Bizarre Twist in Louisiana Drug Arrests
It’s one of those, “reality is stranger than fiction” stories. The Huffington Post reported a story out of Ferriday, LA last month that can only leave you scratching your head. Apparently, a segment of the citizenry is complaining because police are arresting too many people for drug crimes.
The background, a small town hit hard by the recession and unemployment, explains the twist – if the only real way to make money is to do something illegal, some residents might see that as a justification. What makes it different though, is we aren’t talking about a misdemeanor crime here. It isn’t prostitution or an undocumented migrant taking on a job for less than minimum wage. In this case, it’s the Sixth Street Boys selling crack.
According to the article, one resident said this, “You have to realize, we don't have no jobs around here or nothing. Every time we try to make a little something to get on our feet or try to feed our family they come kicking the doors in and knocking us back down again."
This came after a drug sweep resulted in the arrest of 30 in the small (population less than 4,000) town on the border with Mississippi. The unstated premise is that the locals aren’t using so much as operating a business to sell to those who live elsewhere.
It’s an interesting case. Should crime be permissible when there doesn’t seem to be any other opportunities? The representative from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition thought so. He said, “This is an economic issue. In communities like these, there is no opportunity for employment or education. These people have to make money to buy food and pay bills. If there are no jobs, what do you expect they'll do?"
Of course, there’s another side to the story. The side that points out the rampant drug sales are precisely what has driven legitimate businesses out of the town, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.