Monday, July 02, 2007

Musings from a major city

I walk out the hotel, past the security guard, and head uphill towards the Denny's. I step over a white surgical glove. I decide I want to learn what is going on in the world, and walk past the Denny's towards the gas station on the corner to buy a newspaper. I cut across the parking lot. There is a spot where the cashier of the gas station and anyone in the Denny's can't see. There are needles and syringes scattered all around on the asphalt.

People, if you are going to shoot up, will it kill you to pick your shit up? That's just, like, fucking *gross*, y'know? I realize that if you cared about being nasty and disgusting and gross you wouldn't be shooting up, since shooting up is guaranteed to make you nasty and disgusting and gross, but c'mon, people. Have a little fucking pride, okay?

Meanwhile, right-wing politicians continue to pound their fists upon their podiums and demand more prisons, more police, more penalties. Dudes, that shit ain't working. Those fucking needles in the parking lot are proof enough of that. Like the war in Iraq, the war on drugs just ain't working, and ain't been working for, like, THIRTY FIVE FUCKING YEARS now. More of the same ain't gonna make it work one damn bit better. It's time to admit defeat, and do something else. Like, say, treat addiction as a medical problem, not a criminal problem, and quit trying to outlaw something that losers have proven capable of acquiring anyhow despite all our attempts to stop them. Playing Big Brother just, in the end, does not work. All it does is make me have to step over syringes and white surgical gloves in the parking lot of a Denny's in a big American city when all I fucking want to do is buy a paper to read with my breakfast.

But crap, that's just me making sense again, and we all know how much use that is...

-- Badtux the Realist Penguin


  1. Hello, Mr Penguin.
    There seems to be a significant number that would hold that absence of active and forceful denunciation amounts to de facto endorsement.
    I'm not so sure what it is that would lead them to believe that they would be experts in such matters.

    This issue in particular seems opposed to the scriptures of the theocratic crowd.
    Consider this:
    Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts.
    (Proverbs 31:6)

    God doesn't specifically say anything about oxycontin, but we can easily see that the wisdom of Solomon includes getting a good buzz on every once in a while.

    As for those who would legislate from the dictates of deity, consider the outcry against bacon double cheeseburgers and milkshakes in the same meal.

  2. There's a lot of things I don't *condone* that I don't want to make illegal. I don't condone eating five double cheeseburgers a day and weighing 500 pounds. It's not healthy. Indeed, it's as dangerous to one's health as heroin, call it dietary heroin (opposite effect tho!). That doesn't mean I want to make it illegal, though. It's a medical problem, not a legal problem. That fat slob eating all those double cheeseburgers is a danger to her own health, not to mine. It ain't my job to be her Big Brother and yank the cheeseburger out of her hand.

    Ann Landers had a principle that she used to rattle on about called MYOB. When someone whined about what someone else was doing, and what the someone else was doing affected only the someone else, Ann would say "MYOB" -- Mind Your Own Business. You can't protect people from themselves. They're going to find a way to hurt themselves, no matter what. More people die from tobacco smoke every year than die from heroin usage, more people die from drunk driving every year than die from heroin usage, people just do stupid things. All you can do is point out that they're being, like, stupid. Trying to stop them from being stupid is, alas, like trying to stop a rock from being hard, or a banana custard from being sweet. It just don't work. Stupid is as stupid does...

    - Badtux the not-stupid Penguin

  3. I would go further than you on naming drug abuse (substance abuse) as a social problem instead of a legal problem - given that social includes medical. The causes of drug abuse vary so much from genetic to economic to geographic to mental illness. In order to cure (a medical term, I agree), we need to work on the systemic causes.

    My goddaughter has three children who are all schizophrenic - a genetic problem undoubtedly. But, the son is also a drug addict now; the eldest daughter is in a home for teens with mental problems (at least there are some), and the youngest is well on her way to becoming unmanageable. They live in abject poverty, which I believe to be a contributing factor to the kids not getting the proper medical and social help when they needed it most.

    No wonder other countries consider the USA to be lacking. I don't want to move; I just want to help change things.

  4. I spent a couple of decades in inner city emergency rooms. Every time I hear on the news about some major drug bust that took however much contraband "off of the streets" I laugh out loud. Drugs are plentiful, and readily available, and frankly cheaper than they were when I was in college.

    A hell of a lot of the people abusing drugs are self medicating. They can't get the mental health care they need, or the basic healthcare they need. It also costs a hell of a lot more money to treat it as a criminal problem than a public health problem. This obsession with punishment is destructive to society as a whole, as it does nothing to palliate the actual problems.

  5. The voice of one can be come the voice of many.

  6. There are young guys 3 or 4 (alot of coming and going) that live across the street. I think they sell MJ to their friends and whomever. Point is...alot of the friends that drop by...park on our side of the street. Invariably they dump their collective trash out of their cars onto our gutter. Big plastic gulp cups...bags of Mickey D's and so on. I mostly see Taco that I think about it. Oh...and sometimes beer bottles. We just pick it up and toss it on their lawn for them. It upsets my inner goat something fierce I can tell you!


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