5-21-2006 The imaginary "War on Drugs"

I climbed from the rack this morning to find crime-related stories in both of our newspapers. For some, crime and Wilkes-Barre seem to go hand-in-hand, but it needs to be pointed out that societal decay is certainly not limited to Wilkes-Barre. But you already knew as much.

From what I could gather by talking to those who reside in our neighboring communities, the violence-prone drug dealers scare them the most, followed closely by the street urchins that appear to call Public Square home on the sunniest of days.

I can tell you from first-hand experience that the great majority of the street people are more a danger to themselves than to any of us. Ask a cop about all of that. More often than not, cops look for an excuse to arrest them, if for no other reason than to protect them from themselves. Like when they deviate from their normal pan-handling routine to confront the ex-CIA, black opts guys spying on them from the middle of the river. If you’d all just give them your spare change as requested, they’d likely saunter on down to the liquor store and forget all about the imaginary intelligence-gathering spooks.

There’s a regular on Public Square who looks as if he graduated from Charles Manson University at the very top of his class. One day, while Gage and I were taking a Herr’s cracker break during a rather long bikeabout, this guy approached us with something in his hand. Now, if I was your average resident, I would have either run away, or grabbed the nearest cell phone and dialed 911. Not being your average resident, I knew that a baton was ready to go in my pocket and I couldn’t wait to hear what he had to say.

He walked up to Gage and handed him three pieces of raison bread explaining that the disinterested pigeons Gage was offering miniscule cracker crumbs to just love their raison bread. And with that, he bid us adieu, Gage flicked some hearty raison bread shards to the ground and the pigeons flocked to Gage faster than Barry Bonds can consume copious amounts of animal tranquilizers and whatnot.

Homeless people and suchlike are not nearly as dangerous as most folks make them out to be. Well, that is, unless they mistakenly believe that you are the NSA spook who planted the eavesdropping devices in their loaves of raison bread.

From The Times Leader:

Fighting the laws of streets

The violence-prone drug dealers are a whole other subject. And while they are not unique to Wilkes-Barre, they are, with their antics, dominating the headlines emanating from this city and scarring the city whereas the collective psyche of those who would dare to visit the city are concerned.

These cretins are definitely dangerous, but thankfully, their violence has been directed at each other rather than at any of us. So far.

I found the following comments posted at a local blog:

Sorry "W-B Online" but you got a new kid in town who isn't putting up with your garbage.

By the way, go schmooze with your buddy Leighton as he drives W-B into a crime ridden zone with his incompetent management of this city.

Anonymous attacks directed at me are nothing new, so I’m totally unconcerned and unfazed whereas the emergence of the latest anonymous blabbermouth goes. Anonymous snipers are more prevalent in this area than street urchins or drug dealers are. No biggie.

As to the schmoozing comment, all I can say is clueless is as clueless does. I trade verbal barbs and suchlike with our mayor about once every three months. I would like to interact with him more than I do, but as things currently stand, he’s working his ass off and so am I. My buddy? No, that’s not the case at all. But if I could make the claim that Mayor Tom Leighton was my scrap booking buddy or some such thing, I’d wear that like a badge of honor. An ogre he ain’t.

What caught my attention was the ridiculous assertion that Tom Leighton is driving Wilkes-Barre into being a city overrun by crime. Take a quick stroll down memory lane, will you? Which mayor was it that allowed the police department to dwindle away by attrition? And which mayor was it that hired 11 new police officers? Facts sure do suck, don’t they?

Now dig this. Unless you’re willing to sign off on a complete abandonment of the Bill of Rights, the oft-violent drug dealers are going to come to Wilkes-Barre and sell their dubious products to the folks that seek to purchase them. And if the demand for their products remains as high as it seems to be, the supply is going find it’s way to our town. Unfortunately, that’s the way things currently stand. They come, they sell their wares, and sometimes they get to putting a 12.7 through someone’s head who did not get entirely on board with the illegal program.

Rather than launching knee-jerk attacks in the direction of the local cops or the local mayor wherever you may happen to reside, start lecturing your friends, relatives and co-workers about how their illegal habits are resulting in the systematic destruction of our neighborhoods. If you didn’t need to smoke your smoke, snort your snort, or jam needles under your fingernails, the violent drug dealers would not be reeking havoc anywhere near here. They are being invited into our neighborhoods. Invited by the likes of us. And then, when the shocking violence comes down, we look to our local elected officials to make it all go away? That’s akin to demanding that they make our hangovers go away.

If you don’t want drug dealers for neighbors, stop buying illegal drugs. And if you come to realize that your innocent kid is using illegal narcotics, do whatever it takes to bring that destructive nonsense to a very quick end. Does your brother like to duck outside at parties and get high? Well, maybe you need to talk to him about the underlying causes of reverse-gentrification. Maybe we need to do some soul-searching. Some introspection wouldn’t hurt when we condone recreational drug use, but shout from the rooftops that the drug dealers need to be dealt with in no uncertain terms.

We’re talking about completely unrealistic expectations being foisted upon our elected officials until we finally come to grips with what, or who it is exactly that ultimately fuels the debilitating drug trade.

Maybe those mostly useless dorks in Washington, D.C., and Harrisburg should dispense with the confiscatory sin taxes that were attached to alcohol sales and allow the populace to escape reality without inviting lawless gangsters into our neighborhoods. The cops would probably be all good with that. A drunk gets all boisterous and threatens to beat up on everyone within shouting distance from his front porch. Wifey calls the cops. Drunk gets wrestled to the ground and handcuffed. Drunk sleeps it off in a cell and then feels like a total asshole when he awakens and gets to apologizing to everyone within earshot.

No drug dealers. No gunshots. And no cries for the long-allusive simple solutions to very, very, very complex problems.

More Rolling Rock, less cocaine. That’s the ticket.

Sez me.

From The Citizens’ Voice:

Untitled Crime Statistics story from Citizens’ Voice

Nothing against the efforts of the folks that put this story together, but it’s as much confusing as it is enlightening. This stat is up, while this stat is down. One particular crime is up, while yet another is way down. There are less assaults in City A, but more murders. There are less murders in City B, but more aggravated assaults. I think demographics alone belie the true nature of what happens in a particular community, but I’m not prone to studying crime statistics for months on end.

Gimme a sizable research grant and I’ll get after it.

Check this out. Click on this link, if only for a nanosecond. Is this what we should expect iffin’ Wilkes-Barre becomes a one-newspaper town?

Luzerne County Crime Report

Yikes! Here’s the skinny on that. A lowly blogger sitting in his spoiled underwear all by his lonesome with a bottle of Jack Daniels would have never posted graphics near as poor as those. Unlike the folks at Times-Shamrock, we’ve got standards to upkeep.

From the e-mail inbox Mark,

Ooohhh, ooohhh, oohhh! I know! I know!

The sign you shot was in Hanover Twp. In fact, I believe the Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority is on Wilkes-Barre Street.

There is another Wilkes-Barre Street in Easton, PA. Sounds bigger than ours, there's an East and West Wilkes-Barre Street there.

Funny thing, Hanover has a Wilkes-Barre Street and Wilkes-Barre has a Hanover Street....Coincidence???

Take care. ;-)

WBFD Retired.

From the e-mail inbox Hanover Twp


From the e-mail inbox Hey Bud,

picture is from the Breslau section of Hanover Twp. by nanticoke St.

Keep up the honest reporting

you remind me of an old shoe "just the facts mamm" dragnet

You are very much needed

I’m about to bang on the gong. Oops. That’s right. I don’t own a frickin’ gong.

Dammit! I gotta get me one.

Actually, I took that picture while I was enjoying (?) a four-hour long monsoon up there in White Haven a ways. I was like “Cool. Wilkes-Barre Street.” Then again, I think Beavis & Butthead is cool.

Thanks for the accolades, but there are many who would disagree with your assessment of things whereas I am “very much needed.” For every person who appreciates what I do, there are just as many that hope I come down with some rare form of inoperable penis cancer. Ouch.

Jeez oh Pete, if I had a plug nickel for every time I watched Dragnet reruns, I’d be living very high on the hog and swapping dimwitted trophy wives with the comb-over champion of the world…Donald Trump.

Truth be told, if the Times Leader does in fact disappear from the local landscape, I’m considering putting together an internet alternative to the Citizens’ Voice. A Super-Blog, if you will. The way I envision it, I’d have, like, 7 or so locals posting their comments and such on a wide variety of local issues. Dr. Rick, are you getting this concept?

We may be reduced to living in a one-newspaper town as much of America has been resigned to doing of late, but we don’t necessarily have to be reduced to having just one voice.

If anyone out there fancies his, or herself as being a budding writer, send me an electronic pulse. If any local blogger is interested in the idea of creating an internet alternative to the only ink-on-paper voice in town, do likewise.

I wrote the following gibberish close to 6 years ago:

Wilkes-Barre Online

is not-for-profit and is not affiliated with any political party, news source, government agency, taxpayer group, misguided environmentalists, or any single issue jerk-off group.
Robust, independent news generation preserves and nurtures our democracy.

Maybe we can do this for-profit. At the very least, we can offer alternative opinions.

Lemme know.

From the e-mail inbox Mark:

Passing along as an FYI. Even existing dams are having a hard time getting support, this time from the U.S. Supreme Court.

I'm sure many in attendance at the 5/1 hearing didn't catch the one speaker's affiliation with the Raymond Proffitt Foundation. You should check out their website. Definitely not a lightweight, and they appear to consider this to be an important issue.

I have four points I would like to make today:

1) A project of this size and potential impact should require an environmental impact statement.

2) This project appears to violate the Environmental Protection Agency’s 404(b)(1) guidelines in that practicable, less damaging alternatives to the aquatic environment are available.

3) Not withstanding the Corps’ public notice, this project is a dam, not simply a structure, and therefore requires a Section 9 permit.

4) This project may cause significant water quality impairment in this reach of river due to inundating 5 combined sewer overflows and impounding acid-impaired water.

RPF comments on Wilkes Barre dam

Read it, kiddies. Being well-informed is not a bad thing.

Let‘s revisit those reader‘s comments from the local blog where I was supposedly taken to task by the likes of those that once dominated the now-defunct SAYSO pages for the courage-challenged.

Take a gander at this mostly misplaced and inaccurate drool:

Anonymous said...

In direct response to the very worst that the internet has to offer to all of us--anonymous drool posted as fact--I sent an e-mail to Ed Pashinski himself and asked him to weigh in whereas these anonymous attacks are concerned.

From the e-mail inbox Mark,

I did not, nor did any of my family or committee, have anything to do with that newspaper ad period.


Clueless, or agenda-driven internet malefactors are a dime a dozen these days, that’s why I’ve always preferred to do a bit of tireless fact-checking, or at the very least, touch base with the people that generate the news we tend to get arguing about.

I don’t take my right to vote lightly. And on most days, I tend to vote for upstanding people above all reproach. And as far as I’m concerned, I did as much this past Tuesday.

And to the growing army of anonymous internet assassins I have to say, it must suck being you. You are totally clueless and totally devoid of gonads. If you’ve got something substantial to say, attach your name to your comments. Otherwise, be content with that which you happen to be…a coward.

You’re tired of my garbage?

Well, when I consider the anonymous, obviously dubious source…I robustly chuckle at your expense. Derisive comments intentionally unattached to names do not resonate with me or anybody else. Some of us stand behind our comments, while others do not. While I can’t pretend to know who you are, you do have my deepest sympathies. Being a total lame-ass is no way to stumble your way through this thing we call life. Grow a tiny pair. It won’t hurt.

I promise.


I gotta go. I got grandrodents freaking out all over the place.