Blogs by Kalikiano Kalei
What a drag...er...DRUG!
4/13/2009 11:07:44 AM
In the Hawaiian Islands substance abuse has increased to the point where it is firmly rooted in even the most idyllic refuge of calm residential serenity. The chance that the house next door is full of users and abusers is astoundingly great. As poverty and economic hardship settle more firmly into an already distressed society, drug use simply increases, as less mindful and responsible individuals seek release from their self-imposed victimisation through drug and alcohol abuse. The problem has never been a completely new one to the islands, but the recent increase in methamphetamine abuse in Hawaii is assuming a tsunami-like proportion that makes all other forms seem trivial.
WHAT A DRAG…ER…DRUG!....
We live in a nice, quiet section of the local community. Scattered here and there are elderly retired couples, a few young marrieds just starting out in life, and overall I suppose our area could be regarded as a typically calm, middle class bourgeois neighborhood. We’ve been here a few years, so we know most of the neighbors quite well. We even have amongst us a local Deputy Sheriff nearby who parks his cruiser out in front of his hale every night.
Despite this almost bucolic scene of residential harmony that has been our happy good fortune, it very recently came to our attention that there was a suspected ‘drug house’ in our midst. From the outside, nothing would suggest that the home in question was a haven for drug activity. It had the usual well-mown lawn, flower beds, Mango trees, and potted plants. The only visual indication of a slightly ‘off the mark’ appearance of normal domesticity was the odd mix of cars that would appear outside the place, from time to time. An old nondescript monster of a 4WD SUV seemed to live in the home’s driveway in what seemed to be a perpetual state of ongoing repair and various semi run-down relics mixed incongruously with late model Mercedes and Lexus sedans.
At any rate, our cross-the-street neighbor (let’s call him ‘Kona’) is a retired corrections officer, who along with two dogs and a pleasant second makuahine (wife) maintains a fairly constant watch over the nearby streets. ‘Outdoors Kona’ (I call him that because he’s always outdoors, being a very physically vigorous and active individual) apparently first heard of the suspected drug house and through his contacts with law enforcement agencies spread the word that there might be an illegal substance dealer living therein. It wasn’t long before the DEA was notified, but without any definitive proof of illegal activity, no law agency wanted to get a warrant and search the place. Even the nearby Deputy made it clear that lacking some factual evidence of illegal goings-on, he was no more able to react than the other LEOs (Law Enforcement Officers) who had been informed of the place.
In the course of chatting about all this with Kona, I learned that a large number of cars obviously not owned by locals were often parked near the place, late at night. Kona suggested that they parked a street away from the house on a convenient cul-de-sac to allay suspicion, but that he had seen (on late night walks) people leaving the cars and heading around the corner for the suspected drug house. Circumstantial evidence only is not sufficient to prompt full scale drug busts, naturally enough.
Obviously, news of a suspected drug house in our calm little residential area was disturbing, since it doesn’t take three brain cells to understand the danger drug users and suppliers pose to any community of right-thinking, socially responsible people. However, it’s also known that these miscreants often locate in placid surroundings like ours deliberately owing to the fact that the rest of us are all responsible, law-abiding citizens. You’d expect to find a crack house in a notoriously bad neighborhood full of gang-bangers, but who would expect one in a peaceful little non-descript, middle-class enclave of domestic harmony like ours? Of course, these people aren’t what I’d call smart (no one who regularly abuses substance remains ‘smart’ for long, given the deleterious effects of drugs on the brain), by any stretch of the imagination, but they’re definitely devious and cunning in their own addled fashion.
Apparently, despite the actual lack of the usual 'hard evidence' that drug related activity was going on in this house, last week the law finally descended on the home early in the morning (presumably after weeks of surveillance). Outside the place were cars from both county and community PDs, and visible in front of the place were plainly marked DEA agents in the process of going in and out of the garage. Something had triggered a LEO response and of course this news quickly made the rounds of the community, as much for the juicy gossip value (people being what they are) as for the factual, real-time validation of what had before seemed merely a suspicion.
Talking with ‘Outdoor Kona’ (who had been working closely with the DEA on this case) a day or so later, I learned that this drug house was actually one of two in our immediate vicinity, the other one having had an occupant who was a parolee (related to drug charges) who had been busted weeks before for a parole violation. Kona told me that the DEA agents had not found any illegal substance in the most recent bust, but that they had found stolen goods and several stolen weapons.
Fine, maybe not drugs, but at least the charges for possession of stolen goods and weapons were a starting point for rooting out this reprehensible rot in our area. Kona went on to say that the home’s residents were users and apparently suspected they were under police surveillance; they had probably moved the drugs out and into another location, as a precaution, before the law pounced. The fact that had decided that having stolen property and guns in the place was somehow less important doesn’t speak highly of their logic processes, but as I said, ‘users tend to be losers’. Smart enough to remove incriminating drug evidence, but not quite smart enough to figure out that stolen goods are also ‘inconvenient’ to have to explain to the armed fuzz who have just broken down your door.
All of this happened several weeks ago, but those of us in the neighborhood concerned with keeping our area safe have become aware of the fact that others of this parasitic caste have likely been casing the area. Most notably, late night cruises down our streets have been a good clue that these s**t-for-brains dimbulbs are out and around, checking the scene out for possible ripoffs. Being not very smart (apparently), and thinking that having their auto ghetto-blasters thumping away at top volume is perfectly acceptable late night behavior, it apparently doesn’t occur to them that they couldn’t send out a clearer warning alarm indicating their presence if they tried. I mean, when the ground shakes like a 6 on the Richter Scale at midnight and you know no quakes have been reported anywhere, it doesn’t take much to figure.
Consequently, our entire area has been on a heightened state of alert for things out of the ordinary ever since the DEA descended on that drug haven just mentioned. Despite this greater than normal vigilance, three days ago ‘Outdoor Kona’ had his car stolen at about midnight. Kona’s place is directly across the street from us and there’s a streetlamp close-by, so the perps were pretty self-confident of their ability to take the car unnoticed, apparently. His car is normally parked on the street in front of his house (it’s a 1990 Honda Accord sedan) and ever since it was broken into once before, a few years earlier, he’s had an alarm system in it that he sets every night before bed.
There was, however, no alarm that had sounded when the car was taken, and Kona admittedly somewhat embarrassingly that he had forgotten to set the alarm that particular night. The thieves must have had really good luck working for them, because Kona keeps a loaded riot shotgun close by in his hale for just such unplanned surprises. At any rate, the thieves got the vehicle’s door open, hot-wired the car, and drove off before Kona could catch them in the act. He did manage to spot an older white station wagon zoom off a minute after his take was taken: obviously the car that originally contained the perps.
Now Kona loves that old blue Honda about as much as I love my faithful old orange 1979 Honda Civic wagon and he was greatly pissed off by what seemed at first thought to be a coincidental case of ordinary car theft. Given the usual odds for recovery, none of us expected to ever see that Accord of his again, unless it was in the form of a fender or hood on someone else’s Honda. Usually, given the popularity of older cars (and especially older Hondas) these days and partly due to the economic downturn that has people holding onto cars longer, such stolen vehicles are quickly spirited off to covert ‘chop’ shops, where they are dismantled and later sold to repair facilities as generic used parts. Most of us who know Kona well simply empathized with him over his loss, expressed disbelief that it had happened to him, and reticently accepted the fact that unhappy s**t happens increasingly more often these days (more frequently that we care to admit).
Then, yesterday morning, while taking our ilio (dogs) out for their AM walk (it’s more like a ‘drag’, with them dragging me at a fast clip, of course, since that’s what huskies do best: pull) I was surprised to see Kona’s old blue Honda sitting in his driveway again. Getting the pups back in the house, I walked across the road to find Kona going through his car with a bemused look on his face.
Kona told me that LEOs had found his car about 40 miles from town, pulled over to the side of the road and abandoned. His car stereo had been removed, but strangely enough whomever had taken the car had put cheap seat covers on the front seats (?!). The spare tire in the trunk had been removed, but the licenses were still on the vehicle and it was otherwise entirely intact. Aside from some minor wiring damage to the ignition switch (where they had hot-wired it) and the missing stereo, it was essentially all there. In the trunk, Kona found a strange assortment of junk and scattered small stuff, as if they thieves had used it to store miscellaneous debris. Among the trash and junkalunka stuffs in his trunk were several pairs of used latex rubber gloves, a ‘spent’ condom (yuk!), about 300 or so mounted photographic slides, and odd bits of paper.
As Kona poked through the trunks’ contents, the thought occurred to me that if the car had indeed been taken by drug users, it wasn’t inconceivable that there might be contaminated needles lurking among all that junk, so I told him to put on a pair of heavy gloves before probing around further in there. Of course had he actually come into contact with a needle, nothing short of a Kevlar reinforced LEO type ‘search glove’ would have offered him any real protection. I should explain that the thought of getting poked by a contaminated needle is a particularly real and serious threat to me, coming from a medical background in which stringent precautions around needles were a hard and fast rule to prevent transmittal of diseases. With all the AIDS, hepatitis, and other nasty things many users have, needle punctures are a particularly unpleasant thing to experience, whether in a hospital or in a public venue. Fortunately, Kona appears to have not found any drug paraphernalia in his recovered vehicle and was spared that horrible possibility.
Interestingly, in amongst all that paper debris in Kona’s trunk was a partly destroyed bank statement; the name and address had been torn off, but the account number was still intact. Since law enforcement agencies are now too overburdened with far more pressing concerns (like murders, assault, domestic disputes, and kidnappings, just to name a few) than ordinary car theft, not much help is typically forthcoming to assist a stolen car’s owner these days, in trying to find out who stole his vehicle. Kona said he plans to check on that bank account to see if there’s any possible lead to be pursued, but it’s more likely not related to the car theft. Kona did share something else with me concerning the theft of his vehicle which is an intriguing thing to reflect further upon, though.
Kona remembered that he thinks he saw an older white station wagon similar to the one he observed speeding off from his place parked in front of the drug house, once. What if, Kona mused, the car theft was some sort of covert warning from those behind the drug house operation? What if it were their subtle way of saying ‘back off, or worse things can happen!’? For a minute the thought gave me pause, since it isn’t a unreasonable surmise to make, especially given Kona’s association with the police and his cooperation with the DEA in the recent narco bust. However, on further thought and after additional reflection, I think it’s perhaps too subtle for most run-of-the-mill, amateur meth drugees one runs into these days. Something like that would be very characteristic of a big-time drug cartel or an organized crime gang, but I think our local drug house dimbulbs were just an amateur operation, and giving them credit for that sort of subtlety would likely be far too generous.
That isn’t to say, Kona’s car might not have been stolen by someone related to the drug house crew, but it was more probably just a simple-minded act of coincidence and not a more subtle way of saying ‘don’t mess with us, or else...’. The only reason Kona got his car back at all is likely because of his close contacts with the law agencies; they clearly had a special eye peeled for his vehicle. It wasn’t the sort of casual regard that most ‘stolen vehicle’ reports get with local police agencies.
So, Kona now has his beloved old car back. The drug house is still inhabited by the original occupants, but they are probably making a semi-serious effort to stay out of further trouble (unless they’re just positively and unequivocally stupid, which is a very good possibility, of course). Kona has made a mental note, doubtless further underscored by his wahine’s nagging ‘encouragement’, to set his car alarm every night without fail, and the battle against drug users and suppliers continues largely unabated in these beautiful, but increasingly chaotic islands formerly regarded by mainlanders as paradise.
In a sense, it’s a losing battle, since the gross escape that substance abuse offers those who are either incapable of intelligent reflection or who perceive themselves to be legitimized victims of some depredation or another is fatally attractive. Alcohol abuses are just as bad, of course, but the fact that ETOH is legal and substances are illegal makes a huge difference in terms of successfully resisting these deleterious influences in our communities and kauhales. A further big concern in the islands is the fact that one person’s drug abuser is invariably someone else’s son, daughter, husband, cousin, or brother, and in the islands, blood is definitely thicker than water. No one like to 'rat' on family in Hawaii.
One fact that you would think experience should have made crystal clear to most is that morality is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to enforce via statutes, laws, sanctions, and recriminations alone. The only reasonable methodology to adopt that has any chance of success in helping control abuse of illegal substances is to make drugs (at least some of them, if perhaps not all) legal and carefully regulate their use. The Prohibition Act and its failure to achieve positive results should serve as a clear example of how laws alone do not solve pressing social problems. What does seem to work modestly well is a combination of cooperative, mutual social consensus among peers that abuse of these substances needs to be eliminated or stringently controlled, and establishment of regulatory oversight much along the lines of existing commissions intended to control the use and sale of alcoholic beverages is also needed. This sort of approach can function only, naturally enough, in a community that is mutually supportive, as in the ancient Hawaiian manner. In today’s ‘poi-dog’ Hawaiian society, there’s absolutely no sense of mutual cohesiveness at all.
Then too, in recent months we have seen painful examples of official abuse and corruption on the part of elected or designated public officials charged with responsibility for ETOH regulation and enforcement (e.g. the Honolulu ETOH Board Commissioners), so even then there is no guaranteed official apparatus that will protect us from the effects and consequences of illegal and irresponsible behavior by others. Human beings are cursed with a broadly bipolar nature that embraces everything from the purest, most noble sentiments of benevolent altruism, to the opposite extreme of raw, unconstrained lusting after power, money, and control of others. It is the basic paradox of all human life that we are created in such a perplexing form as we exist in, and that nothing we can do, be it praying to imagined gods or setting up innumerable regulatory commissions, shall ever substantially improve our chances of offsetting this essential liability of what is essential and unchanging human nature. The good, the bad, and the ugly! That’s us, folks!
Ah well. At least there’s one less drug house operating in this small part of the universe and that’s some measure of comfort in a society that seems to be increasingly sliding down the benjo. Pass the toilet paper and make room for one more, bruddah!
Aloha kakou! Malama pono!
More Blogs by Kalikiano Kalei
A Man of One Book? - Friday, February 15, 2013
Painting the roses red... - Thursday, December 27, 2012
Waiting for the elevator... - Friday, December 14, 2012
Fifty Shades of Crimson... - Tuesday, November 13, 2012
'Lawn Order' in the Land of Oz - Tuesday, March 13, 2012
With Lawrence in Arabia and Me at the Motor-V - Monday, February 27, 2012
Two-Wheeling in a Four-Wheeling World... - Thursday, February 16, 2012
That Big Sucking Sound on New Year's Eve - Wednesday, December 28, 2011
The Vintner of our Incontinence...Solstice 2011 - Tuesday, December 20, 2011
Hawaiian Dogs and Cats: 'Ilio and Popoki - Wednesday, November 16, 2011
In the beginning there were the Boozefighters... - Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Flagging Enthusiasms (Andy Rooney-like Thoughts) - Thursday, October 06, 2011
A Victim of Gravity: Grave Undertakings - Friday, September 30, 2011
Do not go gentle into that good night... - Thursday, September 01, 2011
Conscionable Social Anarchy for Politically Correct Luddites - Friday, July 22, 2011
Vulgarity as a top-selling US export - Sunday, June 05, 2011
An American Narcissus - Monday, April 18, 2011
AAA: The Automobile Addicts of America - Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Smiling Faces or Rhesus Sardonicus? - Wednesday, March 16, 2011
The breast things in life... - Thursday, February 24, 2011
Screwing the pooch... - Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Rolling Stoned (and other gene-pool culling activities) - Friday, February 11, 2011
Meltdown in the Middle East: A startling thought - Monday, February 07, 2011
Bullshit Nation - Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Winter Solstice...a short sidereal salvo - Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Autumnal Thoughts at Equinox - Sunday, October 10, 2010
Turning and Burning with Huli-Huli Chicken... - Sunday, August 08, 2010
Afghanistan: A PROZAC moment?...NOT! - Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Women Hold Up Half the Sky (and just a bit more) - Sunday, September 27, 2009
Triathletes Rock, Baby!... - Sunday, September 06, 2009
Everything you know is WRONG! - Friday, August 28, 2009
Die Letzte Nacht in Munchen - Tuesday, July 21, 2009
The wreck of the USS America... - Wednesday, May 27, 2009
What a drag...er...DRUG! - Monday, April 13, 2009
A Slow Blog to Shibboleth - Saturday, March 21, 2009
Casting pearl-studded silk purses at pigs... - Tuesday, February 24, 2009
The Ever-Widening Pyramidicity Paradigm - Sunday, February 22, 2009
Rider's Block...those are the breaks...er, brakes! - Thursday, November 27, 2008
As Easy as a Bridge... - Sunday, November 23, 2008
Yelping joyfully into that deep forever night..... - Sunday, November 02, 2008
Death as a cure for all problems.... - Sunday, October 26, 2008
A Fart in the Arse of the Universe - Sunday, August 03, 2008
Field Notes: Observations on 'Homo Sapiens' - Friday, July 25, 2008
An Unnatural Disaster - Friday, May 16, 2008
Life in the 'OTHER Walden Pond'... - Friday, April 18, 2008
Redman's Revenge! - Wednesday, March 19, 2008
The Stupid Factor - Monday, March 17, 2008
Sermon for Today: Shallow Depths! - Sunday, March 16, 2008
The Howdy-Doodit Show - Friday, March 14, 2008
Jesus Loves Kinky Friedman - Thursday, March 13, 2008
In Arm's Way... - Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Passing the Torch - Thursday, March 06, 2008
Imagine - Friday, February 29, 2008
Scratch the Man, Find the Child. - Thursday, February 28, 2008
The 'Governator' in Sun Valley - Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tales of Manpower and Horsepower - Friday, February 15, 2008
Getting High - Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Da Arda Gud Riting - Tuesday, February 05, 2008
The Grand Panjandrum Speaks - Thursday, January 31, 2008
Notes From the Bunker - Wednesday, January 30, 2008
I Piss on You From a Great Height! - Tuesday, January 29, 2008
An Ocean Ran Through it - Saturday, January 26, 2008
Why are we hated so much? - Tuesday, January 22, 2008
A Dark and Stormy Night - Monday, January 21, 2008
Just Some Idiot Pounding on a Drum - Sunday, January 20, 2008
Not Celine's Children... - Friday, January 18, 2008