Friday, November 26, 2010

Opinion - We have to find a way

We have to find a way
That’s My Opinion
By Bob Robinson
Nov. 26, 2010

“Telling an addict to stop using drugs is like telling us to stop breathing.”
Darke County Sheriff Chief Deputy Mark Whittaker made it clear in a presentation to the Darke County Republican Men’s Club last weekend that while two county Sheriff’s deputies are once again working full time with a Greenville city officer to tackle the drug epidemic in the county, he alluded to the fact that we aren’t solving the real problem.
“You can cut off the head of the snake,” he said, “but they’ll still be addicted.”
He referred to priorities such as rape and robbery, as opposed to “victimless” crimes such as drug use… then pointed out that drug use is responsible for most other crimes… robbery, home invasions, burglaries.
“Drugs aren’t free,” he said.
Addicts have to get their money somewhere. And they aren’t typically upstanding citizens working hard for their money.
I’ve been told by law enforcement people that 90 percent of all crimes in the county are drug-related.
Since the team went back to work, Whittaker said they were averaging about a drug bust a week. Good job, guys. That’s one less drug source than we had before. I also believe it’s an uphill battle.
Three law enforcement officers trying to deal with rampant drug use and trafficking in a county of 50,000 is like trying to fight a structure fire with a garden hose.
We have single moms on state and federal assistance. Many – not all, of course – have drug addictions. Dealers come from Dayton and Richmond and “hook up” with them. Her supplier is close by, and the dealer has a place from which to operate.
That isn’t fantasy, folks. It’s reality!
Drug busts are time consuming, often requiring months of observation, setting up “buys” and after a required two deals, finally the bust. I don’t know why two deals are needed for a conviction, but that’s what I’ve been told.
Drug busts are also dangerous.
One story that I spent months on culminated with me being on the scene for a 5 a.m. bust in north county, part of the countywide sting that netted dozens of drug indictments a few years ago.
The officers were not happy to see me and I got hammered pretty good about my source. I didn’t blame them. Some of the people busted were tough customers and the situations potentially life-threatening.
Especially if the leak had gone beyond me… which of course, it hadn’t.
If I remember right, nearly all indictments turned into convictions, however many of those convicted are already back on the street.
The supply chain may have briefly been hurt, but addictions still needed to be “fed” and new sources replaced the old.
What’s wrong with the single mom scenario, other than the obvious?
If you said “moms,” then we’re either on the same page or you know me too well. Their kids are the innocent victims.
I was told once that a student asked a teacher what she did when her husband went to jail.
“He’s never been in jail,” she answered. “Neither have I.”
The child wasn’t sure whether to believe her or not… the answer had nothing to do with his (or her) reality.
In some children’s worlds, an adult in the family who is or has been in jail is something everyone had. It’s normal.
Is it normal in your world? If you’re reading this, of course not. For poverty children it quite often is.
We hold adults responsible for the decisions they make. If they take drugs… Or deal… Or otherwise break the law, they pay the price.
But what about their children who don’t know anything different?
I’ve often said parents must take responsibility for their kids. In a recent interview with Commissioner-elect Mike Stegall, he said the same thing!
Parents! Take responsibility for your kids!
We’re ignoring one important reality. There are hundreds of kids in Darke County who will likely never have the benefit of responsible adults in their families. They will see big sister getting pregnant and adding another child to public assistance. They will see big brother being taken off in cuffs after he gets caught dealing or breaking into a home to support his addiction. Or they’ll see Daddy, Mommy or Mommy’s boyfriend being arrested some evening.
Just another day to them, with nothing to look forward to but more of the same.
Poverty is at its highest level ever, despite generations of government programs and spending. Big Brother can’t fix it.
We have to do it. We have to find a way.
As you reflect this weekend on our blessings, I hope you will say a brief prayer for the men and women who fight for us… and for all of the children, those close to us and those we may not see until it’s too late.
I’ve often said our kids are our future. Unless we do something – and do it soon – that future can be very bleak indeed.
That’s my opinion. What’s yours?

Bob Robinson is the retired editor of The Daily Advocate, Greenville, Ohio. If you wish to receive a daily notification of his comments, opinions and reports, send your email address to: Feel free to express your views.

No comments: