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Man Robs Bank In Order To Get Health Care

By Zachary Roth

Some people who need medical care but can’t afford it go to the emergency room. Others just hope they’ll get better. James Richard Verone robbed a bank.

Earlier this month, Verone (pictured), a 59-year-old convenience store clerk, walked into a Gaston, N.C., bank and handed the cashier a note demanding $1 and medical attention. Then he waited calmly for police to show up.

He’s now in jail and has an appointment with a doctor this week.

Verone’s problems started when he lost the job he’d held for 17 years as a Coca Cola deliveryman, amid the economic downturn. He found new work driving a truck, but it didn’t last. Eventually, he took a part-time position at the convenience store.

But Verone’s body wasn’t up to it. The bending and lifting made his back ache. He had problems with his left foot, making him limp. He also suffered from carpal tunnel syndrome and arthritis.

Then he noticed a protrusion on his chest. “The pain was beyond the tolerance that I could accept,” Verone told the Gaston Gazette. “I kind of hit a brick wall with everything.”

Verone knew he needed help–and he didn’t want to be a burden on his sister and brothers. He applied for food stamps, but they weren’t enough either.

So he hatched a plan. On June 9, he woke up, showered, ironed his shirt. He mailed a letter to the Gazette, listing the return address as the Gaston County Jail.

“When you receive this a bank robbery will have been committed by me,” Verone wrote in the letter. “This robbery is being committed by me for one dollar. I am of sound mind but not so much sound body.”

Then Verone hailed a cab to take him to the RBC Bank. Inside, he handed the teller his $1 robbery demand.

“I didn’t have any fears,” said Verone. “I told the teller that I would sit over here and wait for police.”

The teller was so frightened that she had to be taken to the hospital to be checked out. Verone, meanwhile, was taken to jail, just as he’d planned it.

Because he only asked for $1, Verone was charged with larceny, not bank robbery. But he said that if his punishment isn’t severe enough, he plans to tell the judge that he’ll do it again. His $100,000 bond has been reduced to $2,000, but he says he doesn’t plan to pay it.

In jail, Verone said he skips dinner to avoid too much contact with the other inmates. He’s already seen some nurses and is scheduled to see a doctor on Friday. He said he’s hoping to receive back and foot surgery, and get the protrusion on his chest treated. Then he plans to spend a few years in jail, before getting out in time to collect Social Security and move to the beach.

Verone also presented the view that if the United States had a health-care system which offered people more government support, he wouldn’t have had to make the choice he did.

“If you don’t have your health you don’t have anything,” Verone said.

The Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s health-care overhaul passed by Congress last year, was designed to make it easier for Americans in situations like Verone’s to get health insurance. But most of its provisions don’t go into effect until 2014.

As it is, Verone said he thinks he chose the best of a bunch of bad options. “I picked jail.”

(Photo: Ben Goff/The Gaston Gazette)

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The Young and the Unhealthy

American Diet is making our kids fat

Parents will always do their best to keep their children safe, but there are some who unwittingly sacrifice their children’s health by allowing them to eat potentially harmful junk food without thinking about the consequences. Dr. Joseph Mercola warns that children’s preferences for salt, sugar and fat in foods are a result of what they’re fed.

USA Today says, “Parents need to carefully consider the types of foods they give to young children at home and in restaurants … Repeated exposure builds taste preferences.”

The Alarming Truth about American Children’s Diets

According to British chef and food advocate Jamie Oliver, our food culture has changed so drastically over the last 30 years. He says that the majority of children today don’t know what fresh, whole foods are. He illustrates how the three aspects of the “food landscape”—home, school, and main street—have all abandoned real food in favor of quick, cheap, processed foods.

A recent study revealed that junk food constitutes almost half of the calories ingested by average two to 18-year-old Americans. The sources of empty calories included:

  • Soda
  • Fruit drinks
  • Pizza
  • Dairy desserts like ice cream
  • Grain desserts (cake, cookies, and doughnuts)
  • Whole milk

Dr. Mercola says that this type of diet is the reason why many children in the U.S. and other parts of the world are undernourished.

Sodas are quickly turning our children into diabeticsSoda and Junk Food Affects Children’s Food Choices

One factor that affects children’s food preference is brand awareness. Researchers observed the link between the taste preferences of more than 100 preschool children and their emerging awareness of fast food and sugary drink brands. All of the children were able to pair at least some products with the companies that produced them.

“Children who were exposed to junk food, soda, and fast food — via advertising and also because their parents fed them these foods — learned to recognize and prefer these foods over healthier choices,” says Dr. Mercola.

Junk Food Also Affects Children’s IQ levels

A separate study discovered that children who consume large amounts of processed foods, fat, and sugar at the age of three have a lower IQ when they turn 8 ½ years old. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2011/feb/07/diet-children-iq)

“Every one-point increase in the study’s dietary pattern score – a record of processed fat intake – was associated with a 1.67-point fall in IQ,” The Guardian reports.

On the other hand, children with healthier diets have higher IQ levels. For every measured increase in dietary score—meaning the child eats more fruits and vegetables—a 1.2-point increase in IQ was seen.

Parents are Responsible for Their Children’s Healthy Diet

Children will not know which foods are healthy unless you, as a parent, educate them. Learn more about proper nutrition and the dangers of junk food and processed foods, so you can change the food culture of your entire family. Lead by example, so your child will have the best start in life and develop healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime.

America is the leading country in children obesityDr. Mercola recommends reading his nutrition plan, which will be the foundation of healthy food choices for your family. He advises cooking meals at home instead of buying processed, ready-to-eat food from restaurants and fast food chains.

Use whole foods when preparing meals. These are foods that have not been altered or processed from their original state. Whole foods have been grown or raised as nature intended, without chemical additives, pesticides, and fertilizers.

Dr. Mercola also advises taking probiotics. Processed foods and junk foods increase bad bacteria, leading to poor gut health. Probiotics replenishes the good bacteria in your digestive system and maintains the ideal ratio between good and bad bacteria.* For children who dislike taking pills, taking a probiotic supplement in powder form is the best option.

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