James Richard Verone of North Carolina spent his whole life playing by the rules and staying out of trouble. Working as a delivery-man for Coca-Cola for 17 years, Verone was known as a hard worker and honest man.
Yet when he was laid off from Coca Cola in 2008, Verone was desperate to find work. He eventually found employment as a convenience clerk, yet he began to notice a protrusion in his chest. Then he developed arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome, and soon the pain became too much for him to bear. He filed for disability, but he was denied any sort of coverage by the federal government.
So earlier this month, as the Gaston Gazette reports Verone drove to a local RBC Bank and told the teller he was robbing them for a dollar. He said he wanted to rob the bank to go to jail and get medical coverage.
Verone told the local press he would like to serve in prison long enough to be able to get out in time. To collect Social Security benefits that he paid into his entire life. He also hopes to be able to retire along a beach someday. Verone says that he doesn’t regret landing behind bars and that he had no choice.
Between continuing life in pain and choosing prison, he is happy with his decision. “If I had not exercised all the alternatives I would be sitting here saying, ‘Man I feel bad about it,’” he said. “I picked jail.” The United States is the only wealthy country that does not offer comprehensive universal health care to every citizen. In no other rich country, anyone is facing such a choice.
Verone, unfortunately, caught a bad break. Instead of getting what he desires — a bank robbery charge that would get him about three years in jail. Followed by a Florida condo when he’s freed (via Social Security payments), he only slapped with “larceny from a person”. Which carries a much shorter prison term.
Maybe he should call the judge names at his trial for a charge of contempt of court.
Or, better yet, maybe lawmakers should realize that when Americans are willing to trade in their freedom for healthcare, they may stoop to more desperate measures than holding up banks for a buck.
Info source: Quora