Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ohio "scrooges" raid home

Over the years, I have participated in various food co-ops with other families who are eager to purchase a variety of foods, in bulk, at affordable prices. I have never thought of it as a retail business, let alone criminal activity; apparently, some Ohio officials think otherwise.

The Stowers, a homeschool family of 10, appeared to be operating a similar food co-op, Manna Storehouse. Eager to comply with all requirements, the Stowers sought clarification of existing regulations in December of 2007. They never heard back until armed officers with guns drawn entered their home a few weeks ago and confiscated food and personal property. Officials held the family for over six hours - all for allegedly operating a "retail store" without a license. This YouTube tells their story.



This all seems a bit of bureaucratic over kill for a family whose only "crime" appears to be peddling organic whole wheat flour! Couldn't they have at least waited until after Christmas?!

The Stowers have retained the counsel of the Buckeye Institute and a lawsuit has been filed on their behalf.
The Buckeye Institute argues the right to buy food directly from local farmers; distribute locally-grown food to neighbors; and pool resources to purchase food in bulk are rights that do not require a license. In addition, the right of peaceful citizens to be free from paramilitary police raids, searches and seizures is guaranteed under the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution and Section 14, Article 1 of the Ohio Constitution.
I hope to contact the Buckeye Institute to find out how others can help the Stowers. Hopefully, this won't lead to my own arrest for random acts of charity on a blog without government approval.

(Thanks to Peg for sending me the link.)

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