Sunday, 3 April 2011

Even the Truth About Drugs are Illegal

The more I read about this story, the more bizarre it becomes. Seriously, how clueless are these simpleminded people?

Shelby Considers Drug Charges Against Lisa Ling, Crew
Jami Kinton 
March 2011

SHELBY -- Local authorities are considering charges after a recent Oprah Winfrey Network broadcast displayed extensive drug use in and around Richland County.

The Shelby Police Department filed a general offense report Monday morning, with offenses including "corrupting another with drugs," "drug abuse" and "child endangerment."

The offenders?

National news correspondent Lisa Ling, the production crew and all subjects involved in a recent episode of "Our America."

The report, along with a recommendation for misdemeanor and felony charges, will be presented to the Richland County Prosecutor's Office today.

For months, Ling and her crew filmed in Mansfield, Shelby, Plymouth and beyond to detail the heroin problem in Richland County.

When the episode aired on TV on March 22, Shelby police Chief Charlie Roub said he was shocked by what he saw.

"There were people using drugs, talking about using drugs and in one scene, you've got people using drugs with a 1-year-old present," Roub said. "The 1-year-old was also in the back of a van with his parents on their way to purchase drugs."

Spokespeople from the Oprah Winfrey Network have not responded to requests for comment from the News Journal.

"Sometimes it's hard to tell where the drugs are being used at, like when the subjects are in the van, but some places are easily identified as Richland County," Roub said. "Even if you start to commit a crime here and you end in another location, you can still say it started here."

The show, according to the chief, depicts several people injecting themselves and others with drugs. Some were minors at the time, he said.

"What happens from here will be up to the prosecutor to determine, but even if a counterfeit drug was offered, that's a crime, too," Roub said. "If you present it as a drug, it's a drug."

One family involved still lives in the Shelby area.

"I know these people," Roub said. "I've known them for a long time. I just didn't appreciate the whole thing. The show gives this area a bad name. You pick on an area like Richland County, and it makes us look like we're the worst there is in the country.

"Simply not true.”

Hiding the Truth About Drugs Won’t Make Them Go Away
At first, I thought the article was a satire on how midwest America over reacts to drug related issues and it took a few minutes before it sunk in. Then I realised that some elected whackjobs were actually contemplating whether to lay charges on a film crew for reporting on the local drug problem. And these are not just simple misdemeanours but full-on felony charges. Accusing the film crew of “corrupting another with drugs”, "drug abuse" and "child endangerment" is not for the light hearted. This is serious stuff.

It seems that if you expose the uncomfortable truth about illicit drugs, the authorities become obsessed with proving that this information is dangerous to the public. Any diversion from the usual government’s tough line on drugs leaves authorities vulnerable to those pesky facts whipped up by researchers and truth seeking journalists. This sends our leaders into a spin as they go scurrying for their rule books on drug policy and protocol. Never mind that the drug policies they so fervently support are at the root of the problem. Never mind that the laws they insist on cause more carnage, death and misery than drugs ever will. Do they realise that drug policy has been the biggest government failure in history? Why are they so scared of the truth?

Remember Professor David Nutt, head of the UK government’s The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD)? He was sacked by the Home Secretary for simply providing facts to the public. Prof. Nutt made worldwide headlines when he stated that ecstasy and cannabis were not as harmful as the authorities claimed and should be reclassified along with an overhaul of the countries’ drug scheduling system. His comments incensed the government, horrified the anti-drug nut-jobs and sent the tabloid press into a frenzy. The dilemma though was that the Professor was right. And although he may have had scientific research and evidence on his side, government policy isn’t always about the facts. Especially when it comes to drug policy. His offence was described by the Home Secretary as creating “confusion between scientific advice and policy” which says a lot about how the government implements those policies. If important government policies are not based on facts, evidence and science then what the hell are they based on?

How can Shelby Police justify filing charges for airing a documentary? The reporters and film crew were just showing the world how some people live. Documenting the harsh reality of drug abuse on public TV isn’t creating the situation but merely exposing a major problem. Whether the subjects were committing a crime or not, it would have occurred regardless of a TV crew being present. 

There were people using drugs, talking about using drugs and in one scene, you've got people using drugs with a 1-year-old present. The 1-year-old was also in the back of a van with his parents on their way to purchase drugs.
--A shocked Shelby Police Chief, Charlie Roub

That poor 1-year old, being confronted with drug use and van rides at his age. And how dare those ruthless addicts talk about drugs let alone using them. Really? Is this the level of behaviour we expect from an elected Police Chief? There were no violent crimes committed or dangerous behaviour that harmed the community. The footage was simply of people inflicted with an addiction which by-the-way, is still technically a medial issue. And Charlie Roub is not winning any awards for rational thinking by comparing addicts who are using drugs to dangerous criminals like bank robbers.

Let me give you an example. If camera crews followed around bank robbers and aired it on national television, would you not use that footage as evidence? If we did nothing, people would ask, 'Well why didn't you do anything?
--Shelby Police Chief, Charlie Roub

The actions of the Shelby Police Chief, wreaks of an elected official trying to cover his own arse. Why is it alright for Roub to appear on TV in front of confiscated contraband whilst sprucing the successes of his dedicated officers but it’s not okay to show the associated problems? His outrage just doesn’t pass the logic test.

I know these people. I’ve known them for a long time. I just didn't appreciate the whole thing. The show gives this area a bad name. You pick on an area like Richland County, and it makes us look like we're the worst there is in the country.
--Shelby Police Chief, Charlie Roub

It’s interesting to note or even ironic, that the Shelby Police Department is part of METRICH. They are a drug fighting collective, originally formed in 1986 to service Richland County but have since grown to include several nearby jurisdictions. To get an idea how an METRICH operates - the organisation that dictates Shelby’s anti-drug strategies - I checked out their website only to discover that the last update was in 2007. Hmm. Digging deeper, I noticed that the News section has an amazing collection of two articles! One from 2005 and the other from 2004. I suggest you read the 2004 article, 14 Arrested On Drug Charges At Ripplefest. Another interesting feature is the section called “What Drugs Look Like”. But I hope they don’t use this for new officers doing field work because the page is blank. 

Best of all though, is their incredible dictionary of drug terms. I have to say that every possible combination of street slang for drugs is included. Did you know that “Pot” is street talk for marijuana? Or “Agonies” means withdrawal symptoms and when you’re “Totally Spent”, you have a MDMA hangover. Oh, and “Garbage” is what they call inferior quality drugs. My personal favourite is, Zoinked - intoxicated on drugs to the point of uselessness. 

More obscure terms include:
Chestbonz - the one who takes the biggest bong hit
The Witch - heroin
Tampon - a fat joint
Zig Zag Man - LSD; marijuana; marijuana rolling papers
Galloping Horse - heroin
Ghost Busting - smoking cocaine; searching for white particles in the belief that they are crack
Go into a Sewer - to inject a drug
Balling - vaginally implanted cocaine
Interplanetary Mission - travel from one crackhouse to another in search of crack
Queen Ann's Lace - marijuana
Up Against The Stem - addicted to smoking marijuana

And in case you didn’t already know, there’s the term, “Thing” - heroin; cocaine; main drug interest at the moment. I imagine it would be used in a sentence like this: “Where’s my thing” or “Bring that thing over here” or “Is this thing for me?”. I’m glad they cleared that one up.

Growing Concerns
Since the news broke about the Shelby Police Department filing charges, two nearby counties, the Shelby Mayor and some community leaders have publicly given their support. This is a worry. Not only do they have some redneck Police Chief living in his own delusional world but there’s a queue forming of equally disturbed people, willing to join him. Incredibly, most of them hold positions of power.

Filing these charges raises some interesting issues. Does this mean that documentary makers filming the horrors of war can be charged for showing crimes against humanity? Is the Shelby Police Chief simply embarrassed because civilians can find people using heroin but his officers can’t? Does the documentary show the community to have a bigger drug problem than the Police Chief likes to admit? 

If there’s one truth to be learnt from all this, it’s that only the "War on Drugs" could produce a scenario like this.

Charges Against TV Crew Garner Support In Shelby
Jami Kinton 
March 2011

SHELBY -- A pending decision to charge local residents and crew members who took part in a recent episode of "Our America" has won the support of local officials.

On Monday, the Shelby Police Department filed a general offense report -- the initial police document generated upon a complaint -- that included the offenses of "corrupting another with drugs," "drug abuse" and "child endangerment."

Shelby Police Chief Charlie Roub said he would be also be looking into filing charges against national news correspondent Lisa Ling, the production crew and others involved in the episode that aired March 22 on the Oprah Winfrey Network.

A media representative from the network declined to comment on a possible lawsuit.

The recent hour-long program was a sequel to a show that aired on "Oprah" in 2008.

The Shelby police report his been forwarded to the Richland County Prosecutor's office.

Assistant Richland County Prosecutor Brent Robinson has not returned calls to the media.

Local resident included in the episode -- from Plymouth, Shelby and Mansfield -- were seen allegedly injecting themselves with heroin, sometimes in the presence of a toddler.

Richland County Children Services is aware of the situation.

Plymouth Police Chief Charlie Doan said he, too, was angered by the footage. Doan said his department was actively involved in the taping of the initial episode, allowing the crew to shoot at the Plymouth department and assigning officers to tag along on taping that took place inside the village.

When the first episode aired showing Plymouth residents consuming drugs, Doan said he was livid.

"I was on the phone that same night with the network," he said. "I was hot. They never filmed that stuff when we were around. When I called them they basically said, 'We were trying to shoot a show.' I do think that the crew should still be held accountable, but that's where the prosecutor comes in."

Doan said he had many questions after viewing the footage.

"Anyone who supplies drugs should be charged, but it's a matter of proving who did what," he said. "They show (a woman) shooting up, but there's a lot we didn't see. Where do you think that money came from? I doubt they stole it with the presence of the TV crew there. Hopefully, the crew didn't watch them steal it, too."

Although two of the people on the show live in Plymouth, Doan said it didn't appear any criminal activity took place within his jurisdiction.

"If it did, I would pursue charges, too," Doan said. "If (Roub) can get something from this, he won't lack support from me."

Richland County Sheriff Steve Sheldon said he spoke with Roub on Tuesday morning about the issue. Sheldon said he couldn't speculate on whether or not the county would decide to join forces.

"Two hundred things could happen from here," he said. "We're waiting to see what the prosecutor says."

In response to some angry community members, Roub stressed that Shelby Police are not pursuing a lawsuit.

"It's a criminal act, not a civil act," he said. "There is evidence that a crime was committed, but a lot can happen from here."

Roub said the time criminal actions took place also will be considered.

As police chief, Roub said he has an obligation to address the situation.

"Let me give you an example," Roub said. "If camera crews followed around bank robbers and aired it on national television, would you not use that footage as evidence? If we did nothing, people would ask, 'Well why didn't you do anything?'"

Shelby Mayor Marilyn John found no fault in Roub's efforts.

"If illegal activity has taken place anywhere in the county, it is up to law enforcement to pursue it," she said. "If it happened during the filming, then it's up to them to investigate it and address it."

Doan is exasperated.

"I was sick after the first show, and didn't even watch all of the second," he said. "It seemed like it was done more for entertainment than anything else. It just didn't end up being what I imagined.”

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Gledwood said...

What on earth happened to freedom of speech?!

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100% , BUT I have noticed a upsurge of people on the pipe or shooting up on camera ,it seems to be all for sock value.Not a part of the story being told.Cheers

Terry Wright said...

Thanks Gleds and Anon.

Free speech is pointless when the media doesn’t use it to expose corrupt polices by corrupt politicians. They seem to only use it to attack minorities like drug addicts.

The surge in explicit images showing drug use only reflects reality. The more realistic it is, the more that politicians object.