Monday, November 7, 2016

Do We Really (Still) "Reap What We Sow"?

'Old school' thinking says "you reap what you sow." To the non-agriculturally minded that means that whatever seeds you plant in the ground is what's gonna come up in your garden. ("duh!") Oddly that's an axiom our current culture prefers to deny. Denver, CO, is among the nation's most "proud to be hip" cities and thus is one of the better places to test out that axiom, and many, many others. "Out with the old, in with the new" being there a fundamental principle. And among the "silly" and "out-of-date" laws one of the first to be canned was the one that banned pot. "Hey, what's a couple of joints between friends?" Or so Denver's thinking went. Well, those seeds have been in the ground now for a couple of seasons, so we reasonably ask: How does Denver's garden grow? Here are some findings' from 2014 -- one year into the experiment: – Marijuana-related traffic deaths had increased 32 percent – Almost 20 percent of all traffic deaths were found to have been marijuana related (compared to only 10 percent less than five years earlier) – Marijuana-related emergency department visits had increased 29 percent – Marijuana-related hospitalizations had increased 38 percent – Marijuana-related calls to the rocky mountain poison center had increased 72 percent – Diversion of Colorado marijuana to other states had increased 25 percent Of course that change in law was limited to "adults only" -- well, at least in intent. But what do we see in the actual garden? A survey of school resource officers and counselors provides at least part of the answer. Such told us that pot is having a tremendous impact in the schools. “Kids" (the official report says) are "going out on lunch breaks, getting high and coming back to school loaded on marijuana." Gee, what a surprise. Who could possibly have predicted that? And just this morning CBS Denver Channel 4 shared a report about one Tyler White, a twenty-five year old Tennessean who had recently moved to Denver, seeing it, he said, as a great place to get a "new start in life." He, the report says, had smoked some pot, and then drove 134 mph on a city street, causing a 4 car accident that took the life of another driver. He then fled the scene and was apprehended a bit later dancing stark naked on a public statue. Yes, he did admit that he'd be "smoking" -- but insisted that he was not "feeling high." No, “Something" he said "just took over me, told me to go there.” He was, in his own estimation, just "being stupid." Yeah, I guess. And what about the people who created this mess? They're probably running for re-election, and if so, Denver being "hip" Denver, I bet their chances are very good. Now there are several arguments that could be raised against all the above. One being that there are many pot smokers who never drive 134 MPH under the drug's influence or dance naked on public statuary. And that is certainly true. Another is the old saw "yeah, but what about alcohol drinkers?" And again, that argument is not totally without merit. But bottom line is the fact that societies -- all societies -- struggle with various things that release people's demons. Pot is just one of them. Was there really a shortage of such in Denver that made it somehow advantageous to add another to the list? And in so doing was there some recognition that there would be actual, real, and possibly painful, societal costs in doing so? More likely, or so it seems to me, this was just one more example of the spreading 'anything goes' spirit consistently popular with youth -A spirit traditionally held in check by the more mature members of a grown-up society. One that goes along with what other "hip" cities are doing with things as disparate as the allowance of public drinking, allowing public urination, and the public denial of traditional, biology-based, gender. Okay, I admit it. My questioning the wisdom of any of the above is anything but hip. But as to me -- here at least -- I'll stick with the old ways. How does that song go? Oh yeah... Gimme that old time religion Gimme that old time religion Gimme that old time religion It's good enough for me. "Religion" here being not so much some old, blindly-accepted, dogmas. But time honored and time tested truths. You know... Things like "what you sow you will also reap."

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