The Amish. They're famous for their bakery, their beards, and their distrust of zippers. Because apparently their god hates zippers. And that's fair, because some gods hate pork, which is equally unreasonable.

Not much is known of Amish people other than the fact that certain laws don't apply to them on the basis of religious freedom. That, and that they speak the same language kids in horror movies speak once they've been possessed by the devil. Or, as it's known in certain circles: Pennsylvania Dutch.

But despite their vague legal immunities, it turns out that even the Amish are subject to the rules and regulations of the FDA.

An elderly Amish man named Samuel A. Girod (whose full name is presumably announced Game of Thrones style as Samuel A. Girod of Bath County, Kentucky; Member of the Old Order Amish Faith, and Recently Convicted Felon) was convicted of selling "herbal health products" that were not adequately labeled as required by federal law—and twelve other teensy-weensy charges, including threatening someone in an attempt to keep them from providing information to a grand jury).

And I know that "herbal health products" sounds like an obvious synonym for weed when put it in quotes, but the man wasn't selling drugs.

For the past two decades, Samuel A. Girod had been selling a mix of natural ingredients he claimed could help treat poison ivy rashes, psoriasis, and headaches. He sold his products throughout the Midwest, relying heavily on word-of-mouth promotion, which is still the only kind of social media the Amish are allowed to use.

Of course, this case raises many questions. Like, how did the FDA find out about this Amish guy's ointment? Did another Amish person call the Feds? If so, how? If phones aren't an option, did some jilted Mennonite write a complaint letter in stunning calligraphy and mail it off to Washington? Or does the FDA regularly patrol rural areas, just to make sure the Amish aren't selling anything illegal other than meth? And how the fuck does the FDA work? Because I'm 100 percent sure that those penis pills behind the counter at gas stations aren't FDA approved, but you can still buy them. So how are those safer than an Amish man's canister of creepy, caustic cream? Besides, if you're the kind of person who's willing to buy some sort of medicated topical salve from a man who doesn't trust electricity, it's already pretty clear that you don't care about your health, let alone federal law.

I'm not sure that I agree with the severity of Samuel A. Girod's punishment. A half dozen years is a long time to spend in prison for selling roadside remedies (and those twelve other pesky charges). I feel like a six year sentence should be reserved for more heinous Amish crimes, like smuggling meth across state lines while engaged in a high-speed chase in a horse-and-buggy. Or participating in some sort of weird sex cult, which, on second thought, is probably already a pretty big part of what being Amish is all about.

(Rick Vodicka)
(Rick Vodicka)