I am so unsure about how to start this blog or even what I am going to write. I am still in shock, disbelief, and utterly afraid for not only my children, my friends children, my relatives, and my city that I have called home my entire life, even when I wasn't living here.
I was up north recouping from another bout of Pneumonia, just relaxing with my family away from the schedules, school, activities, friends and extended family. We had just put all the children to bed when my husband I decided to watch TV, I almost wish I never turned it on that night. I wish I was still blissfully unaware of what is happening seemingly under my nose in my city, with kids that could have been me or any one of my friends had we grown up now instead of during the 80's.
I am still shocked about the 20/20 story that ran about 3 Suburban Minneapolis kids who were hooked on heroin and my feelings about that story and my emotions are still running in a million different directions. It is almost like I can't or don't want to comprehend what is happening in the city I have loved for so long, in neighborhoods, schools and streets I know well. As a parent, I am terrified, I am shocked, scared, speechless, sad, angry, actually I am beyond angry, I am downright pissed off! I feel like I have been living a lie and I feel like I have been living in the dark. Did you all know that Minneapolis has some of the purest and cheapest heroin in the country?! Right here in our little 'Metropolis' of Minneapolis and our comfortable middle class suburban neighborhoods filled with families, there are children doing heroin. I mean come on, one of those kids was from Wayzata and went to Wayzata high school, another went to a small, private school! I know that shouldn't mean anything as drugs can be anywhere, I am just shocked, shocked, shocked.
Why has heroin tripled in use over the past 3 years in Minneapolis? I know much of it is because of how pure it is and how cheap it is. That purity means it is very, very addictive even if only used once. These drugs terrify me, it means my children, if they make a really bad decision some day in high school or college, will more than likely be screwed up for life. How does a parent stop this from happening? I have 4 children ages 9-2, I am still worrying about how to keep them healthy, do their clothes fit from season to season, teaching them to cross the street and tie their shoes. My oldest child is in 4th Grade and we are now starting to have to discuss the body, changing parts and all, and the 'S' word. (Not sure if I can type that word out for the paper) After Friday night, I realize I am so ill prepared for parenthood and all it has to bring. I can barely grasp the concept of speaking to my children about the birds and bees, let alone things like heroin and prostitution.
As a taxpayer, citizen and almost lifelong Minnesotan, I am pissed off that these drugs are so easy to get in my city. I am pissed off that there are children selling their bodies for a cheap high. I am pissed off at these other parents that don't know what their children are doing until it is too late. I don't watch the nightly news often, I do try to read the paper a few times a week though, how did I not know this was happening here?
As a citizen, I urge you to stand up and start taking back your neighborhoods, start getting involved again with the children in your neighborhood, befriend that only child, that loner child, or the one next door to you with a ton of friends. Get to know your neighbors, we need to bring back community and bring back knowing our neighbors and knowing what is happening in our neighborhood. As a parent, stop being your childs friend, they have their own friends. Speaking of friends, know their friends, their friends families and where your children are going and who they are going to be with. Get them involved in sports, church, and youth groups and volunteer at those places! You don't have to monitor their every move, but you should know their general lives. Make sure your children know that you are a safe place for them. Let them know they can honestly talk to you about anything and then be there for your children when they need to honestly talk to you. I am not sure if these will work, but I believe being involved limits the openings for bad things/people in our children's lives.
I don't know how to change what is happening to our kids in our city and our communities, I only know we should all be scared and we all need to open our eyes. I don't know how to stop your children or my children from doing drugs. The kids in this story seemed to have it all, they were in high school or college, they played sports, they had supportive families and lots of friends. On paper, they just don't seem like kids that would get into heroin. How is this stopped? I have not one answer, only more and more questions all of which upset and anger me. All my questions only make the tight feeling in my chest get tighter when I think of it and the fear I now have of the areas I have always felt safe in.
I hope this blog opens your eyes to our safe little haven we have called Minneapolis, our small town in the big city, feeling we have carried with us and lets you know we are truly now a big city, with big city problems, even in the suburbs. If you would like to watch the story behind this post, here is the link: http://abcnews.go.com/2020/ I haven't stopped thinking of these kids and their families and praying for their recovery, I can't imagine what they and their families have and are going through.
Yes, I am taking a controversial stance but, I am taking it and standing by it. My reason for boycotting St. Paul? Because I think it is crazy that Chris Coleman even got involved in the first place and asked us to boycott Arizona because of their new immigration policies.
Listen, I am NOT anti-immigration, hardly! For goodness sake, my daughter goes to a Spanish Immersion school that is 50/50 Native English/Native Spanish speaking students! I live in Richfield where many of my neighbors from Spanish speaking countries! I am NOT against immigration! My own family immigrated here from Germany and Sweden and we came here for the same reason people are coming here now, to start a better life in a country that is free!
However, this is where some of my issues start...we came over on boats and when my family members got here, there were no interpreters, there were no signs in 7 different languages, they didn't know English and they learned it quickly, just to survive! We were forced to change our last name to be more 'American'. My family then went on to become American citizens legally and we have been American's ever since. We don't call our selves German or Swedish, we speak English and have for multiple generations now. Yes unfortunately through out the years we have lost much of our heritage and our native languages however, we aren't upset or think we were oppressed by it all. We are grateful for the opportunities we have been given here. And for those of you who think it was different because we were 'white', I also had relatives come over from Ireland in the 1800's and they were some of the more hated immigrant groups at that time. Our family lived on to tell about it.
I believe our country is a country based on immigrants, no matter what language they speak, no matter where they come from, or who they are. What is different about our country now is we are often protecting and housing people that are in our country illegally. I understand it is VERY difficult to become a citizen, I don't even know if I could pass the test and classes needed to become a citizen! But, I think what Arizona is trying to do is to stop the bleeding a bit. Is to stop some of the illegal border crossings, the human trafficking that is happening in and around our border towns. For someone from Minnesota to say what Arizona is doing is wrong, we just can't. We aren't there living it daily! We aren't watching on the news or hearing from neighbors about the crime in those towns on a daily basis, on the deaths, the drugs, the gangs and the abductions happening in the middle of the night!
We aren't seeing the huge rises and falls in our schools from year to year, even month to month with immigrant families and children moving around to avoid being caught or trying to find jobs or whatever!
I have no idea what is the right way to go about dealing with illegal immigrants however, I believe and commend Arizona from trying to do SOMETHING about it. They are trying to save their state, they may not be doing it the 'right way' or the way you would like it but, I bet if northern Minnesota cities had even 1/2 of the same issues that southern Arizona is having, we would be doing something about it too.
So for now, I am taking my business elsewhere from St. Paul. Our Children's Museum membership that just ran out, is not being renewed, we will not be visiting restaurants in St. Paul anymore and we will just stay on our side of the river for a while. I feel for the local business owners that have nothing to do with or can control anything that Chris Coleman does or says. Again, is boycotting St. Paul even a right answer, who knows! But, it is an easy way for me to say, I don't agree with what was said and is being done to Arizona.
I have read the Arizona law, some parts, yes it could become a bit hairy by over-zealous police officers but, can't any law? Frankly I think what Arizona is doing is just ENFORCING laws that are already on the books and doing what should have been done a long time ago to help curb crime and chaos that has been escalating in our border cities for a long time now.
If you have a better way for Arizona to try and stop some of the chaos, why don't you take the time, energy and your information and write to the congressmen/women of Arizona, write to the Governor, whomever and let them know your ideas and your solutions instead of what is in their new law. Take matters into your own hands, by grabbing a pen and paper and writing them out.
Here are some addresses for you:
Jan Brewer Governor of Arizona
The Honorable Jan Brewer
Governor of Arizona
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Mayor of Nogales Arizona
Congressman Ed Pastor
2465 Rayburn HOB
Washington DC 20515
Bob Walkup Mayor of Tucson
255 West Alameda Street
Tucson, Arizona 85701