I’ve often asked, “What kind of cruel government would make it illegal for people to buy pain medication?”

This question is usually contested by others, or they’re confused by my assertion, because most people don’t understand what I mean—since, you know, prescription meds are legal

Except they’re not. And here’s an example of what I’m talking about.

Recently, a 50-year-old man shot up a medical clinic here in Las Vegas, injuring two before killing himself.

The reports I’ve seen are vague and speculative, but apparently the guy was in so much pain (back pain), and wanted pain meds, that he went to the clinic where he was an ongoing patient, wanting to be seen (to get a script) without a scheduled appointment. When they refused, he opened fire, then turned the gun on himself.

Could this tragedy have been avoided, if pain meds were actually legal, as they would be in a free society?

Paying a state-licensed practitioner for the state’s permission to buy a state-controlled medication doesn’t make it legal; being legal means you simply walk into a distribution outlet and buy it. Or you buy it from a friend or acquaintance. Or you could even buy it on craigslist. That’s what “legal” means.

Jumping through all the state hoops and mandates, within a state-monopolized industry, and paying perpetually escalating prices as a result, doesn’t make it legal; it simply means you have to pay the state and its cronies first for the privilege.

And until, or unless, you do so, it remains illegal.

That’s completely different from something being legal, in my book.

This is also precisely why I often point out that as long as it’s likewise illegal to start a business, or to work in a skilled trade—or to work at all, really—the economy is going to continue to suffer and decline.