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A Message for the Mayor D-R-U-G—C-O-U-R-T and Local Magistrates & VITAL VOTING INFO

This article is very close to me.  These difficulties strike almost every family in America.  We are a society that does not try.  We punish the sick.  In this instance we riddle their illness with criminality and then lock them up.  

We should be using this form of criminality as a tool to help them and society.  This article will show you how.

Before I proceed, this is also Election Time.  Stephen Colbert has made a contribution to America that has been absent in a land that professes democracy and equality.  We are barely democratic.  We are not fairly democratic.  Many fear and disrupt, and fail to encourage participation out of fear of the desire of our own people.  They do not want you to vote.  Colbert has taken a vital step.  I hope it is just a “Lead” and others follows.   Please, Go to BetterKnowABallot.com.  You will find the very best, well done, easy to understand Website that tells you how to vote and where to vote.  Everything you need is right there.  State by State.  All local rules regarded.  It is truly awesome.  VOTE, PLEASE GOD, VOTE like mankind depends on it.  Because it very likely does.

I will lose a lot of you in two paragraphs.  But you are an ilk that would not help anyway.  Trump has proven there are just too many that are ok with evil.  It is vital that I remind all of you to vote.  And yes Democratic.  Many of the folks I ask to help, are misguided Katko supporters.  In glaring view of hideous wrong, they do not perceive.  Their party attends evil.  It does not protect our institutions nor the intent of our Founders.  Equality is feared.  Fair elections are feared.  Election intrusions are vastly from the right, not the left.  I have never seen such misinterpretation of truths and wrong among the able and often successful.  Katko accepted 167,000 dollars from the drug companies that caused, by now, most of what this column is about.  He is paid and supports them.  Believe me, as hideous as it is, that is what they do.  I pray that Republicans wake up.  Your party is out of touch with its own moral decline.

This article is about good people doing what is right.  I must add that I am baffled and grieved that so many with such power that can give birth to relieve suffering just find a way not to do it.  In the meantime, what I describe here happens every day.  Mostly very young men and women suffer alone in despicable conditions saturated with predators of every stripe, sexually abused, exposed to human degradation and addiction beyond the ability to cope.  Everyone has given up on them as they lay in parking lots, backyards, and dilapidated dwellings, aware, yet helpless over their plight.  Large numbers still close to childhood, they curl into little balls and cry.  Dismally alone.  Healthy family and love have not been theirs.  I was an alcoholic for many years.  I paid with everything.  Yes, “was”, another falsehood in the recovery world that says once an addict you must always regard yourself as an addict.  Everyone had given up.  I was alone and left to die.  There, I learned a vital answer:  When do you give up on the addicted?  The answer is: “Until they make it or until they die”.  (That does not mean one must live with another’s addiction – Help must not cause you harm)  And here I am nearly 40 years removed from this hell.  Listen to me.  I know what I am saying. 

This is a follow up on my article of December 2017 where I began:  I have come to know several of you over the years and I hope at these times that I have earned a regard that will give me your attention for this brief article.  If you do read it, I believe you will consider these thoughts and perhaps take steps that will improve fate and providence in an arena of massive human suffering.  I offer the difficulty and the solution.   I am into my senior years.  If one sees things with their best judgement tempered with just compassion the wisdom of age can have great value.  This little column affords me a unique opportunity to share.  I humbly offer you this wisdom applying human quality as best as can be done with my abilities.

I received a call around 6am the other day from an addicted friend.  She has done seven 6 month stretches in Jail on misdemeanor drug charges.  She is an addict that very likely would be fine today if the system were designed to help rather than to punish the literally helpless.  (This article explains what should be in place and offers how to do it) She said it was an emergency and that she was behind the Dollar General on Butternut St.  I found her laying in the parking lot near the dumpster.  Her things were scattered.  She had been there all night.  She was completely disheveled and crying.  Her right hand was swollen double the size of her left and both ankles were swollen.  She thinks someone may have hurt her while she was out.  She was being harassed by two men.  I told them I was there to take care of her.  Very fortunately, they left.  As that was going to happen.  She refused the hospital so I took her to a place she had stayed before.  I do not enable, yet when she is in serious trouble or injured help is an imperative.  I brought her some groceries as she cannot walk.  It has been four days.  She is doing better.  I took her to 410 So. Crouse for help and they are working on methadone assistance.   Her suffering is enormous.  As is her addiction.  She is one of several, on most blocks of the city.  Each vital, each as human and deserving and feeling, as the child in your life that you love and would protect with your life.  

Donald Trump has exposed a gaping void in perception and/or empathy within humanity that I had wondered about but never knew for sure really existed.  It should not be so difficult to move you.  There is a cruelty with power in the collective mindset that restrains the will of the good and allows human suffering.  Also, the world is short on heroes.  Those willing to stand up and say “enough” and take action.  The difference in your profession is that all of you have respect and power and can influence.  Each could begin a “Think Tank”.  

You are the protectors of your elite profession.  It is your deeds that determine the quality and value of your pursuits.  I believe this is central to the high esteem of your profession.  Sometimes things need to be designed in a way that lights our inner beacon.  It is those involved in law, more than any other that give value to all the crimson sacrifice that has protected our founding decency.  When suffering this grave is in place and exponentially increasing, you must, for your charge, and as I mentioned once before, for the honor of your days, use the intelligence and power available to you to cause change, especially when it is a policy change that falls within your abilities to affect. 

The city is riddled with crippled youth.  A walk down Highland street or most streets will reveal sadness beyond belief.  The inner city is no longer just a place for the poor.  It is very much a place of drug dens and addicts.   It is a place of wretched suffering due to a complex mental disease.  Entire blocks are riddled with helpless humanity and no one pays meaningful attention.  This is very much the fault of AA (which I regard very highly) and other recovery services conveying nothing can be done until the victim is ready.  Emphasis on this fails other invaluable recourse.  What they have always failed to understand is that recovery attitude comes about as a result of a multitude of emotional triggers during  addiction.  An explanation of these triggers requires another article.  Interventions and letting the addict know they are loved are major triggers.       

The primary preventative measure has been abandoned.  That is effectively going after the source and supply chain.   I am researching the complexities of this approach and will offer workable solutions soon.  

Adjusting incompatible law has also become vital to achieve humane process. 

We must stop jailing the sick.  It is the most foolish, cruel and useless measure within the Criminal Justice System.  Remember that child that you love.  If they became helplessly ill would you fight for them?   Would you jail them?   Here is exactly what we need:  We need to provide a confinement rehab totally apart from jailing that judges can sentence to or offer as an alternative to jail.  It must be confinement.  Addicts need emotional triggers to get to recovery attitude.  That very seldom happens in jail or under threat from a court.  Torturing the tortured breaks them down.  Jail is not a deterrent.  All you do is further break down a mind that needs to be strengthened to recover.     

What I am proposing here is that a group of Magistrates and/or Barristers develop a “Think Tank” for this purpose.  Brainstorm how to determine appropriate need.  And then sponsor and change law.  Drug court is a wonderful effort and does help some victims.  Yet its value is inadequate and highly restrained by the complexity and difficulty of recovery.  Only a small percentage of drug users or alcoholics are able to meet their demands.  Most users cannot follow the rules even when they are well intended and try.  Failures are jailed, emotionally diminished and almost always offend again.  Six months or a year in rehab would be priceless for serious addiction.  Especially young offenders who have been exposed to very little healthy thought.  Whereas six months or a year in jail nearly insures continued addiction, criminality and self-loathing.  The think tank should consider all of these ramifications. 

While researching for this article I found that Massachusetts has already taken a vital first step.  They have embraced the reality that narcotics and alcohol addiction are a public health emergency and not a crime.  Women who have substance abuse cases are no longer taken to criminal prison. They’re taken to civil commitment facilities.  This is a small inadequate first step.  We need bolder action as this disease is invading human structure in every city every day. 

In this space I can only hope to offer inspiring idea.  The think tank made up of your peers will develop state of the art thinking and course.  Once the think tank is confident it has arrived at sound conclusions it is time to write legislation.  On one hand you will be seeking funding.  On the other you will be revising law compatible with this effort.  The easier you make it for a legislator the better your chances.  Too much peripheral idea can dilute the main thrust and could endanger passage.  Legislation developed by a think tank from your profession will garner attention like no other.  That is why this human torment is very much your moral charge.  If you so decide, this will happen.  

How this affects employment will be a major question.  Fortunately, this aspect of the idea can be met with great success and improvement.  Prison guards will also work at the rehab facility.  It would be invaluable to offer them specialized rehab training.  There are those that are not attracted to the social work aspect.  They should be utilized in the real criminal environment.  Many will choose the rehab.  This can be done not only protecting Sherriff’s and Correctional Guards but by providing attractive options that may also include specialty pay and at the same time offering varied suitable, needed, and skilled quality to current employees.

I am asking you to use those parts of our humanity that make us worthy of our gifts.  I am seeking understanding.  I am seeking compassion.  I am seeking that you talk about this with each other.  I am seeking deed.  I am seeking help for that kid, many not even 20, curled up in some God forsaken place, searching for a predator that will abuse them for a fix until, very soon they curl up again hopelessly looking for another predator.  Alone, broken and forsaken. These are not words from a guy than can write a bit.  They are truths that take place all over the city as I write.

Please, please, you know I am right.  There must be a few willing to give birth to this “Think Tank”.  Others will follow.  Please.  I have lived their plight.  It is real.   I know it is emotional triggers that bring addicts around.  This is a huge one.  No one is pulling those triggers.  Please.     

Bill McClellan