Last week, many locals saw a flurry of police cars behind the Walgreens at the corner of Oak Grove and LaVista. Unofficial reports say several local "youth" were arrested for drug related offenses.
I haven't seen a police report on this incident, nor have I seen this reported in the local news. I think there are very few people who know all the details of who was picked up and why.
But that didn't stop a lot of our neighbors from commenting on local listserves about what they thought about the situation.
What was interesting was the number of people who blamed not the kids, but the police for the incident. The police were criticized for making the arrests when they "should have had better things to do." Better things to do than arresting kids for using illegal drugs? I'm glad the police made these arrests.
Kids who're using drugs at a young age are far more likely to progress to harder drugs when they get older. They have higher rates of school truancy, behavior problems, run-ins with law enforcement and teen pregancy.
There were several long emails about how this was yet another example of how the government is taking about our rights to do what we want, consume what we want, etc. But the focus wasn't on what actually happened. The fact that young kids, perhaps teens, perhaps a little older, were consuming illegal substances in the parking lot of our local convenience store.
I could comment on the brain trust that decided that this was a smart thing to do in a fairly public area, but the choices these young people made are already questionable.
I don't know the situation here. I don't know where the parents were in all of this, but I can't imagine they didn't have some idea that this was going on. It's one thing for parents to ignore their kids' smoking drugs in their own basement, but when it spills out into the neighborhood, it becomes someone elses problem too.
Some residents talked about "minor" drugs as a "rite of passage," something that "kids do" when they're that age. I hate that "rite of passage" argument. It's an excuse for kids to committ property damage, steal and vandalize other people's property and it's really not acceptable. There are plenty of other rites of passages kids can enjoy, things that don't affect other people's rights to enjoy their property and their neighborhoods.
The fact is that we don't get to decide which laws we want to obey and which we don't. If you disagree with a law, then work within the system to change it. There's a lot of discussion about making marijuana legal, but it hasn't happened yet. Until the law changes, it's illegal, the same as underage smoking, alcohol consumption, owning a gun and driving 90 mph on I-285.