By Ron O’Clair
As I write these lines, I had just hung up the telephone from calling the police department once again this night in order to have the troublesome drug dealers moved along from out front of my building. One would think that with the shelter being officially closed, there would be no legal reason whatsoever that people could use to justify their presence under the windows of my tenants, at what is now 2:46 a.m.
Prior to the first of my two calls this night, I had returned from the Webster Square area to Main and Charlton, having seen no people loitering around any closed businesses along my route anywhere else, all the way form Main and Stafford streets at Gardner Square, until coming to my block (the PIP/Charlton and Main streets), where there were, I counted, 11 people standing in the various doorways outside of closed for the night businesses in my immediate area. Nowhere else along the length of Main Street, only here did I see anyone hanging around at close to midnight.
Recently the great fire happened at the three buildings on the left side of the end of my side street, on Charlton Street. A vacant building undergoing extensive renovation with a new foundation having been poured, and an off foundation renovation of the entire three-decker structure was totally destroyed by a fire. Being as it was situated between the other two burned buildings, and given the probability that there were no sources of ignition such as electrical power or natural gas service to the building, it can be assumed that it was intentionally set on fire.
My own theory is that some person, or persons unknown, set the fire deliberately in the vacant structure to stay warm, as it was very cold that night. … I only can go by my own experience, and my own observations seeing as I came home that morning to see my road blocked off at both ends still, and that was at 8:45 A.M. or so on the 22nd of February.
From what I gather, the fire took place either around 2:00 A.M. or perhaps as late as 4:30 A.M. I don’t know because I was down at Twin Rivers losing all my money like the fool that I can be at times when I get bit by the gambling bug. I don’t for the life of me know why I ever go back, as my luck; as always, is bad. Always has been bad, and probably will always be bad. Like the old cliché, if it were not for bad luck, I would not have any.
My hypothesis of this situation will most likely be deemed correct, and the fire will have been set deliberately for someone to warm themselves. That someone will have been one of the very same people that have been running amok in and around the PIP shelter neighborhood for so many years, they have come to believe they have the perfect freaking right to take what does not belong to them, trespass at will, and destroy the peace and serenity of the neighborhood as they see fit, with great expectation that no harm will befall them for their transgressions.
WE THE PEOPLE have allowed it to get to this point. We have no one to blame except for each of us.
You can’t pin the blame on the police, who are doing the best they can under overwhelming odds not in their favor, for the general lack of respect shown on a daily basis by a majority of the citizenry for law and order. The police are the last line of defense the general public has to prevent total chaos and anarchy from running rampant in our streets.
The first, and least used line of defense is the citizenry themselves, the home owners, storekeepers, factory workers, parents, neighborhood residents, and even the drivers who traverse an area and are witness to the lawbreaking activity, but for some reason choose not to do or say anything to the perpetrators of these crimes in progress to inhibit them from committing or successfully carrying out, or getting away with the crimes taking place.
The P.I.P. Mentality has taken root in our community, and what years ago was seen by upright citizens as part of their civic duty as members of their communities, has now been transformed into what the street people refer to as: snitching.
It is not a term in my vocabulary, and my vocabulary is extensive.
Any civic minded citizen who witnesses any type of criminal or unlawful activity has the duty and the obligation to report that crime in progress to the police after the fact, or during if possible, as well as the civic right and duty to intercede if possible to prevent the crime from happening.
Turning a blind eye to unpleasant aspects of our daily lives is never going to change things in any way for the better. Only by being proactive and responsible citizens, upholding our rights to live free and unmolested as we go on about our legal and lawful affairs can we ever be assured of that which we are promised by our own bill of rights.
The key phrase here people is: legal and lawful.
Dealing drugs, prostitution of body and mind, thievery, and intimidation tactics used to dissuade people from doing their civic duty are not in that there category: legal and lawful.
Neither is cheating the system by lying about employment or housing to collect benefits that are meant to help the truly needy, not the drug dealing welfare and food stamp cheats out there that do not contribute anything positive to the country we live in, and owe our allegiance too, America.
We know far more than we are willing to testify to in a court of law, or even the court of public opinion, which used to hand out sentences similar to those handed out by the courts.
In my parents’ day, you could not live unmarried with children from different fathers for free off the public teat; it simply was not done, at least not for any length of time. There were actually programs of a rehabilitative manner that were in place for centuries that worked far better than what we have today such as: reform schools, work farms, and debtors prison.
Fatherhood was a serious business, and marriage was held in high regard in our communities across this nation. Men who were able to call themselves men amongst other men, who dared call themselves men, were truly that, MEN. Not drug dealing scumbags clamoring for respect they did not earn, but feel they are entitled too, who have children and do nothing legal to support them, but at the same time collect benefits they are not entitled to.
It was a kinder, gentler time, and there were what was referred to as gentlemen. There were also ladies, who were women of virtue, not crack addicted street ho’s trying to spread viruses everywhere they can, just to get some more money for illegal drugs to continue with their depravity unabated.
By the same token, it was also a harder, harsher time, and if you wanted to eat, you worked to pay for your meals and your lodgings, or you lived off the land as best you could, or you starved, that simple. I myself yearn for those days of yore.
Back then, you did not pay up your rent, out the door you went, and fast.
Today, you can get away with months of not paying before all the legal excuses are used up, and the landlord finally sees the back side of you for the last time, only for the next victim landlord to see your front side once again for another round of evading your obligations with the legal system as your shield, and your benefactor, is it any wonder that there are all these foreclosures with landlords losing their buildings for non-payment of mortgages due to not being able to speedily evict a non-paying tenant.
I could go on about that subject with recent legal actions right here in the rooming house I manage, and the real deal behind the non-payments being the pervasive use of illegal substances, and the moral decay of our society, but I will discuss this at length in other venues, if you happen upon a book with the name of: A room at Berger’s c. O’Clair, R.L., one day, I suggest you read it for all the details, I have not written it fully yet though, and have not published.
I’ll sign off here with my urging you people out there who are fed up with all the lawlessness in our society to dare to make a difference in your own community, and get involved, be more aware, and willing to share information useful to the police to help curb lawlessness in our neighborhoods, take care and God bless, Ronald L. O’Clair