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Let's challenge our biases; don't stigmatize addicts as criminals

To The Daily Sun,

I'm writing as the sister of the "homeless" "transient" who was "living in the woods" who was so poorly profiled in this Saturday's paper. I am writing to fill in the gaps of what was left out in that article.

Though a catchy title, I thought that "Homeless Man Facing All Kinds of Charges in Gilford" didn't quite cover the situation. A more apt title may have been "Young Man, Living in Woods After Life is Destroyed by Addiction, is Brought in on Several Charges." It's a bit bulky, but I'm sure you see the point.

Christian St. Cyr was a beautiful, kind, and charming boy. He was stubborn as all get out and quite rebellious. When, after high school he started work as an apprentice plumber and showed an aptitude for it, we all breathed a sigh of relief. Slowly, ever so slowly, our family lost Christian to addiction. We tried to control his money, his hours, his friends, we tried getting him into counseling, we tried praying, we tried everything that we knew to try. And yet, he was lost to us. He is only recently homeless, my parents fought hard to protect their son and keep him off the street, but in the end the addiction won out.

Jack Wozmak recently said that "the heroin epidemic that's gripping the state is so big it almost defies logic." We have such a state of addiction that most heroin addicts are likely to have an inner circle of 10 to 12 people who share the addiction. This is not an isolated issue; over 300 people died of drug overdoses in NH in 2014, and the 2015 numbers are likely to top that. My brother and his charges are a part of these statistics, and I cannot tolerate the separation of the two pieces of the puzzle as cleanly as you have done in your article.

Separating the crimes from the addiction only serves to further stigmatize those affected. Families all over our country are being ripped apart by drug addiction. These same families are slowly realizing that without means there is very little support for their loved ones outside of the criminal system, an obviously less than preferable option. We all need to be actively reevaluating and challenging our own biases about addicts in an effort to create community and healing, not stigmatizing addicts as criminals.

Paige St. Cyr
Gilford

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Bob Meade - Eternal vigilance. . .

The origin of the quotes, Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, or, Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom, have been attributed to many people. Edmunde Burke, Thomas Jefferson, Patrick Henry, and others, have often been given credit for coining the phrase(s), but no one knows for sure. But the message is clear and should be heeded.

Today, worldwide digital, electronic communications make it possible to instantly enlighten us on the risks to life and liberty that are happening locally and around the globe. Not only do we have the ability to read newspaper reports, we can actually watch evil as it happens . . . beheading of innocents because they are Christians . . . caging and burning to death those who dare challenge the evil that is being done . . . young women kidnapped, raped, and sold into slavery . . . non-combatant families being sprayed with chemicals that cause agonizing death . . . people fleeing their native homes and risking their lives crossing seas in search of a safe haven, and more. That same worldwide digital, electronic communication technology, also serves as the vehicle to spread evil's propaganda, and is used as a recruiting device designed to entice young men and women to join in the fight, promising them to be rewarded for their ability to commit the evils just described. The evil expands with little challenge. Those who try to repel the evil are basically ignored by those who have the resources and ability to destroy it.

The world that is in flames in the Middle East has caused millions of people to flee their homes and seek refuge in other countries in Europe and the west. Countries in Europe are receptive to accepting the immigrants, but their motives for doing so may not necessarily be altruistic. Their reasons also include the fact that most of Europe has an aging population. Germany's median age if slightly more than 46 years, France over 42, the Netherlands over 40, and so on. These industrialized countries are running out of people necessary to maintain their business structures. Yet, because of their socialist systems, they require a continuing broad based workforce in order to meet their financial and other commitments to their aging populations. No European country is meeting the birth rate necessary to maintain its current population; 2.1 births per couple are needed just to stay even. Only two countries approach that level, France and Ireland, with each achieving a 2.01 number. Much of Europe is in the 1.3 to 1.5 range and that decreases the population.

For some time now, Europeans have been taking in immigrants from the Middle East in hope of maintaining their populations at a level sufficient to support their socialist system structures. It hasn't worked out well as countries such as France, have many "no-go" zones in enclaves where essential fire and police services dare not enter. We have also seen the murder of people in a company that dared print a cartoon that was offensive to some of its immigrants, and our televisions carried the report of a slaughter of innocents who were patronizing a Jewish market. In England, a soldier was decapitated in broad daylight and then England's military forces were directed not to wear their uniforms off base in their own country. The Netherlands has long been a most liberal country and has welcomed immigrants from many middle-eastern nations. They have been a staunch promoter of multi-culturalism. But their tolerance has worn thin as their immigrant populations have done little to assimilate but have been demanding all of the country's generosity. The leadership of the Netherlands recently stated that multi-culturalism has been destructive and must be replaced with assimilation.

As the waves of those fleeing the Middle East increase, and a demand is placed on the host countries, the numbers become so great as to impose an overwhelming drain on resources . . . vetting of each immigrant to ensure (as best possible) that they are not terrorist silently invading each host country, provision of adequate housing-medical services-job training-basic schooling for youngsters and teaching language skills to adults-food and clothing until each becomes self-sufficient, and so on. All these things will put an unusually difficult strain on each country as each of them is already short of the necessary resources to sustain their economy.

And then we remember that eternal vigilance is the price we pay for freedom. How well will each country "vet" incoming population to ensure they are not radicals who are prepared to give their lives to terrorize and destroy their host country? How well will each country's security teams monitor the new residents? How well will the new residents be distributed across each country so as to avoid the building of more enclaves? If the middle-east returns to some semblance of civil normalcy, will the new immigrant populations leave and go back to their home countries? If so, what does that do to the enormous investments made to provide them with a safe haven?

The longer our leaders fail to address the root causes of this critical humanitarian issue, and take the actions necessary to eliminate those root causes, the worse it will become. Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom . . . not just for the immigrants, but for the citizens.

(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)

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