Freedom of Choice………….

I was reading an article recently about the tragic death of Chinese daredevil Wu Yongjing who died while performing a stunt atop a 62 story office building in Changsha, China. He was doing pull-ups on a roof ledge and lost his grip causing him to fall. The CNN article asked the question: Who is to blame for the Chinese roof-toppers death? Well I think I can safely say Wu was responsible since he is the one who made the decision or choice to perform the stunt. His girlfriend believes since he was performing the stunt for money, the company who offered to pay Wu is at fault. I don’t see it that way since Wu did have the ability to say no to the offer and not perform a stunt that was dangerous. But that sparked a question in my mind about today’s society especially American society where it seems we go out of our way to place blame on everything and everybody except the person who made the bad decision in the first place. Plenty of examples are in the news everyday concerning this mindset that believes people are not ultimately responsible for their decisions and it drives me insane. Especially when it comes to drug addiction and other tragic situations.

Drug addiction is a huge problem world-wide and sad to say America seems to lead the way in addiction to drugs as well as other things. Right now there is a movement that believes the pharmaceutical companies and doctors are to blame. I have heard that doctors prescribe too many pain pills to patients who are in pain, causing these patients to become addicted to those pain killers. This leads to people becoming addicts for pain pills as well as heroin. Not sure about the logic here. I have had knee surgery and also suffered a broken pelvis in the past. Both injuries required surgery and for the pain Vicodin and Demerol were prescribed. I was informed of the risks concerning possible addiction as well as other health related side effects and I took the medication as directed. I even had pills leftover because I made a point to be extra careful with these pain killers. In other words I made the personal choice to follow the directions given to me by the doctor and make sure to not over do any pain meds. If someone doesn’t make the choice to follow directions and they choose to take more than the recommended dosage, well how is that decision the fault of the drug company or doctor? I know, addiction is ‘supposed’ to be a disease but if an addict has the choice to take something addictive even though he doesn’t need it, is that a disease or a choice? No addicts I have known were ever forced to snort a substance or put a needle in their arm. As far as I know they chose to do so. Placing blame on drug companies and doctors seems like a no win situation because it can lead to legitimate pain patients losing their ability to get well because of draconian laws that prevent doctors from helping them. As a matter of fact this can lead to even more addiction to illegal drugs as that option may be the only pain relief available to patients. Patients who otherwise would follow directions and not abuse medications they are given thru proper medical care.

Luckily my experience with addicts is limited. In the 1960s and 1970s I saw first hand how drugs can change people and neighborhoods. I saw friends in my Philadelphia neighborhood get hooked on all sorts of strange things including pot, heroin, and even cleaning solvents. Not one of those addicts was forced into addiction as far as I know. They all walked down that path willingly. Several years ago a family member was dating an addict. What drugs he chose to consume I don’t know but the end result was problems for the family member and my family. After being assured this individual was free of drugs my wife and I made the decision to allow him to reside with us since his own family wasn’t willing to take him in. I made the decision begrudgingly but I did agree so I did make a choice. Apparently so did he, he stole from my family and when caught, he threatened my family if we chose to have him arrested and prosecuted. Luckily that didn’t happen since he was later arrested for armed robbery. Never heard what happened to this piece of human vermin and I guess I don’t really care. He caused my family to have many arguments over his behavior and I do not wish to ever have to repeat that particular chapter in my life. Anyway, between what I saw in Philly and this  addict I do not trust junkies even a little bit. Drug rehab has become a huge growth industry in America. Probably because those rehab centers unfortunately have plenty of repeat customers. Sad really all the money and time wasted on individuals who make bad life choices and don’t seem to care about themselves or others. I firmly believe that if you somehow managed to eliminate even 50% of addicts from society the crime rate would fall to unbelievably low levels. Burglary, muggings and purse snatching would be almost extinct I bet. Alas I fear that will never happen since we coddle addicts and pushers alike.

Coddle pushers? Yep, how many times do we hear about areas of various cities that are referred to as known drug areas. If their known why aren’t they arrested and put out of business? Seems simple, they sell drugs, said drugs are against the law, arrest and jail. Not so hard when you think about it. Heck back in the old Philly neighborhood I lived in hippies sold the drugs and let’s just say hippie hunting season was always a great way to at least slow drug sales in my old Hood. Of course back then fists were used more frequently than guns or knives so punching a hippie usually only hurt the hippie. Now-a-days every criminal seems to be armed and if you’re an unarmed civilian  confronting them isn’t a good idea. How about the death penalty for pushers? They peddle poison that can lead to deaths so why not? Oh that might be cruel, well so is dealing with addicts. As far as addicts are concerned 3 strikes your out. Three visits to rehab if it doesn’t work guess you need to be incarcerated for a long while. Just an idea. I know some bleeding heart liberals and bloody do-gooders will scream and complain but if you want to wage war on drugs do it to win not break even. I guess until we start holding people responsible for their own decisions and choices in life, our lives will never be free of addicts and their ‘contributions’ to society. Those contributions of course are crime and a waste of resources medically that might help decent human beings.

Addiction is not the only crime we seem to want to blame on someone or something else. Mass shootings are another hot topic in America. The usual blather is guns are at fault and we need more gun laws to prevent law abiding citizens from purchasing guns or ammo. Why do these people believe more gun laws will work. Ironically the American cities and states with the highest volume of gun laws have the highest amounts of gun crime. Coincidence, I think not. When law abiding citizens can’t acquire weapons criminals have a target rich hunting ground because they don’t obey the laws anyway. Common sense but yet our media and politicians still don’t see the forest for the trees. The Las Vegas mass shooting, guns were obtained illegally. Sandy Hook, the perp stole the weapon. San Bernadino terrorist attack, an idiot neighbor bought the guns for the terrorists. There are sadly many more examples but the real narrative is usually the same. Blame the gun manufacturers or the 2nd Amendment, anybody but the shooter who chose to commit an evil act.

I guess what I am trying to say is society needs to start holding individuals responsible for their individual behavior. Looking to blame anyone except the perpetrator is excusing the evil that people are unfortunately capable of committing.

As always my opinions are mine and mine alone formed by what I know, research and have experienced. Civil comments always welcome. Starting next week Monday blogs will be about movies and music while Wednesday blogs will be Wisdom and Wisdumb.

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