Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Where Hope Comes In A Bag

On the hard-knock streets of Fairhill, called the Badlands of North Philadelphia, open-air drug markets abound. Heroin is the drug of choice, and varieties like Rocky, Good Luck, Dream Chaser, Batman and Hope are hawked at passers-by.

Lookouts huddle on corners, addicts shuffle out of alleys, and orange syringe caps collect in the cracks and lines of the pavement.

“We have a pretty robust heroin market. We’ve had it for quite a while,” said Capt. Michael Cram of the 25th Police District. “It’s the main economy in parts of our neighborhood down here.”

Drugs have plagued the streets of Fairhill, a heavily Puerto Rican and deeply blighted neighborhood, for decades — since long before the sharp rise in and public outcry over deadly heroin overdoses among middle-class, white, suburban kids in New England and elsewhere.

“It’s pretty much almost a way of life for people. Either they’re addicts, or they’re selling, or they just have to deal with it,” said Edwin Desamour, an anti-violence activist who was born and raised in the neighborhood and is the executive director of Men in Motion in the Community, a youth-mentoring group. The group’s headquarters is a small but brightly colored city rec center that less than a year ago was a graffiti-covered and trash- and feces-filled shooting gallery.

The political rhetoric on the national stage marks a shift toward getting addicts help and increasing funding for drug treatment programs. That indicates a fundamental shift in the debate over drug abuse in America but does not tackle the whole issue. Absent from the forums and campaign-trail speeches is a strategy for revitalizing long-struggling neighborhoods like Fairhill, where many residents see the heroin game as their best shot at a livable wage.

“Most of these guys don’t want to be on the corners. It’s a dangerous business, but they’re there, and they need jobs,” said Cram. “There’s some hard-core gangsters out there. They’ll never get out of the business. Maybe it’s a family business. But for the most part, if the alternative is McDonald’s and you’re not paying the bills and putting food on the table …”

You can read the rest @

I'm reminded of something I heard in the movie The Godfather:

"They're animals anyway, so let them lose their souls." [starts @ 2:38]

The powers that be (TPTB) offshored our jobs and brought in desperate people from Central and South America to take those that remained. Along the way they cynically introduced drugs into our inner cities to help keep the chaos which resulted from their greed under control.

Many of us will read the above report from Philadelphia and assume the people involved aren't worth saving. I'm not one of them. By not fighting TPTB, We The People are just as responsible for what happened as are those who brought in these drugs in the first place.

We didn't care as long as it was someone else's children who lost their souls. How do you feel now that it is YOUR children?

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