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Monday, February 15, 2010


My vote in answer to the YWN letter writer's question is the police (I do want to believe the letter writer is just pulling legs with this letter. I've never seen drugs laid out on a lunch table in the really rough public school I attended for a summer. Smokers, (drug) users, and dealers had the sense to go across the street, a place I sure as heck wasn't going to).

1) the police because they are the only ones with the authority, capability, and know-how to take care of the PUSHER(S). There is no doubt in my mind that a drug dealer is a rodef. I have life experience to stand on as well as some professional experience. But those who are uncertain are more than welcome to ask their Rav. While I don't care in the least for users, PUSHERS are a different sort of animal. Drug pushers are the ones who entice the young and seek to addict them. PUSHERS infect a community. And PUSHERS are often entangled in a messy and dangerous web. I wouldn't approach a pusher directly. I would absolutely seek professional advice from people who understand the drug trade and have some experience regarding pushers and dealers.

I can't remember ever commenting on the Japan bochurim case, but let's not forget that behind those boys was a grand PUSHER. Millions of tzedakah dollars and a lot of energy has been expended by kehillot all over the world regarding that case. A shame that the PUSHER was allowed to operate in at least somewhat of an open manner.

As for telling a Rebbi Parents, and Menahelim, I'd say that they should all be informed too, but probably after seeking the advice of the police (even if you don't involve the police, I think you can still call the police department to ask for guidance). It is hard to know how enmeshed in the drug trade the boy with the scale is and if his point of access is coming from within the community or from the outside.

One thing that I know should NOT be done is to approach the boys directly to befriend them in hopes of "changing their [lives]." Save you compassion and chessed for issues you understand and have the capability of dealing with. As my parents told me before going into high school, [and I'm dating myself, so younger readers, don't feel bad if you miss the reference], "you are not to go near, talk to, or be friends with anyone who wears a beeper." These kids had drugs and a scale out of the table. That is the signal to stay away! You aren't speculating about the use of the beeper. It is right in front of your face. I think PUSHERS are best dealt with by the police, but a person is welcome to talk to the baalei simcha hosting this mess, the wedding hall director, the (kashrut) mashgiach since the boys brought in outside drink, the boys parents, teachers, and menahelim. But befriending the boys; I give that the royal thumbs down.


Margaret said...

Something important to keep in mind: Drug dealers never produce the raw materials, manufacture and process what they sell. Drug dealers operate within organized criminal networks which are often multi-state or international and worth millions of dollars. It's hard to law enforcement to handle this problem. This is way out of the depth of mehanelim.

Orthonomics said...

Exactly Margaret! Seek advice from people who have know the depth of these networks and take their advice. Last thing to do: befriend the pusher as per posters at YWN.

Anonymous said...

But how would you get the police involved at a simcha??

Miami Al said...

You go to a public phone and call the non-emergency number for the police and report the behavior anonymously. You give the best description that you can, and you hope that the police will go and bust the drug dealer.

Drug dealers are not victims, they are a scourge on society. This isn't a bunch of guys getting high in public, this is someone who is OPENLY dealing drugs. The use of the scale shows just HOW brazen this person is, and how they are looking to intimidate and impress in the process.

Normal dealers will measure out bags and discretely sell bags. Someone setting up shop at a wedding not only is looking to make money, they want EVERYONE to know who they are and what they are doing.

It's nice to think that someone within the community can do it, but they can't. You're talking about someone working outside the law in a violent business, you cannot expect a school principal or Rabbi to resolve the issue.

ProfK said...

First, the hard liquor. I'll assume the table for the bochrim was in the men's section, not hidden somewhere. And somehow all those men never noticed all the liquor on that table?! Here's the unfortunate truth--a whole lot of those men didn't give a darn! They are the same ones who, if given half a chance, would be right there with those boys. They are the same ones who get sloshed at a kiddush on Shabbos and get sloshed on Purim. To them it's all about boys will be boys. Want to bet that any number of those bochrim were under age? This would have been a time to tell the hall owner what was going on. He could be the one in deep trouble if it got out that he was serving liquor to minors. This is where a word should have been spoken to the baal simcha, that he had drunk underage drinkers, as well as those above the legal age, who were then going to get into a car and he, as the "host" was going to bear responsibility if c"v an accident happened.

The drugs? Agree with SL. Drugs are a matter for the police, full stop, particularly when you are talking about a pusher.And please let's not assume that these bochrim were from a yeshiva for troubled boys, as if those from mainstream yeshivas never get into drugs and drinking. A few years back they busted up a network of "nice" yeshiva boys who were dealing out on Ocean Parkway. "Everyone" apparently knew who to approach and where to find them. The menahelim of these boys are not equipped to handle problems like this, not experientially and not in attitude. Their first line of defense is that "our boys don't do this." They don't know how to follow the trail, nor should they be. They can't get to the root of the problem. And let's not even mention that the use of and/or sale of drugs is illegal. These boys, pusher and users, were blatantly breaking the law. Want to bet they believed that no other frum person would turn them in, because c'v we should see a frum person arrested and jailed?

When is Klal going to open its eyes and notice that its attitude of sweeping problems under the rosh yeshiva's table is poisoning whole segments of our population?

dvorak613 said...

Although I would have said to go to the police, by now it's a moot point and unless he knows who these kids are, he can't exactly turn to their parents or menahel either. The time to act was last night, and the right people to talk to were the professionals (as in the police). Asking YWN readership the next morning just doesn't cut it.

Orthonomics said...

Obviously dealing with the issue on the spot is the best, but the users and pushers were presumably invited, or at least somehow welcomed. So they aren't completely anonymous. If the baalei simcha want to help, they will. I sure as heck would want to.

Anonymous said...

I do not understand how illigal alcohol is different from illegal drugs?

Also, what is the difference in addiction potential of alcohol vs that of a marijuana?

Also, how is turning one in for illegal posession (potentially denying them college entry, federal job, etc...) different from turning one in for a suspected tax fraud (not an uncommon malaise among many jewish organizations)?

You must dan lchav zchus, and do not be a moser.

Orthonomics said...

Anonymous-reread my post and you will find the difference:

PUSHERS vs. users

Istavnit said...

In defense of anonymous:
Pushers / Users whats the difference. Substance: alcohol vs pot is questioned. Many adults in Jewish community are pushers. Pushers of alcohol. Rabbis mentioning single malt like it could cure desease, unchecked adult lechaim on upcoming Purim. Nobody will stop them. The whole gateway drug argument is a poor one.

On another point:
What a nice righteous crowd has assembled here to condemn a crime.

You have never parked illegaly? Park attendant has never let your child slip with a discounted age ticket? I am sure your taxes are squeeky clean? Your school scholarship application contains no exaggerations? Have your anger never flaired against the child you love, filling them with horror for a brief moment? Have you not humiliated someone who needed support at the moment? Were you busy the whole 8 hour per day working dilligently for your employer? Have you stood by as whole life insurance policy was sold to a person who does not need one?

I could go on and on kwetching about my own lack of caliber in some of the matters above. I hope that the overall holiness of this board members will infect me and protect me from commiting some of the sins above ever again.

Orthonomics said...

Anonymous-The issue is organized crime, not gateway drugs or a l'chaim on Purim.

And, yes, you are correct that there are Rebbes pushing alcohol. And that is a problem. But those Rebbes aren't enmeshed in a dangerous organized crime ring. They don't have creditors with semi-automatics.

When I was in high school, a man with an "auto shop" for which the same cars and busses had been sitting in the lot for as many years as I could remember was shot when two known rival gangs crossed paths during a drug exchange. Had he been selling cigarettes to high school students, this would not have happened.

Miami Al said...

Sure a drug dealer that shows up with a scale and opens shop selling illicit drugs to children is no different from parking illegally.
A drug dealer is denied college acceptance because of the person that reported him instead of because he engaged in a dangerous and criminal enterprise.
Drug dealer with a scale out at a celebration is no different from a Rabbi that is supportive of drinking on Purim..
The level of moral depravity amongst people that are supposedly Orthodox Jews is downright terrifying.

YoelB said...

Young kids are more prone to vomiting from a given amount of alcohol than adults, which may lessen the amount that hits their bloodstream. One of the medical uses of marijuana is to suppress nausea in cancer treatment. Suppress nausea in a young drinker, and you increase the blood alcohol level. This may speed the development of alcohol dependence, not to mention acute alcohol poisoning, higher BAC when driving and so on.
Speaking of which, were any of these bachurim going to be driving? Sakanat nefashot indeed, there. If that was even a possibility, for sure the police should have been called.

Zach Kessin said...

Why wouldn't someone pull out the scales and pot, after all its very clear that no one is going to call the cops on the kids.

dvorak613 said...

Orthonomics- These guys may not have been anonymous, but if this simcha was at all typical, there could well have been over 400 guests, so it is entirely possible that the letter writer did not know these kids. That makes it rather difficult to act after the fact. His best shot would have been to call the police and let the baal simcha know. They could have even made arrangements to have it all taken care of discreetly so as not to have the cops burst in right in the middle of the simcha and ruin it for the couple.

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