You usually associate the phrase “war zone,” with images of bombed out buildings, cars on their sides, random fires burning, and the tattoo of gunfire in the distance.
Those are images we relate to Europe in World War 2 or various locations in the Middle East in the past 40 years.
But whether you want to believe it or not, the Mid-Ohio Valley and most of the U.S. are becoming a war zone.
And it’s spreading to the small towns and farming areas, as well.
It’s all about drugs.
It’s hard to recall the day when alcohol was the most dangerous and widely used drug in America.
Let’s not forget that alcohol still takes its toll every day on thousands of people and their families. It’s as dangerous as it ever was.
It’s also hard to recall the naïve days of the 1960s when marijuana was our biggest concern in terms of illegal drug use.
Certainly there were big marijuana cartels that shipped in thousands of tons of pot to this country every year. There were people who were killed as a result of the wars for control of its sale, and its profits.
Now, there are much more dangerous, much more expensive drugs, that people are willing to kill or die for, to get for their own use, or to sell to others.
And our neighborhoods, playgrounds, school-yards, and shopping areas are the battleground.
This week’s shooting in my old neighborhood in Parkersburg and one earlier this year in Vienna are evidence of the more brazen ways in which people are willing to confront police.
I urge anyone who sees illegal drug activity going on, to step out of the silence.
Call the police even if you have to do so anonymously.
You could save the life of a child, who could be wounded in a wild gun battle between drug dealers and police.
You could save a neighborhood from falling into despair and disrepair because the druggies have taken over a house on the corner.
You could save the life of a young person, who might be tempted to cross over to a drug-destroyed life.
We are all either witnesses or combatants.
There is no room for passive observers.