I keep looking for the one story that will galvanize America, that will show the nation that we’re a better country than what we allow to go on every day. This could be that story (h/t)

James Richard Verone woke up June 9 with a sense of anticipation.

He took a shower.

Ironed his shirt.

Hailed a cab.

Then robbed a bank […]

Until last week Verone had never been in trouble with the law.

Now he hopes to be booked as a felon and held in prison where he can be treated for several physical afflictions.

The Gaston Gazette tells Verone’s entire story, and it’s familiar – he was unemployed, took a low-paying job, developed medical ailments, couldn’t pay the bills. So he went to RBC Bank in Gaston, and asked for one dollar. The ensuing booking by the cops would at least get him some needed medical attention.

Only Verone made the mistake of asking for too little. One dollar turns out to be not enough to count as a bank robbery; Verone will end up being charged with a lesser crime. However, while in a holding cell awaiting trial, he has “seen several nurses and has an appointment with a doctor Friday.” He is free to go on just a $2,000 bond but he has decided not to pay it, in order to continue to receive care.

Verone’s predicament is not unlike many of the lower class in America, and he even has a couple solutions.

But he has a lot to say on the subject of socialized medical care. He suspects he wouldn’t be talking to a reporter through a metal screen wearing an orange jumpsuit if such an option were available in the U.S.

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

Verone said he planned to rob again if he is not sent to jail and given proper medical treatment. This is what we’ve come to in America, where some people long for the safety and security of prison.

David Dayen

David Dayen

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