There are a lot of angry people in Box Elder County. It's the Dr. Dewey MacKay thing.
I understand. Doctors heal people. Healed people are grateful. In a small town, a good doctor is widely loved.
But jurors convicted MacKay on 40 counts of distributing drugs. One person died. The prospect of 20 years in prison is not sitting well with those grateful people.
Hundreds, including prominent elected officials, wrote to the judge, who is clearly sympathetic. After last Sunday's column, a few wrote to me. Their stories of family members kept from pain, friends healed and MacKay's community service are, I am sure, sincere.
But his victims are writing, too, and they are furious.
They feel betrayed by MacKay, their elected officials and the judge, who continues to sympathize with MacKay.
Consider one father, whose name I will not use because he has enough trouble:
"It was a well-known fact throughout the drug community that he was the 'pain doctor.' All one had to do was to get an appointment, have a Brigham City address and complain about having something sore to get a three-month supply of Oxycodone.
"My daughter got caught up in this scam and, through the help of much older pushers, was paid money and drugs to visit him, obtain the prescription and deliver pills to Ogden locations for distribution and consumption.
"My daughter is struggling for her life, and I can lay part of the blame on this freewheeling pain doctor who chose to put (personal) gain in front of his oath. He is a thug dealing drugs and should be treated as one."
Cathy Moriarty runs Recovery Counseling Center in Brigham City.
"We had several people (both male and female) who were court-ordered into our counseling. They had originally gone to Dr. MacKay for pain issues or even went in and said they were having pain and the doctor didn't do any kind of follow-up work with them.
"He just prescribed whatever they wanted. Many of these people became heavily addicted to the meds, or used them to sell on the street and then went back for more prescriptions."
Tyler Wirick is the nephew of Dave Wirick, who died using drugs prescribed by Dr. MacKay.
"My uncle was a victim just like any person who overdoses on illegal drugs is a victim. Thank you for pointing out that MacKay had a fiduciary duty to my uncle to protect him, and MacKay had a professional duty to 'First, do no harm.' "
Tyler is a lawyer in Idaho.
"I've learned quite a bit about my 'great family guy, churchgoer, father, and Rotarian' friends and neighbors. I've defended a close friend who could be described as 'great' in family, church and fatherhood for embezzling tens of thousands of dollars, and a 'great' church friend for child abuse and DUI."
Good people do wrong. Former Penn State coach Joe Paterno saw his distinguished career destroyed because society does not tolerate child sexual abuse, even through simple failure to stop it.
On the other extreme, Catholic priests who molested altar boys got their wrists slapped by the church. The problem got worse.
Speaking of wrist slaps, MacKay still has his Utah license to practice medicine and to prescribe controlled substances. Both expire Jan. 31.
Utah has a hold on them so they can't be renewed, but as of Friday, the Division of Occupational and Professional Licensing confirmed, both are active.
On Thursday, federal District Judge Dee Benson ordered MacKay to forfeit $2,520 in proceeds from drug distribution.
Federal prosecutors wanted a lot more, but that's all the judge, who has repeatedly apologized to MacKay for the trouble he is having, would give them.