April 13, 2006
A Quaint Drugging Village With a Fishing Problem
What happened last week in the town of Falmouth, Massachusetts, could have just as easily transpired in just about any small town in the United States. Last Friday morning, before many of us had even gotten to work, local law enforcement officers conducted raids on the homes of nine Falmouth area teenagers. The early morning raid resulted in the arrests of nine teens, and was punctuated by the confiscation of more than $6,000.00 worth of marijuana, various drug paraphernalia, and $3,500 in cash from one of the suspects alone. The raids, and subsequent arrests, were the culmination of a four month undercover operation conducted by the Falmouth police. The investigation was conducted by a 23-year-old, female, undercover officer from the Barnstable County Sheriff's department who posed as a high school student, and the results speak for themselves.
The reactions in the days since the raids have run the gamut from exclamations of outrage at the conduct of the undercover operation and cries of entrapment from enabling parents, to the news being met with the heartfelt appreciation of many students, parents and residents who long to see the distraction of drugs eradicated from school property. What is most surprising about the public reaction to the results of this investigation, is the obvious denial that runs rampant throughout the community. Anyone who has graduated from a public high school in the last 25-30 years (at least here in New England) knows how prevalent drugs are. Still, every time a drinking or drug related teenage death occurs, arrests are made, or a tragedy occurs, the reaction is the same. The stunned looks and dropped jaws are apparent everywhere, but what was the big surprise?
The supposed adults in the community began authoring excuses for this little mistake within a few days of the arrests. The lead headline in the editorial section of yesterday's Falmouth Enterprise read: "Put Arrests Into Perspective". Despite acknowledging that the undercover officer was able to purchase drugs on school grounds 32 times, the piece asks, "How serious is it?" The column goes on to question whether the "media hoopla" surrounding the arrests might have been the result of "a slow news day." The author even openly inquired as to the possibility that maybe these teens were just good kids who had made bad choices.
Was this editorial for real? Is this how we judge the seriousness of such stories today? Apparently, the media's scales of justice weigh the two sides differently; are these good people doing illegal things, or are these bad people doing illegal things? It seems that this is the gauge that is now being applied to everyone from our corrupt, good-intentioned politicians, to the "good" kid with the digital scales, blunts and bags of money in his bedroom. Admitting that the problem of drug use is rampant in our society (amongst teenagers and adults) is necessary to honestly putting this situation into perspective. Drug use is real, marijuana is just the tip of the iceberg, and it is not just our teenagers abusing them.
Here in Falmouth, some concerned parents will surely continue their efforts toward combating the drug problem. They were active in this before any arrests ever occurred. Lines of communication may even be opened as a result of this shakedown, and some kids may even get the help they need. But what of the countless teenagers throughout this community and throughout the country who will not get that help? What of the untold legions of adults who will continue on with their own bad habits, without any consideration for the examples they are setting for our children? As the Falmouth Enterprise has asked, how serious is it? In my opinion, it is all too serious. Falmouth, Massachusetts, Cape Cod hometown to the author of America the Beautiful,, can now count itself as yet another example of America the Ugly. We are continuing to see the results of generations of denial, enabling and tolerance of drug and alcohol abuse in our society. Although exposing these flaws may be an embarrassment to some, denying their seriousness is contributing to the problem, not helping. It was a very wise person who said, "problems should not just be faced, they should be attacked." Acknowledging and confronting these problems is our last and only chance at regaining control. Many of us are encouraged by these small signs that we may still have the strength of conviction to continue the attack. Our future may depend on it.
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Posted by capecodcyclist at April 13, 2006 05:40 AM
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