3-29-2005 The "Pro Forma" War on Drugs

I grabbed the following exerpt from the Times Leader story Police: Shootings may stem from crackdowns.

Dessoye said the initiative has been effective in making drug dealers and users too wary to stay in the city because they would repeatedly get arrested.

A report issued by the city earlier this year indicated drug arrests had increased by 160 percent in 2004. Before the increased arrests, Dessoye said, the dealers were coexisting.

But that’s changing because of the shrinking customer base, he said. Dessoye said he expected to see changes in the interaction of the drug dealers.

“Once we really start damaging the drug trade, tempers started to flare,” he said. “With that much pressure put on them, there’s a variety of results that could happen. … I can’t apologize for it. This is what we got to do.”

The perfect resolution, Dessoye said, would be if the policy stops drug dealers from coming to Wilkes-Barre. He hopes to reach that goal under the policy.

So why is it that our less than law-abiding visitors from the bigger cities are making like Dodge City of late?

Did somebody make off with a Topps Ralph Garr rookie card? Is there some sort of simmering tension over the results of the last less than super Super Bowl? Did somebody boff somebody else's girlfriend? Could it be that a Cripp ripped-off some Blood's stash? Or is the city's underground economy in a state of flux with drug arrests soaring higher and higher of late?

I've noticed the recent shootings. And I really think that the latter explanation offered above is the most likely reason for the latest shoot 'em ups. If both the folks selling the drugs and those buying the drugs are finding themselves being arrested at alarming rates, I gotta believe some of those losers are fighting amongst themselves over a shrinking local market. If you think a 160 percent increase in drug arrests in a city of 42,000 is not a very big deal, you've probably smoked at least one illegal substance today. And by no means am I going off on a "Have you hugged a cop today?" tangent. I'm merely pointing out the painfully obvious. If the cops don't get 'em, they'll simply get each other. The cops have racheted up the pressure on the druggies, and it hasn't been a thrill ride of late for the big city dopers, or even the local brain cell-averse that they serve.

So what's not to like?

I just about coughed up an organ today while listening to Sue Henry's show on WILK. Some guy named Brian called and poo-pooed our top cop's comments published in todays Leader. I can't offer a word-for-word account of his gibberish only because his theories had about as much to do with reality as Kevin Lynn usually does. He said our mayor and police chief were making excuses. He said he gets around the county, so obviously he's of the all-knowing variety due to his extensive travels. (?) He said we need to clean up the graffitti and such. He also said that what Wilkes-Barre needs is for Mike Lombardo to come down here and clean up Wilkes-Barre much like he did in Pittston. And he sure sounded to me like someone with first-hand knowledge of the local drug trade. Lo and behold, near the very end of his brief visit with Sue, he admitted to being "clean for three years." ARGH!!! HACK!!!

Half way up the shoot came another of my organs.

In review, according to our clean and sober road warrior, Wilkes-Barre sucks, the city's top dog sucks to some degree, and likewise does the city's top cop. But what of Brian himself?

While there's no denying that I've been accused of having copious amounts of shrapnel embedded in my brain, aren't the Brians of the world the source of all of our drug problems in the first place? Is it me? If there were no customers for illegal drugs in the first f**king place, wouldn't the drug dealers quickly re-locate to Goshen, New York? Suffern perhaps? Picture Rocks? Heyna? If the Brians out there didn't need to escape whatever sh*tty reality they themselves created, would Luzerne County's largest city be a drug dealer magnet?

Methinks not.

I also think it's a pile of short-sighted sh*t to be hacking the jewels of a top dog and a top cop that have steered the city's course for a mere fifteen months. They've put in place an aggressive approach to combating the drug trade in this city, and judging by the 160 percent increase in drug arrests in 2004, it seems to be working. No good mayor, and no good police chief wants their city to have the image ours seems to be earning lately. But still the drug dealers toil away in this city. Why? Maybe Brian can 'splain it to us. It'd probably be something like while the supply of drugs has dried up to some degree, the demand for said drugs hasn't.

And, yes, it's true that the folks doing the shooting in this city, by and large, do not hail from this city. And, yes, it's true that the great preponderance of those folks are of the African-American (formerly Black) variety. But I seriously doubt that an all-out police assault on the worst of the black ghettos would put even a dent in the drug trade so long as the white kids from the white suburbs keep the demand for drugs at all-time highs. Brian? Want in on this?

And I honestly believe that this so-called War on Drugs is little more than a facade to make those of us that don't do drugs and don't shoot people over drugs feel better about our chances of not getting caught up in a drive-by shooting related to drugs. In my opinion, the War on Drugs, the DARE program and all of those stupid Ad Council anti-drug ads amount to less than a dime bag of oregano, or a gram of Sweet 'n' Low.

If the folks in Washington D.C. wanted to seriously curtail the flow of drugs into this country, it'd happen almost overnight. But, to make that come about, quite a few vulnerable regimes friendly to the U.S. would topple faster than some folks can snort through a short straw. Mexico? Columbia? The gringos want it and they got it. It's the only real cash crop for tons of poor farmers, lots more murderous drug cartels and the corrupt politicos they pay to look the other way for the most part. Eradicate the fields of future drugs? Clamp down on the borders and starve the poorest of the Mexican people? Should we destroy the poppies and with them Afghanistan's biggest export? Ain't gonna happen, kiddies.

The War on Drugs is all feel-good bullspit. It's a lie. We allow the stuff to enter the country in record amounts, and then we ask our police officers to risk their lives to stop it? We claim we can't afford enough border agents to inspect practically every vehicle entering this country from Mexico, but we then demand that the Wilkes-Barre Police Department end drug violence in our lifetimes? That's insanity on Barry Bonds juice. If the supply of drugs is what you want curtailed, turn your gaze towards Washington D.C., and not city hall here in Wilkes-Barre. And while the drug arrest statistics rarely reflect the truth of the matter, if you want the persistent demand curtailed, train your prying eyes on the white kids and not alone on the black kids. For every black drug dealer lurking out there, there's probably 100 white customers trying to find him.

It seems to me as if every time some black kid shoots another black kid somewhere in the Heights, there's someone willing and eager to express his discontent with those n-word types. And so long as no one near and dear to us, or a local white kid gets a cap put 'em, we're more than willing to giggle and laugh it all off as the work of those lawless n-word types. But while it's illegal to sell drugs and shoot the competitors that possess drugs, it's equally illegal to buy drugs and ingest drugs. That's where the white folks come in. If there's really a racial component to this unthinkable morass, I fail to see it.

What of our locked-down high schools? Drug use is rampant among the kids that fill our high schools halls. Everybody knows it. What are we doing about it? Zero tolerance policies? Are we all too drunk to think? When was the last time a drug-sniffing dog was given a guided tour of one of our city's high schools? They used to bring those dogs into Coughlin back when I was serving my sentence there. And we used to laugh ourselves silly at the sight of it. The only druggies in our school at that time were the vo-tech kids, and, again, everybody knew it. F**kin' A! For the most part, those slackers had frickin' roach clips attached to their jean jackets. Why not take the dogs up Jumper Road a ways? Too far to travel?

I'd be willing to bet that if a drug-sniffing dog was taken on an unannounced tour of, say, Wyoming Seminary, or Dallas High School; the parents of the upward bound, upper, upper middle class kids in those schools would be completely outraged and demanding someone's head on a Rubbermaid cutting board. I think those parents would be delighted to read of some fatherless black kid from GAR being arrested after drugs were found in his locker, but it'd be a different story if the cops came a checking on the kids with the silver spoons dangling just in front of their eyes. Or, around their necks. Their kids have futures. And it's generally assumed that the black kids from the Terrace have no futures to speak of. But as it pertains to illegal drugs, the only difference between the affluent white kids and the much, much less affluent black kids is the color of their skin.

Would a mom who nearly got gang-banged at Woodstock really care if her "innocent" kid was "experimenting" with drugs in '05? Would a dad stubbornly yearning for the days of dropping acid to Iron Butterfly's lone claim to fame really go apesh*t if junior was caught playing around with a date rape drug? Would the county commissioner, or the big city mayor be willing to risk too much police intervention right after study hall when we all "know" the drugs are in those other schools in Wilkes-Barre? Be honest. Why upset the Mercedes and Lexus crowd who just happen to fill the campaign war chests of the local politicos when we can grab a few headlines while persuing the Rainbow Rental welfare crowd? The rich kids are clean. It's those poorer kids we have to worry about. As if.

I don't mean to sound so god awful negative, but the way I see it, this entire War on Drugs smacks of a once serious pursuit gone pro forma policy. Thanks to politics, it's become one big, expensive put-on.

We allow the stuff to come into the country. And then we ask our cops to risk their lives day-in and day-out to make sure it doesn't end up in our communities. We pretend that only one demographic group is heavily involved in the drug trade while thanking god that another demographic group, that being our's, is pretty much excluded from the most invasive policing.

And then we've got dillweeds like Brian. He fails to understand that with little or no demand there'd be little or no supply. But he's all better now and hackin' away on Wilkes-Barre. Consider the source.

Do you really want to do away with illegal drugs in your neighborhood?

Demand better from the white folks that run the entire show from the very top right on down to the bottom.

And by all means, support your local police department.