMe Account. Owen Yoder, a family friend has set this up. 100% of the money received will go to the Girod family. Their financial loss is real. Their family salve business is shut down and even their farm work, according to the sons, is hindered by court dates, hearings, and of course daily taxi and travel expense for visits to see their father who is 40 miles away in Lexington KY. Even if all you can give is $10… Every little bit will be meaningful to the family.
2. Sign the Free Sam Girod Petition. Sally Oh, a neighbor and good friend of the family has started this petition to show public sympathy and support for Sam. The goal is 50,000 signatures. The signatures are growing rapidly. With your help the goal could be reached!
3. Send the Girod Family a Personal Card or Letter. Address it to:
Sam & Elizibeth Girod & Family
409 Satterfield Lane,
Owingsville, KY 40360
I have shared this address before and apparently many of you have already sent them something. THANK YOU! Several of Sam’s sons have called me and emphatically expressed how much the cards and letters from you Family Cow friends have meant to the whole Girod extended family. Remember, these folks are Amish so they do not have email, computers or radio. They do not even have phone or fax in their home but call from a friend’s house if they need to use the phone. They live in a world where hand written communication is pretty much the way long distance communication is done. So this is speaking their language!
4. Continue to Pray. Prayer is powerful. Prayer changes things. Prayer moves the heart of God and we know that the heart of the king is moved by the hand of God. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man [and woman] availeth much.” ~James 5:16
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have legal contact info to share with Sam or his friends and family, please send any and all legal advice, lawyer suggestions, thoughts, etc. to: [email protected]
We at The Family Cow are too separated geographically plus are not legal advisers to Sam and his family. So please do not send your ideas and tips to us. The Free Sam Team are folks who are closely connected to Sam. They will not be able to respond to all info that is sent, but they do appreciate your thoughts and ideas and will make the best use of all that they can.
Your Farmer – Edwin Shank, for The Family Cow Team
More on Sam Girod's story:
- My original posts on this craziness: Amish Father of 12 Thrown in Jail and Unbelievable Update on the Amish Farmer Trial
- More Sam updates
- Sam's story on their local TV station
- Give to the GoFundMe account here: Support Sam Now.
- Call or email your legislators, both Federal and state, even if you don’t live in Kentucky.
- Email the Attorney General here.
- Email President Trump directly here.
- ***Here is Sam's sentencing update from 6/30/2017
More that you might like:
- Need help knowing what to buy at the store and which food is REAL food? Click here for my book, Real Food for Rookies.
- How MOMS may be Hurting Local Farms More than Monsanto (& Why Farmers Markets are Shrinking)