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Emmitsburg Coalition To Prevent
Drug Abuse - Take II

Jack Deatherage, Jr.'s

The first meeting of the Emmitsburg Coalition to Prevent Drug Abuse was attended by about 40 people. A Frederick radio station set up its equipment, the County rags had sent reporters, the town newspaper had its owner on hand. A member of the Council of Churches was there. The Feds were there; as were some state suits and county paper shufflers (PS). Even most of our town's elected officials showed up. (A chance at 100K had fired some of them up.) Emmitsburg was news. And I sat, and listened, and watched, and wondered- How many of these people are here for the event? How many will be here as this group gets down to its real business?

There were 20 people at the next meeting. A couple of county PSs, a town official or so. A few disgruntled parents and some concerned citizens. Even the local paper sent a reporter. I still sat wondering who was going to stick. These 20 weren't all from the 40 who attended the first meeting, maybe half of them were new faces. But I wasn't ready to bet a functioning group could be formed from these people. I was still waiting. My bet was that Emmitsburg would show its true self and crush Mr. Brenann's coalition efforts by weight of sheer indifference.

The next meeting I recall had 5 people in attendance. No PSers, no elected town officials, no reporters, no Feds. Just a few new faces- concerned citizens, our crusader, a couple of drug enforcement cops and me, the smirking fool.

And then the latest meeting, the one when the ECPDA was to incorporate, to elect officers. To begin organizing the various groups to work as a whole on the town's drug problem. To become qualified for government grants- that $100,000 everyone was so excited about the first meeting. This was the important meeting! The word was out over the phone lines and e-mails. The Coalition was down to nut crackin' time!

My gardening partner and I sat quietly discussing our garden as the crusader checked the clock. We were it. From 40 concerned citizens to 3. Well, two. I hardly count as my garden partner told Mr. Brenann, I was there to laugh as he fell on his face.

Which was true enough in the beginning. I did come for the entertainment, to watch the train wreck. And I got my chuckle time in. But now we were down to the people who actually cared enough about this town to show up at a meeting to DO SOMETHING!

Being the unmerciful snot that I often am I had to ask our crusader, "Where are the church people? Where are the town officers? Where are all the locals so determined to see this community change?"

He hemmed and hawed. I knew he didn't want to "burn" people he had once worked with and hoped to get back on board, but I wanted him to say what I already knew.

They were afraid. Not all of them, but collectively they won't act to protect this community. They fear the dope dealers; they fear the kids using the dope. Better to live with the beast than stir it to violence. Better to be part of the beast. Better to throw everyone else's kids to the monster and huddle at home and pray their children won't get eaten.

The churches weren't present; whatever God they give lip service to must be proud that they have chosen not to risk their crucifixions. HE already died for their sins, why should they have to suffer now? And our elected officials? I guess we get what we vote for. Evidently we don't vote for leaders. The Coalition was promised NO help from the town, but the town is willing to share in any grant moneys the Coalition might snag from the Feds, state and county provided the Coalition doesn't piss off the dopers and their dealers! (I guess I've voted for the last time in the farce this burg calls an election.)

It's nice to know who you're dealing with. I'd sooner deal with the dopers and pushers. At least I know what they want and are willing to do to get it. They are people I can count on. Hmmm. Maybe I'm catching sight of the true situation here. Maybe the government agencies, elected officials and the churches WANT the druggies and pushers running wild and free? Of course! They justify their jobs by having kids strung out on crack, heroin, and alcohol. They preach from their pulpits, classrooms and podiums about the evils of drug abuse, and they tell us how we need them to save us!

But somehow the situation never gets better does it?

I asked Mr. Brennan if the Coalition was out to rid the town of dope dealers? It was suggested the Coalition leave the enforcement of law to the police. The Coalition would focus its efforts on presenting the kids with alternatives to drugs and the culture that grows from drug use. How this can be accomplished with 2, maybe 3 people, is beyond me. But I've always thought the idea of preventing drug abuse in this burg was beyond hope. Way too many alcohol and/or dope consumers in the role of parents.

At least we know now how many people are willing to get involved. To be honest, three people are two more than I ever expected.

Read Other Articles by Jack Deatherage, Jr.