Sun, May 27, 2018 10:09 PM
Wednesday, March 8, 2017 issue

Without A Paddle

On dope

01/19/2007 - Someone recently wrote about ongoing problems faced by elected officials, including the effects of drugs in our region. I had to disagree with the writer's conclusion that drugs will always be a problem until drug dealers learn "they will be seriously punished with more than a slap on the wrist."

I think it may be more accurate to say that illegal drugs will always be a problem as long as people are willing to buy drugs illegally.

I believe drug dealers are well aware of the possible consequences of their actions, and I don't think any of them stay in business based on any confidence they'll get only a slap on the wrist if busted. If we make the penalties for illegally selling drugs the same as the penalties for murder, people will still sell drugs illegally.

Dealers sell drugs, pills in particular, because they can make a huge profit with a minimal investment. In principle, it is the same motivation which is the driving force on Wall Street.

If you haven't noticed, this area isn't exactly overflowing with wealth. If you have no money coming in and people are willing to pay a lot of money for a single pill which cost you less than a buck, odds are you're going to take their money.

Reducing the bottom-line demand for illegal drugs was the idea at the heart of government programs and campaigns including D.A.R.E. and "Just Say No," but something obviously got lost along the way. We now have a generation, or two, of people who heard "Just Say No" practically from the womb. You'd have to be a fool to think that worked. I don't have any numbers to base this on, but I think members of the "Just Say" generations take more illegal drugs than any group of people which came before them.

This is also a generation of individuals whose "legal" drugging continues widely in the form of psychotropic and antidepressant drugs prescribed for a variety of conditions, but in particular for hyperactivity and attention-deficit issues.

I can't help thinking about some of the things which made our society progress from moonshine through marijuana and all the way to methamphetamine. Best intentions paved the way through the entire process, but it seems those most determined to "fix" the problem have only made it worse.

There may be an exception to this. As local Operation UNITE programs have started providing rehab and counseling for people with substance abuse issues, I've noticed a distinct change in the way people look at that group's efforts.

There are no easy answers to these problems.

I do find it interesting that people today look back upon the moonshine era in a romantic way. These days, moonshining is called a "lost art" and a lot of respectable folks make a point to keep a pint or a quart of good ol' mountain dew in their cabinetry, hand-crafted by an artist who would have been considered a scourge of the law a few decades back.

More stupid stuff

I'm going to have to come up with more stories about stupid stuff me and my ol' pal Jerry Lankford used to do.

I was caught a little off guard by the number of people who commented about my recent retelling of our efforts to shoot a limb out of a tree, and the scent which develops when you skin a snake and leave it in a cool, dark place.

As neighbors, co-workers, blood brothers, band mates and members of a mutual-aid society, Jerry and I did accumulate a pretty interesting set of experiences.

Since I personally enjoy embarassing Jerry when I get a chance, I will pass along another of those stories this week.

This story, which we'll call "Two From the Hip," even offers a little lesson to those who might be as dumb as we were.

We had been shooting a lot of clay pigeons in the open fields around our houses, and we had a pretty respectable amount of ammo around for that purpose.

Jerry was working on his ability to pull off a hip shot, which involves quickly aiming and firing a gun from hip level. In a fit of inspiration or insanity, he decided he was going to try it with a shotgun in each hand. I don't think either of us put a lot of thought into this one.

Within seconds of thinking of it, Jerry loaded a slug into one gun and a regular shell into the other, hoisted their barrels toward the sky and pulled both triggers at the same time.

The part we didn't think about was, Jerry had to rest the stocks of both guns against the high points of his hips in order to make the magic happen.

He pulled the triggers and the recoil of the simultaneous blasts practically shattered his pelvis.

I know it isn't funny, but I laugh every time I remember the look on his face as the pain set in. It was sort of like the look you'll see a man get when he gets hit in a certain area by accident, combined with the expression of a person realizing they're about to be sucked into a jet engine.

In one fluid motion Jerry gently put both guns on the ground, turned and began to walk/crawl back across the road to his house, unable to say anything other than, "That really hurt," and making a low moaning sound.

"For about a week and a half I thought I was going to die," Jerry said when reminded of that bit of shotgun artistry. He then added, "You're not going to write about that are you?"

Appalachian Regaional
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