Friday, June 24, 2011

Rant #533: What Can You Say?

Beyond water balloons, another story on Long Island has made national news this week.

The terrible tragedy at the Medford drug store, where four people were shot dead as a druggie rifled through the contents of the store looking for hydrocodone, has once again put the spotlight on the abuse of prescription drugs.

The alleged gunman, David Laffer, and his wife and accomplice and fellow drug abuser, Melinda, will probably get the book thrown at them when they go to trial in the coming weeks and months.

Their spiral into the abyss of drug abuse was quick. Laffer, a military veteran, and his future wife seemed to be the perfect couple. He proposed to her during a sporting event on the big screen, and they appeared to be hard-working people who would one day raise a family and fade into the framework of suburban living.

But the two had a secret that they shared, and it was drug abuse. Various aches and pains led the two to doctors who prescribed them prescription drugs, which they became hooked on.

Their moods changed, and their faces showed the hallow effects of such drugs on their systems.

When Laffer recently lost his job, that appeared to be the straw that broke the camel's back.

He entered the pharmacy on Father's Day as it opened, allegedly shot two workers--one just 17 years old--and then shot two patrons. He then allegedly stole more than 10,000 hydrocodone pills. Hydrocodone is s synthetic opiate used in Vicodin.

His wife, waiting for him in the getaway car, whisked away, and they went home, and reports are they then tended to their lawn. They were picked up and charged over the past few days, Laffer with first-degree murder and his wife with third-degree robbery.

Honestly, I don't know what more can be said about this horrible incident. If found guilty--and the wife has already said that they did these cruel deeds--they will spend many, many years in prison, and that is if they are lucky.

I am not sure of the current status of the death penalty in New York State, but if it is in force, then Laffer might be facing execution for these deeds if found guilty.

I personally can't think of a better case to employ the death penalty, and I am sure there will be people lined up to pull the plug on this individual.

Heck, I can't think of one compelling reason to keep him alive if he is found guilty of these heinous crimes.

But that aside, what happened to these seemingly normal people that led them to such a desperate act?

Drugs are a scourge of society. I don't care if you are talking about marijuana, heroin, or prescription pill abuse, they are all in the same boat.

They make people do things that are irrational--and yes, pot does too. They are completely unnecessary, but the demand continues to be huge for these poisons.

And it isn't just lower class people who are using these things. You see people from all social strata getting hooked on this garbage, and you see its use often glorified by Hollywood. How many recent movies show people smoking pot, as if it were akin to drinking a glass of water?

And I do not profess to know what the solution is.

The only solution lies with the individual. People should learn to say no, and if they don't say no, understand the consequences that entails using this stuff, and yes, even pot.

When you don't have all your faculties, you can't think straight, and to get hooked on these things damages your mind and your ability to make the right decision.

I was lucky. Yes, I grew up in a culture of drugs, but I never took anything, never.

I had one bone-chilling episode which illustrated very clearly to me that I should never do this stuff, even the milder stuff.

In about 1970 or so, I was helping my friend deliver newspapers in the afternoon in Rochdale Village.

We used the stairways to move about, as it was easier than using the elevators when delivering the papers.

We walked in one stairway, not knowing that two guys were shooting up drugs right there.

And yes, they were doing heroin, I am pretty sure of it. They had the needles, and their arms were propped up as if they were giving themselves shots.

We saw them too late, and they saw us.

We stopped dead in our tracks.

One guy said to us as he was shooting this crap into his arm, "Just move on. Don't look back."

We stepped over the two guys, and went on our way.

I will never forget that incident, and it always came into my brain when I was in a situation where drugs were being used.

No, that stuff was not for me.

Maybe people need to see such bone-chilling incidents to set their minds in the right direction.

I just don't know.

But the abuse of prescription drugs is another thing altogether. These drugs were generally designed with "good" in mind, designed to help people battle through pain or sickness or just uncomfortableness.

But they are addictive. When I was in the hospital for as mild an operation as a removal of my gall bladder, I was offered a prescription for pills. I was lucky, I never had a reason to use them, but I will tell you, I don't think I would have anyway.

Those pills are powerful, more powerful then we realize. And when not used properly, they are very addictive.

Going back to the incident in question, I don't really know what our society can do to prevent such a thing from happening again.

I just think it is up to the individual to make a choice--and hopefully the right choice--when it comes to using these things.

They are available, are controlled substances, but obviously, people can get them if they need to.

It shouldn't be so easy, but it is, and this incident proves that people are so hooked on this garbage that they will do anything to get them.

Anything. Even murder.

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