Why Not Just Give Fatties Crack?

In this LA Times Article a judge sentenced a man to jail time for driving with a suspended license and then told him that she would let him out a day early for every pound he lost.  According to the article:

He had discussed his desire to lose weight with Miller in court while asking her to delay his jail stay for a week so he could retrieve his prescription medicine for high blood pressure.

She imposed a 29-day sentence and offered to assess his weight-loss commitment after 20 days behind bars. He credited his weight loss and nine-day reprieve to encouragement from detention deputies, bland jail food and Miller.

Put another way, in order to get out of jail, he went on a starvation diet (“he limited his intake mostly to vegetables on his dinner tray”) and lost 25 pounds in 20 days.  The judges response, contained in a personal note that she wrote to him upon release was a’Good job, Mr. McCovery!”

So I guess maybe the “vegetables on his plate” included tofu or legumes or something to give him protein over the 20 days, but it’s more likely that they were canned, devoid of most nutrients, and that a combination of starving and dehydration led to the weight loss.

How misguided is this?  Let me count the ways…

People want to get out of jail pretty badly – let’s not encourage them to starve themselves so that they can go home and act like we’re helping them with their health. And if we’re the detention deputies, let’s not encourage starvation.  And when they do starve themselves, let’s not tell them “hey, awesome job with that starvation, keep it up!”

This is what The Biggest Loser has wrought. We encourage and praise fat people as “working on their health” for the exact same behavior that we treat as a dangerous eating disorder in thin people.

This is what happens when we treat weight loss as the primary goal instead of as the possible, typically temporary,  side effect that it actually is.  Weight loss doesn’t cure anything.  Weight loss just makes you smaller, (and 95% of the time that’s temporary).  Weight loss is not the answer.  Health interventions improve your health (and may or may not have a side effect of weight loss that may or may not be temporary).

If  losing weight by any means necessary makes us healthier then we should just hand out crack to fat people.  It makes as much sense as starving us and injecting us with a hormone derived from preganant women’s urine. It also makes as much sense as acting like the hormone injections are what leads to weight loss and not the fact that people are on a 500 calorie starvation diet that would have a thin person in treatment for an eating disorder.

Fat is not a diagnosis and weight loss is not a treatment protocol and we should not prescribe for some what we treat in others.  Fat is a body size and weight loss is an attempt at changing that body size and starving is starving no matter what your weight.  That is why we don’t just give fatties crack and is exactly the reason why we need to take weight out of the discussion of public health and make health the topic of discussion around public health.

This blog is supported by its readers rather than corporate ads.  If you feel that you get value out of the blog, can afford it, and want to support my work and activism, please consider a paid subscription or a one-time contribution.  The regular e-mail subscription (available at the top right hand side of this page) is still completely free.   Thanks for reading! ~Ragen

Published in: on November 28, 2011 at 5:32 am  Comments (28)  

28 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Not only that, what medical training did this foolish judge have that enabled her to make this “medical assessment”? We have given our judges entirely too much power in this country to make ugly and abusive assessments on things that don’t remotely pertain to the cases they try. Judge Judy, the Divorce Court judge, et al – they all seem to feel they have the right to make abusive comments on the choices of everyone who walks through their courtrooms. Judgment has become the right of the elite in this society, and that’s a sickness all in itself that contributes to the exact same judgments we fatties hear from others. It’s the same sickness. It’s not just fat acceptance – it’s acceptance of people who are “different” without equating that with “lesser.”

    • Where is the “like” button on this blog? You’ve nailed the problem entirely here. If you or I tried to practice medicine without a license these selfsame judges would throw us in jail! Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Obviously, too many of our judges, drunk with the power that comes from adjudicating cases that derrive from giving the government at all levels entirely too much power over people’s lives, recognize absolutely no limit to the “creativity” of their sentencing or other decrees.

      • Thanks Robert, and that’s an excellent point – maybe we should just try practicing law without a license, after all it’s just common sense right!

        ~Ragen

  2. Let’s not forget the outright discrimination…the judge gave this guy an option that a thin person – or someone who doesn’t want to lose weight – or someone who can’t lose weight …would not get. What if this guy doesn’t/didn’t (I don’t know the result) lose the weight…she would effectively be imprisoning the man for 9 days for being fat!!!

    They already take away fat people’s benefits, pay, and dignity…and in some places at some times, even their children or right to adopt and such….when are they going to start putting people in jail for being fat?!? Looks like this judge already did. It makes me nauseous.

  3. Oh this is scary! It’s not like his size had any connection with his offense, nor does weight loss show remorse, so why in god’s name is it connected to the length of his sentence? Ridiculous!

    • Showing that you’ve made an effort at conforming to society’s preconceived notions of what you should look like = being a good person, don’t ‘cha know?

    • Yes, the whole thing is a travesty. If it’s reasonable to let him out of jail for something as irrelevant as weight loss, he should be let out anyway, and anyone who belongs in there isn’t going to become less dangerous or more law-abiding by virtue of dieting.

  4. Yay! Now weight loss is not only the solution for all health problems, it is evidently the solution to ALL problems. Want an A in math class? Lose weight. A promotion? Take off ten pounds. Want to know how to end the war on terrorism? End your war on the eyes of poor college boys who just want to go out in public without seeing a fatso, just once. We all know fatties don’t deserve freedom or health. /end sarcasm.

    Seriously, why don’t they stop beating around the bush just start arresting people for being fat. Watching television for ten minutes will tell you it’s the worst crime you can commit.
    Okay, just needed to rant.

    • This is the best rant I’ve ever heard. You’re 100% correct. :)

  5. Adipose tissue and criminality are now linked and enshrined in a judgement that can (and will) be used as a precedent. Being a thinner person has now been equated in law to being a better citizen.

    (Separate issue: why are people being jailed at a cost of $50,000 a year for something as inane as driving without a license, in a state that can’t cover its education bills?)

    • Because western society believes that offense requires punishment/vengence/retribution. It’s a stupid idea, I agree.

    • I think driving without a license is not what you think it means. Driving without a valid license could mean it’s been revoked for very good reason (reckless driving, DUI etc.). You don’t think drunk drivers should lose their license?

  6. I hope there is more to the story than what was stated in the article. That man should have to do his time, no matter what, (yes, Linday Lohan, you too!) Jail isn’t frickin monopoly. They shouldn’t make a game out of this. So stupid.

  7. I just don’t get the strange logic of society. Apparently, no way of eating and no amount or type of exercise can possibly be healthy unless it makes you thin, and no behaviour, no matter how extreme, can possibly be unhealthy if it makes you lose weight. How on Earth does that even make sense?!

  8. Crack? That’s ridiculous. Why give anyone something that will damage their health to improve their health? It must not be about health at all! I’ve been reading your blog for a while now and this really came together for me because of this analogy. Doesn’t matter if it’s crack, or diet pills (basically the same thing), surgery, starvation diets. They all harm a person’s health, not improve it.

    • Don’t get sarcasm much, do you?

  9. Correcxt me if I am wrong, but didn’t they legalize medical gtrade amphetamine or equivalent for the fatty fatties before they legalized medical marijuana – in a really stupid manner, mind – to terminal pain patients? :/ that says a lot about the priorities of this society.

    • Yes they did. Just this last Friday I had to deal with this. One of my probationers (yes, I work in Adult Probation), started complaining about hip pain a couple months back. Turns out she had a healed fracture, no clue how she got it. It was recommended she drop weight to help her feel better. She wants to exercise it off (walking, basic aerobics), but the doctor is concerned that will hurt her further. Offered her amphetamine on Friday. Now, she has a substance abuse problem, something her licensed physician is well aware of. She said no. We would have said no as well, for diet purposes. ADHD, ADD? We won’t fight the script. This is not medically necessary. She’s gonna go back and ask for physical therapy. It’s insane that doctors and people are willing to give themselves highly addictive drugs to be culturally accepted.

  10. I don’t know about crack, but crank sure works well. Doesn’t leave people healthy or attractive, but they get thin real quick, and look like hell. Everybody feels qualified to give advice about weight loss, I had to put up with a bunch of it during my T-giving meal from an evil aunt. Even my mom doesn’t do that to me anymore. Pissed me right the hell off.

  11. I have had plenty of friends on amphetamine’s to lose weight – its sad because their personality completely changes on it. They lose weight. Celebrate their new life and then it comes back and then some. And the doctors are all to willing to prescribe again.

    Don’t call it speed around them though – that’s offensive I have found out.

  12. I don’t accept that fat is a medical illness but even if it was, it’s not the courts’ place to comment on any medical situation the people it sits in judgement of may or may not have.

  13. Read this, please.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/27/200-pound-boy-ohio_n_1115213.html?icid=maing-grid7|maing11|dl1|sec3_lnk1|116023

    Does it bother you as much as it bothers me? I realize we don’t have all the facts but it is still cause for grave concern!

    • And don’t you just love all those people in the comments saying ‘By letting him get that fat his parents are setting him up to get bullied…’

      Um, no. Just, no. If a child is bullied for being fat, it’s the fault of the goddamn bullies. Nobody else.

      • exactly. I agree.

  14. This is SAD. Even our “experts” are misguided on the made-up “obesity epidemic”, by a dishonest adjustment of the BMI (which was never intended to be used the way it is now)….so a judge has no business doing something this stupid.
    GO BE YOURSELF, AND STOP OBSESSING ABOUT YOUR WEIGHT. LIVE IN BALANCE.

  15. Right, losing weight totally addresses the fact that he was driving with a suspended license and showed him that he needed to get a legal driver’s license when he got out of jail early……NOT! Not only did the judge not administer the legal punishment due him, she encouraged him to do damage to his health in the name of “health” (thinking that being thin = being healthy). That’s a judge who needs to stick to jurisprudence and leave medicine to doctors.

  16. What a disturbing story. I don’t know how you find these things but I’m glad people are getting to hear about them.

    “This is what The Biggest Loser has wrought. We encourage and praise fat people as “working on their health” for the exact same behavior that we treat as a dangerous eating disorder in thin people.”

    —-This is a hard thing for me to reconcile as well. I see everything as ED behavior or not, and I DO believe that dieting is disordered eating. I don’t think people who haven’t been through a legitimate eating disorder will be hard pressed to accept that.

  17. I was given amphetamines by a doctor as a weight loss treatment. Legalised, prescription amphetamines, but they were amphetamines none the less. They weren’t even mild doses. It was prescription speed and it was probably the most dangerous thing that anyone prescribed in the name of weight loss.

    I am quite sure that crack, heroine and various other drugs have been prescribed or sanctioned at various times for weight loss.

    It and the story of the judge and inmate you have shared above illustrate just how screwed up we are as a culture about fat. We’d rather ANYTHING than fat – even a junkie.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: