Is the federal government torturing Brian Kolfage?

Brian Kolfage, an airman who survived losing both legs and an arm in Iraq, started a fundraiser to build a wall on our Southern border. The project took off, a lot of money flowed in, and the federal government promptly went after Kolfage, accusing him of defrauding those who donated money. This post is not about Kolfage’s guilt or innocence on the charges against him. It is, instead, about allegations that the government is effectively torturing him by denying him access to a medicine that controls the nerve pain resulting from his leg amputations.

We know that the government has been exceptionally vicious in its prosecution against Kolfage. It started when biased federal agents operating out of the Southern District of New York arrested this family man, who lives in a Florida home with his wife and two young children.

On August 20, 2020, the United States Postal Inspection Service sent 15 people to arrest Kolfage. Think about that for a moment: This is a triple amputee in a wheelchair, and they sent 15 armed officers to take him down. They then dragged Kolfage into a car that was not ADA compliant, leaving behind his wheelchair and his prosthetic limbs.

Donald Trump subsequently pardoned Steve Bannon, who was arrested on the same charges, but Kolfage is still in the government’s crosshairs. In addition, in May 2021, a federal grand jury in Pensacola issued a separate indictment against him, charging him with fraud and filing false tax returns.

Now, Kolfage has announced that the federal government is refusing to give him a medicine that handles the nerve pain he experiences in his amputated legs. (Phantom limb pains are common in amputees and, I have heard, they are excruciating.) The Gateway Pundit quotes Kolfage:

I literally can’t function with it.  I get severe nerve pain that feels like being stabbed in my legs every minute.  It’s the worst thing to experience over and over.

Anyone who has experienced nerve pain, whether from sciatica or a pinched or herniated disk, knows how bad it is. My experience with it gave me the sensation that a red-hot wire was running down my legs. In her last years, when my mother’s spine was disintegrating, her nerve pain was so extreme that she’d scream like a wounded animal if anyone even touched her skin along the path of those nerves. She needed a fentanyl patch to function.

Again according to The Gateway Pundit, the VA is refusing to prescribe that drug for Kolfage.

Now, it’s entirely possible that this is not true. It’s also possible that there is a medical reason for denying Kolfage access to the drug. And it’s also possible that Kolfage, even if he cannot get the medicine through the VA, can get it through a private doctor (although its price may be prohibitive for a man who’s presumably facing massive legal bills).

Still, reading the Fight 4 Kolfage website is illuminating and indicates that the feds’ charges (namely, that Kolfage was living high on the hog with other people’s money) were completely untrue. There is something very wrong going on here and, currently, I’m inclined to doubt the government.

Assuming that Kolfage’s claim -- that he’s deliberately being deprived of the only medicine that relieves excruciating pain – is true, what is one to call it other than torture? This is a man who has not been convicted – who is innocent until proven guilty under our legal system – yet the government is imposing cruel and unusual punishment against him.

So, I ask you: What the heck is going on here? Even assuming solely for the sake of argument that the feds legitimately believe that they have a rock-solid case against Kolfage, they are not supposed to be engaging in pre-conviction punishment. (Although that hasn’t stopped them with regard to the January 6 “paraders” either for, despite their not being convicted, they’ve spent months in solitary confinement and suffer serious abuse in prison.)

And even if Kolfage is legitimately found guilty, the Fifth Amendment is clear that the government cannot use cruel and unusual punishment against anyone, including felons. The government may think it’s being cute by saying that it’s not inflicting the pain, it’s just withholding medicine, but even a child could see through that.

Unless the government immediately explains why Kolfage cannot have medicine to calm his nerve pain, it’s reasonable to believe the worst of a federal justice department that has manifestly abandoned equal application of the law in favor of a heavy-handed partisanship against anyway who stands against Democrat policies.

Image: Brian Kolfage. Public domain.

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