Wednesday, October 12, 2016

You Can't Go Home Again

Peaceful, right? Yeah. I used to think that too...

This is going to be a convoluted piece. You have been forewarned. The subject matter evokes too many emotions and thoughts to properly fit into a single box. I started and stopped, deleted and re-started it several times. I recorded a few vlogs to see if a visual format was the better, but it was actually worse. So, I'm going to jump to an end which is not an ending to take you backwards with me. Reverse engineering has its benefits, after all. 

Just a normal part of any waterfront landscape.

In the first picture you can make out the green steel lattice of a footbridge behind the train truss. I started with this so you can see the general layout of this lakefront area. I want you to see the landscape where I found the new addition of a needle disposal box sitting by the river, quietly and powerfully demonstrating how my default hometown of Plattsburgh has changed.

I hate it. 

I absolutely hate it. 

There are layers upon layers of symbolism at work in my mind that I still can't process. There are social factors, social pressures, and dark human tragedy all bundled up in that photo. I mean, you walk along the bridge enjoying the complimentary cup holders...
That's a cup holder. 100%.

Enjoying the views of Lake Champlain and the fishermen...

Taking in the landscape and enjoying all the memories you have of a part of a town that makes you feel at peace...

And at the end of the bridgel you see this...

I understand the value of these receptacles and completely agree with their use. That doesn't mean it wasn't a brutal punch to the soul to discover this physical manifestation of suffering and addiction in a place I have explored and enjoyed time and time again over the years. It reminds me of a mailbox. Can you see that? Each needle spelling out a downward spiral as clearly as in a letter. I know many, many towns and cities are dealing with heroin and have been for years. I know. I also know that every needle is a person, a story, a life, and that I want to do great harm to the people that profit from the pain.

My first inclination for this blog was to turn this discovery into something positive. Post funny, uplifting stuff. "We can beat this, fellow humans!" kind of thing.


And I need that right now. We all need positivity and laughter to different degrees and for different reasons. But that's not what I am doing in part because of recent trends in my local community. Our local police department here in Saratoga Springs now recommends parents, "... consider inspecting a public restroom before allowing a child to enter it unattended."1 Needles and spoons are being found in retail store and restaurant bathrooms around town. Yay.

Pretty damn hard to laugh about that. But then again, as a historian it can be pretty damn hard to laugh at AT ALL! But we need to, that's for sure.

So what's the point? What is Sam leading up to? After roughly 100 posts on this blog you definitely get the impression that I have reasons for drafting my words. In this case I am just mad. Mad and sad, to be clear. I can't fix this problem. I can only try to arm and protect my children. So yeah. That's it. I am posting that I am mad and sad about a problem that is growing and destroying people and I can't do a damn thing about it. I can't punch this away, but I want to very, very much. 

Downer subject matter, I know, but I also know you probably feel the same way sometimes. I know you want to fix this or other problems. I know you sometimes want to take the people responsible for the ills of the world by the neck and then MAKE them fix what they broke. I wish it was that simple. I do.

Final words...

I care for you, gentle reader. I want you to be safe, and healthy, and happy. I want to stay away from behaviors that make needle depositories grow from the riverbanks of small towns. Will you do that for me, if not for you? Please?

If you need help in New York for a drug or alcohol problem please contact NYS's HOPEline at 1-877-846-7369. All calls are anonymous and confidential. If you are outside of NY they may be able to connect you with an organization in your area. The point is, make the call. Thank you.


2. My thanks to whomever made the Jon Lovitz meme

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