What compels someone to commit unspeakable acts of violence? In the case of Jerad Miller, it was numerous run-ins with police, which included three marijuana arrests and subsequent incarceration.
On June 8, Miller and his wife Amanda killed two cops in a Las Vegas pizza shop, then declared. "This is the start of the revolution." Next, they went into a nearby Walmart and shot a customer before committing double suicide.
What drove the Millers to the conclusion that going on a killing spree was their only recourse is unclear. But in a country with more unstable people than ever who have access to guns, it's worth trying to figure this out. The Millers may represent the tip of an iceberg where disenfranchised Americans, frustrated with the sluggish economy and disenchanted with the government over its drug war police state are more and more willing to strike back and leave the world as martyrs in their minds.
It's easy to hate on the Millers. What they did is despicable. But it's harder to understand what specifically led them to become a two-person hit squad. Clearly, getting busted for weed and spending time in jail will change your world view. You want to lash out at the unfairness of the country's drug policies. But rather than protest the laws, they armed themselves and took revenge on officers who symbolized Jerad's captors. His hate for police ran so deep that he needed to make them suffer like he did when he was incarcerated. Had Jerad never been arrested and jailed for marijuana, would he have committed these heinous acts? I doubt it.
• In July 2003, Miller was charged in Anderson, Indiana with misdemeanor possession of marijuana/hashish. He pleaded guilty and served 78 days in Madison County Jail. Miller was required to pay $400 in fines and court costs, and undergo drug treatment. In addition, his driver's license was suspended for five months and he was placed on probation.
• In June 2007, Miller was again charged with possession of marijuana, hash oil or hashish with a prior conviction, as well as possession of paraphernalia in Tippecanoe County, Indiana. He was also charged with misdemeanor criminal recklessness with risk of bodily injury for pointing a firearm. Miller pleaded guilty to felony criminal recklessness, served another 90 days in jail, paid $160 in court costs and was placed again on probation.
• In December 2010, Miller was charged again in Tippecanoe County with felony trafficking and possession of marijuana, hash oil or hashish, as well as felony possession of a controlled substance. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced in April 2011 to 363 days in jail followed by two years of probation.
• In February 2013, prosecutors claimed that Miller failed to appear for probation appointments and submit urine for drug testing purposes. However, rather than spending an additional five months in jail, he was credited for good time served. Miller had a number of other charges and conviction on his rather long rap sheet.
At his infowars.com page, Miller wrote about how the arrests affected his life. "Before I got arrested I had 2 jobs and was selling weed to my friends and family on the side," he said. "Now I cannot find a job. My probation officer states that if I protest that my probation will be violated.... I was arrested for a crime, that is a felony, yet I hurt no one. Never laid a hand on a person or their property. Was selling something on the black market that is in high demand. Yet there is no victim in the crime I committed, so how can that be a felony charge? A charge that takes my 1st, 2nd, and 4th right away? How can this be? Do I really live in a free country?"
Good questions. Unfortunately, Jerad Miller's answer was to to go off the rails and take justice into his own hands.