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Posts tagged Detroit Free Press

Prohibition kills

I saw this story splashed on the front page of the Detroit Free Press at the gas station this morning:

Teen’s life slips away in drug den

June 21, 2006

BY JIM SCHAEFER and KIM NORRIS
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS

Bloomfield Township teen Lauren Jolly clung to life for three hours after snorting a lethal dose of heroin in a Detroit drug house, but police say the man running the place wouldn’t allow anyone to take her to a hospital, the Free Press has learned.

After an ice bath and CPR failed to revive Jolly, 17, the night of May 24, the man, Donald Coleman, carried her to her car, police said. He allegedly then ordered another drug customer to drive Jolly elsewhere in Detroit, park the car and leave the body inside. Coleman gave the woman $30 to return by cab, police said.

But the woman, who is an admitted prostitute, instead took Jolly to St. John Hospital, where the Birmingham Groves High School junior was pronounced dead. When police arrived at the hospital, the woman lied and said she had found the girl passed out in a car near 8 Mile, police said.

— Detroit Free Press (2006-06-21): Teen’s life slips away in drug den

And what makes me so mad about this story is that I knew how it would end before I even read through it. Let’s set aside for a moment the currents (or riptides) of class issues implicit in this sort of front-page shocker — if you know how the suburb of Bloomfield relates to the city of Detroit, you’ll know what I mean. For now, I’d like to point out the way in which this girl’s death is immediately, unthinkingly used for a story about the heartlessness of drug dealers, and the narcs’ battle against the latest grave and gathering threat to the teenagers of the outer suburbs:

No one has been charged in connection with the teenager’s death, but federal and local investigations are continuing in the possible roles of both men and whether Jolly’s overdose was caused by a deadly mix of heroin and the painkiller fentanyl. Authorities have blamed fentanyl — which is many times more powerful than heroin — for at least 83 deaths in Wayne and Oakland counties this year.

… The investigation into Jolly’s death picked up steam over the weekend when state and federal officials spoke with several people connected with the drug house, including the prostitute, who told police she had lied earlier because she was afraid of Donald Coleman.

The woman now described going to the house on Keating to buy heroin and finding Jolly sitting unconscious in the dining room.

The woman told police that she learned that after Jolly took the heroin, Donald Coleman and others had put Jolly in the bathtub with ice cubes to try to revive her. Her wet clothes had been removed.

The woman said that the teenager eventually appeared to stop breathing. She and Donald Coleman then tried CPR, unsuccessfully, police said.

There were about eight people inside at the time, police said. Several people volunteered to take Jolly to the hospital before she died, but Donald Coleman wouldn’t allow it, police said.

… Heroin laced with fentanyl has appeared on the streets in cities from Chicago to St. Louis to Pittsburgh. It has drawn together local, state and federal law enforcement officials to fight it and even extended to Mexico, where a fentanyl lab was raided by Mexican authorities several weeks ago.

The growing threat also has gotten the attention of the Bush administration. Last week, Scott Burns, the deputy drug czar, attended a conference on fentanyl in Chicago.

— Detroit Free Press (2006-06-21): Teen’s life slips away in drug den

That’s right: it’s a scary world out there in Detroit, and you suburban parents had better keep an eye on your teenagers. The cops are looking out for them but they can’t do everything in the face of such a growing threat. The people pushing this stuff are the sort of heartless scum who would let a poor girl die of an overdose and try to dump the body rather than getting her medical attention.

It may very well be true that Donald Coleman is heartless scum. Some drug dealers are. But, even then, why would he try to stop the girl from being taken to a hospital? Many of his customers volunteered to take her in; Coleman even tried to save her life himself. But he refused to let her be taken to the hospital. Because he was afraid that if that happened, the cops would arrest him and send him to prison for dealing drugs.

If it were not for drug laws, and the corresponding threats of violence, Lauren Jolly would have received immediate medical care, and she might very well be alive today. It’s not drugs that killed her, or even drug dealers. It’s drug prohibition that made Coleman was desperate not to get the authorities involved. Lauren Jolly is dead because drugs are illegal and drug dealers are constantly under threat from the police.

And yet, even though it is only because of drug prohibition that she is dead, and even though the fact that Coleman was trying to avoid arrest is so obvious that it doesn’t even merit mentioning in the story, her death is still being exploited by the narcs and their propagandists in the local press as yet another opportunity to stir up fear about the dangers of drugs and the need for ever-tougher prohibition.

Once again, the pigs who all but murdered this girl will use the human cost of their own failures as the excuse for even more widespread and invasive powers.

Old Time Religion

The latest news from the Traditional Values front comes to us from Roseville, Michigan, where we find that the defenders of public decency are marshalling their forces to preserve our precious culture and heritage–by launching a legal assault against a local artist for his reproduction of part of Michelangelo Buonarroti’s ceiling for the Sistine Chapel:

In Ed (Gonzo) Stross’ eyes, his variation on Michelangelo’s Creation of Man mural is art.

In 39A District Judge Marco Santia’s eyes, it’s a crime.

Santia ordered jail time, a fine and probation — a sentence that sounds a little harsh to a state senator, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and fellow artists.

Santia ordered Stross, 43, to serve 30 days in jail, do two years’ probation and pay a $500 fine for violating a city sign ordinance. Roseville officials said letters were prohibited on the mural and Eve’s exposed chest is indecent.

Besides jail time and the fee, Stross is to tastefully cover Eve’s breasts before reporting to the Macomb County Jail on Monday morning, and to paint over love by May 1.

— Detroit Free Press 2005-02-18: Muralist’s vision has jail staring him in face

(Link thanks to Copyfight 2005-02-23 and No Treason 2005-02-22.)

Of course, a bare-breasted Eve wasn’t too much for Pope Julius II; he not only approved of its public display, but was glad to have it on the ceiling of the most important church in all of Western Christendom. You might have thought that some of our traditional values include glorifying God and Creation through beautiful art, or at least respect for the achievements of our forebearers. But when it comes to the community standards of our day–which are, after all, mostly set by reference to the sensitivities of the most obnoxiously vocal and litigious segments of the Religious Right–it appears that all of these pale in comparison to the importance of ensuring that no child see boobies, ever. Anyway, since when have traditional values had anything to do with history?

This, it seems, is the modern Religious Right: a horde of know-nothing busybodies, apparently hell-bent on making Mencken’s definition of puritanism look plausible, and going to the mat to enforce the values of a past that–fortunately for the achievements of Western civilization–never existed.

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