6-19-2007 Supply & demand re-visited

“Where there’s demand, there’s supply”--Moi

Damn near everybody is all up in arms again. Everybody is demanding action. Everybody wants the White House Tavern shut down. And very many are speculating as to what needs to be done to finally eradicate drug-related violent crimes from the urban landscape.

And The Citizens’ Voice is openly fanning the spreading flames of discontent.

Two dead, eight wounded.

The latest casualty figures from roadside bomb attacks in Iraq?

No. That figure is the casualty list since March 9, 2005, at the White House Cafe, right here in Wilkes-Barre.

I’ve read and heard it all this morning. Everybody has an opinion, and the opinions are flying even heavier than the frequent gunshots in the vicinity of that aforementioned bar.

Why the continued violence? Why the frequent gunplay?

Some blame the city’s administration. Some point a finger of blame at the district attorney’s office. Still others criticize the Liquor Control Board. Then he have the oft-repeated cry for the “outsiders” to be dealt with. Some astutely suggested that the world is headed for hell in a hand-basket. Just for the record, I’m in their camp. Two clueless souls on WILK even suggested that our newly-rejuvenated SWAT team should have been mobilized in the middle of the night, but wasn’t. Then again, they both have thoroughly dulled political axes to grind, and it’s still not illegal to be so completely clueless.

Let’s address that ridiculous notion, that criticism that the SWAT boys weren’t summoned in the middle of the night. Um…to do what exactly? To show up a half hour later to locate a ‘perp that ran away into the darkness just as soon as his weapon was discharged? Excuse me for having my thinking cap on, but that’s what the patrol units are for: set a perimeter and squeeze the gun-toting idiot into handcuffs. SWAT units typically engage when gunmen are holed-up in structures, when hostages are involved, when search warrants and arrest warrants need to be served on known violent criminals, or when the firepower of the alleged idiots surpasses that of the patrol units. SWAT teams don’t play “Tag” in the darkness an hour after the fact. So Timmy and Bobby need to get back to playing with their brightly-colored pipe cleaners real soon like. I’m told they are both mesmerized by purple and the occasional pink. Very pretty.

And here’s a thought: who’s to say some members of the SWAT team weren’t called out in the middle of the night? If I were a betting man, a slave to the Mohegans, I’d bet that some of the paramilitary boys were on the scene. Although, I’m quite a bit better informed than the vast majority of WILK’s dullard-like callers, so consider the inept sources.

The one fatal flaw with all of this accusatory and intellectually-malnourished “problem-solving” is that pointing fingers at the elected officials, pointing fingers at the appointed officials, pointing fingers at the tirelessly brave first-responders, and pointing fingers at the “outsiders” will not bring an end to the drug-related violence. It won’t, it can’t and it never, ever will. So, it’s painfully obvious to me that what we need to do is to be honest with ourselves.

Yeah, I know, soul-searching isn’t near as much fun as getting on the WILK-supplied soapbox and being all impressed with your incendiary nonsense. Looking inward will never be as sexy as pretending that you alone possess the long-illusive cures for all that ails us. No, admitting to our own failures--to our own shortcomings--will never get the unwashed masses to nodding in collective agreement with the quasi think tank participants coming to local talk radio by way of Sugar Notch. Admitting to being exactly one-half of the illegal narcotics problem will not bring an end to the violence. Admitting that the high-profile violence is here and the drugs are here because we demand that they be here won’t make us sound smart on the radio, or in print.

Rather, calling for the closing of yet another violence-prone local bar in a loud and accusatory manner will bring an end to the violence, the life-altering injuries, the overdoses and the violent deaths. That’s what you intellectually-challenged knuckleheads are telling me, right? Padlock the bar, and we can then live happily ever after.

You’re serious?

I had this conversation with my brother a couple of years ago. He called me after a well-publicized and drug-related gunfight broke out in this city and asked me “what the heck is going on it that city?” I bit my lip for a nanosecond, but proceeded to ask him where he usually bought his marijuana at? Oh, I see. You usually buy it in an alley in the Heights. Yeah, a big black dude in a double block. Got it. Yeah. And isn’t it interesting that the recent drug-related shooting happened in the Heights? Funny how that always happens, drugs…violence. Drugs…violence. Drugs…and then violence.

And then I raised my voice and let him have it. Um, Ray, if you fu>king drug-inflicted assholes from the Back Mountain would stop buying the illegal drugs, the drug dealers would still be selling their freaking wares in NYC, or Camden, or Philly, or…pick a fu>king cesspool!!!

And he was immediately hurt. And he asked why I was yelling at him. And I told him why. I told him if people like him would stop buying it, the lawless bastards from the real mean streets of America would not be making Swiss cheese of my localized version of small town America. No demand, no supply, Ray! Get it? He was still hurt by my very pointed diatribe, and quickly changed the subject. New York Giants, I think.

In all honesty, I can’t understand which part of this we don’t get?

I often hear the rapidly aging Hippie Generation, the pro legal drug morons like Kevin Lynn say that alcohol kills more people than illegal drugs do. That’s disingenuous twaddle, much like what a guy hopelessly addicted to Russian Roulette would have to say about fully automatic weapons. And while alcohol can surely be destructive, the last time I checked, the competing beer distributors don’t usually get to shooting at each other. Thing is, a buck or two profit on a 30-pack of beer is not worth risking a lengthy prison sentence over. And it’s certainly not worthy of getting shot to death over.

You want to get high? Okay, a 30-pack will do the trick very nicely. And as an added bonus, when you head on down to procure that which replaces something else, or masks some previously unstated pain, you won’t get caught up in a hail of gunfire. Pretty neat, as far as I’m concerned. And this is absolutely true. Owning a beer distributorship is way, way, way down there on the list of most dangerous professions. In fact, it might even be dead last. Do you really want to live a long, happy and prosperous life? Then buy a beer distributorship. Hell, when compared to selling illegal drugs, the overhead would have to be considerably lower.

No AK-47s.

No Cadillac Escalades.

No ammo belts.

No spare clips.

No Kevlar vests.

No pit bulls, sans the tongues and toe nails.

No crack whores.

No hepatitis C.

And no premature death.

Still, the self-centered aging hippies tell us, much like every other aspect of our lives, that if the federal government would simply legalize and regulate the illegal drugs, well, then the enormous profit quotient would be removed from the equation, and then we could all get high forever more and overdose in relative peace. That’s the long, drawn-out version of “Please take the societal and judicial stigmas out of that which overwhelmingly compels me.”

Sorry, aging freaks, but you aren’t “going to San Francisco” anytime soon. Flowers in your thinning gray hair would look just about as stupid as your effeminate-looking earrings do. Jim Morrison was a complete asshole. Janis Joplin was probably an even bigger asshole. That awe-inspiring “Eve of destruction” of yours is going on 40 years now. Even marginally talented guitar players can easily recreate what God…er, what Jimi Hendrix did, but could barely remember doing. Yeah, as if lighter fluid and a match passes as god-given guitar talent.

YOU lost the Vietnam war on the home front, not the folks that actually went there and fought it. Ho Chi Minn played you drugged-out “flower children” like a politburo-supplied drum, and still, you need to trash your own government for your own lack of smarts, your own lack of commitment and your own lack of any discernable hint of a love for your own country. Ooo! The Gulf of Tonkin, man. Moment of silence. A defining moment in my life, for sure. Let’s share a bowl, shall we?

You were so impressed, so duped by your college professors that were so enamored with the linchpins that brought on mass-murder and genocidal atrocities such as Marx, Stalin and Moa. Every day was yet another chance to attach an asinine conspiracy theory to your own system of government, but those who ran the piss-strewn gulags were held in very high esteem.

You gave us worsened race relations. You gave us rampant drug use, and the associated death and destruction that forever flanks it. You gave us sexually-transmitted diseases run amok, why, with your free-wheeling “Love the one your with” lack of character. With the turbulent, oft-chaotic political and societal climate that your generation perpetrated upon the rest of us, even perverts advocating sex with children gained a voice. Organized religion was ostracized. But exploring an anus with a willing tongue was defended, if not, encouraged.

Oh, we know all too well that you know your rights ad nauseum, but what your fast fading generation, a bunch of dope addicts so easily-led by hostile outside influences, never showed was a propensity for doing what was right. Instead of displaying a dogged independence as your parents who fought and won WWII did, what your dizzied ilk gave us was a dependence upon government for that which ought not ever come from any government. Utopia, by way of an ill-begotten, drug-saddled superiority.

Your answer to poverty was to hand over just enough to the poor to keep them poor throughout the entirety of their lives. And you’ve been promising them better for 40-plus years now. Your answer to tense race relations was to tell those in the minority that those in the majority were racists. In other words, you promised to fix the problem by furthering the ever-widening, sometimes suffocating racial divide. And every single time I pass a black person on the sidewalk who absolutely refuses to make eye-contact with a cracker bastard like me, I hate the lot of you for that. If there’s something the aging hippie know-it-alls didn’t totally screw up back in the day, they are old now, vote, and are desperately trying to make amends.

If there is one thing the hippie generation gave us, it is the proliferation of drug use. And from what we’re seeing of late, it’s the one gift that just keeps on giving and giving to the prison guards, the police officers, the innocent bystanders and the undertakers. And what’s their cure-all for that?

Legalize the drugs.

What they should be telling us is that we need to raise our children better, but that’s a lesson lost on the great majority of them giving that they’ve spent their entire lives biting the family hand that feeds them, and praying to the governmental arm that supposedly can, but really cannot feed them in perpetuity. They are failed socialists. But, they aren’t dead yet, and they are planning to send their new-found socialist hero, Hillary Clinton, to the White House in ‘08. But fear not. Time is not on their side. The obituaries attest to that. In effect, this is the last political gasp of America’s Worst Generation. They’ve made a complete mess of things for four-plus decades, but they have reached their horribly foreshortened apogee and their downward trajectory means we have a better than average chance to survive their youthful idiocy, their misspent idolatry, their half-cocked advocacies and their being under the influence as a way of life.

Do you want to see the drug problem crest and then slowly begin to subside? Then raise your kids right, think rather than follow and reject illicit drugs no matter how harmless they are said to be. Shun those who need a midnight toke. Reject the abject foolishness that is an old man on the radio saying legalizing such a deadly thing is the way to go. And partake of none of it on any level.

Where there’s demand, there’s supply. And when that supply seeks out that demand, when they intersect, nothing good can, or ever will come of it. And if we can’t fathom at least that much, we probably deserve all that we so publicly process to hate. The problem is, us white folk mistakenly believe that the decades-old scourge that is illegal drugs is brought upon us solely by black folk. While the supply may be black, the great preponderance of the demand is white. We bring it on all by ourselves.

The truth hurts.

Time for a beer.