Please allow me to comment on several issues regarding the removal of the "hoops" in Williamsport, as well as the failure of drug enforcement within our communities. I no longer reside in Williamsport, but, the issues facing the city are similar issues facing other communities as well.
The removal of the basketball hoops at Memorial Park, or any other recreation area, is simply wrong. It's stereotyping and misleading the community that the only place there are drug issues are in our community parks. It also suggests the class of people that use these areas are the dealers, and addicts of society.
The issue here is much greater. Drug addiction, and abuse, are just as great in all levels of society. The wealthy class has as much a problem as the lower class. The problem is in enforcement.
I'm of the opinion addiction results only after a person commits a crime. The laws in this country prohibit the use and the abuse of illegal substances, and prescription drugs. In order to be addicted, you first had to break the law. That makes the problem a law enforcement issue, and not a medical problem.
We aren't doing enough to control need. Law enforcement takes down the dealer, we prosecute them, they get some jail time in most instances. But for every dealer removed from streets, a new dealer moves into serve the clients buying the drugs.
Society needs to demand that for every dealer prosecuted, their list of clients are prosecuted as well. That those users, even the most wealthy or prominent person within the community, is also prosecuted for breaking the law. In conjunction, when a dealer is arrested, their client list should be published, for the public to see who is buying their products.
This will create a large overcrowding issue in local jails, and state prisons; but, from the dealer to the user, they will know there is mandatory jail time awaiting them. The commonwealth will have to shift its state correction facilities to not only expand to accommodate the larger inmate population, they will have to provide correctional facilities that are lockups for addiction issues, like medical treatment for withdrawal, and counseling.
The drug trade is a billion dollar business. The medical community receives a great deal of money from federal and state funding to treat the addict. Simply transfer that funding to state corrections, and allow the state to treat the addiction, after sentencing. We no longer can afford, in society, to merely treat the drug problem like it's a harmless medical condition. Mandatory law enforcement of criminals; including the user and abuser; need to be treated as harshly, with zero tolerance, stronger convictions, and absolutely no more plea bargains.
Simply taking away basketball hoops in a community; doesn't stop the problem, presented by the mayor and his administration; it only pushes it to some other location, like the restrooms and gathering places in other public areas and businesses.
William L. McGill
Submitted by Virtual Newsroom