Sunday, March 8, 2015

I Am Only One.

Something funny happened when I was at the park with my son the other day.  It wasn't "Ha Ha" funny, more like funny business.  OK, drug business.  Which isn't really funny at all. 

It was a sunny afternoon, and we had just killed about 45 minutes while waiting for big sister to finish her ukulele class.  I was feeling happy that we had found a new little neighborhood park close to her school. 

Until I noticed an anxious-looking young man pull up behind my car, talking on his cell phone and eyeing the park like he was looking for someone or something.  About 30 seconds later, another car full of 20-something guys pulled up across the street.  One guy hopped out.  They all looked around anxiously now, clearly trying to play it cool (some more successfully than others).  Money changed hands.  A petite package changed hands, and the guy hopped back into the car with his group of friends. 

I watched most of this happen out of my rear view mirror as I was pulling out, and then turning around to go in the direction of my daughter's school.  I drove slowly trying to understand what was happening...trying to find some alternate explanation for what I had just witnessed.  I didn't want it to be a drug deal.  I wanted it to be a group of guys meeting at the park to play basketball.  I wanted it to be some young men exchanging recipes for BBQ hot wings.  I agonized trying to find some reasonable, sensible, plausible explanation for this type of exchange other than drugs.  And I came up short. 

I called the police to report the activity.  Not that I expected the police to come in hot pursuit and arrest these guys.  They were probably long gone by the time I picked up my phone.  But I needed somebody to know.  I needed to funnel my anger and fear into something productive.  And making that simple call was about all I felt I could do. 

And maybe that's enough. 

I don't think this community needs another vigilante-justice-minded citizen trying to solve problems with their own rule book. I don't think it would be wise or productive for me to try to tackle a 20-year old guy and flush his drugs down the toilet.  It might have ended badly if I tried to snap photos of their license plates and inform them I was calling the cops. 

What I can do is be a witness.  I can speak up.  I can cry foul when I see it and leave the hard work to the trained professionals.  I can keep taking my kids to the park so it's a busy place that is less appealing for shady transactions. 

Are there drugs in this community?  Yes.  Is it a problem?  Yes.  Is it everywhere?  Is it hopeless?  Should we all lock our kids up and never let them outside?  No, no and no. 

When the good people go into hiding, evil wins.  Anger wins.  Fear wins. 

I, for one, will keep showing up. I will support the positive efforts in this community with my time, my attention, and my dollars.  I will not lock up my children.  I will not throw up my hands and blame every politician, police officer or civic leader for the ills of this community. I am this community. And so are you. 

I am only one, but...

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