Saturday, April 30, 2005

It is love your neighbour not fear them

In this case, the gap between people's ears as it can be equally as dangerous.

God summed up all the rules and laws of the Old Testament with one simple law – love your neighbour. Simple and easy enough to understand with no fancy-dancy turn three times, then throw chicken bones in the air, kinda horseshit. It works for me and I wish I could match that simple rule everyday; alas, I am just merely human.

So against the premise that “loving our neighbour” is the summation of the law what do we find so prevalent in our current society but an economy of fear using our neighbour as the apex of those fears.

I woke up this damp Saturday morning to read our local paper “The London Free Press”. The headlines read, “Do your neighbours grow pot?” Running in the column next to this headline article was a supplemental article on the same story titled “Neighbours one day, suspects the next.

In that supplemental article, you read such statements:
  1. “…the quiet young couple that used to bring her food whenever they barbecued were taken away in handcuffs one day when police seized more than 100 pot plants”
  2. "He said he worked in Niagara Falls and would bring us wine," XXXXX said, adding the couple also had a small child. "They were so nice to us."
  3. “And on Speight Crescent -- a street near an elementary school -- neighbours were shocked when the home of a young couple who had lived there for three years was raided.
  4. "They're the last people on the street you'd expect," said neighbour XXXXX. XXXXX said the people -- who still live there -- are good neighbours.”
  5. “It could be any street in the city.”

The whole point is that the kind family that lives next door may very well be the bogeyman, the evil pot-smoking deviant of society, heavens they could even be growing the stuff. It seems the paper and the police want to create an environment of paranoia to do what? Help you love your neighbour, not exactly more like fear them. Magnify this fear motivation with all the other aspects of danger in our modern world and your suddenly living in a walled community with a security camera hanging on all four corners of your house and forgoing your civil rights because anyone might be the bogeyman. Ironically, the neighbour, an executive, might be a very responsible member of our society while working for an athletic shoe company that is exploiting children’s labour all over the third world; but that’s okay somehow because he only smokes pot and not grows it. Then again, if they look foreign (in our white lily assed world) he may very well be related to Osama through the evolutionary chain and thus must be a terrorist or support them because they read the same books he does, like the Koran. When does this fear mongering stop?

It’s funny because together with these articles comes a list of things to watch for and a map of all the houses busted in London over the last year and a half. All of these articles written under a banner of, the enemy could and probably is your neighbour, fear them.

First the list:

Signs your neighbour might be running marijuana grow operation:

- The outside of the house is untidy and ill kept. (I’ve got a neighbour like that he never does anything to improve his property and cuts the lawn twice a year.)

- Garbage bags filled with soil and plant material are thrown out. (Damn, that would be me as I’m a gardening nut with huge flower gardens around my property that need to be attended. Hey, for that matter so are most of my neighbours and our city have “green days” monthly to recycle garden waste.)

- Covered windows. (What can I say it keeps my house cool and protects my watercolour paintings? The blinds in one of our bedroom windows, facing the neighbour are rarely opened.)

- Bright light can be seen through the windows. (Okay, don’t have that, unless I’m reading at night because with age so goes my eyesight, or sometimes it just happens when I bump my head into the wall, and I see bright lights - I guess that doesn’t count.)

- Tampered or bypassed hydro meters. (Okay, this is done from inside the house but thanks for that tip I’ll be sure to ask all my neighbours to see their control box and meter.)

- People are never at the house for long. (Like when were on holidays or when I’m in New York working. Dang, I have a single neighbour up the street who doesn't seem to be home much.)

- People enter and leave through the garage. (Like most of middle-class North America. Why did they invent automatic garage door openers?)

- Construction and ventilation fans can be heard. (Is that what that humming inside my head is. Alternatively, might it be the air conditioner and the furnaces cold air return in the winter. Then again I also live next to an apartment.)

- People arrive and leave with garbage bags full of property. (Boxes are okay but plastic bags are not – this spells doom for the man from glad. Bags full of property?)

- People bring lots of soil and growing equipment into house. (Shite, this would be me again as I just love my house plants and from time to time I need to buy a watering can or a bag of potting soil.)”

* use the above links to see the list without my comments.

Now the Map:

What kills me is that map, they provided, it shows a marijuana leaves in 40 places all over our city: representing houses where people have been caught growing as little as 12 plants in the last year and a half. Every neighbourhood from the north, east, south, and west. If this was a map of gas station locations, it would look just normal and I’m sure some petrol companies wish they had 40 stations. My point is if these grow-ops are as common as Seven Eleven variety stores what is it telling us? Somebody is smoking that shite which they're growing in those buildings. We live in a supply and demand society! Canada has some lax rules when it comes to possession of cannabis but the government is sitting on its hands when it comes to legalizing it because of USA pressures. So many people are smoking this stuff here that growing it has more outlets than our controlled liquor board or beer stores in Ontario. The article reinforces this with this quote from the front page “Walk 10 minutes in any direction and your likely to find marijuana grow house, police say. Big houses, small houses, nice houses….” Jeez, I have to walk twenty minutes to go to our local regulated beer store. What does this say? I think it reinforces my point above, common everyday Canadians are smoking weed and need to get it somewhere other than some crime driven family business out of South or Central America.


The whole thing is preposterous. When I was in Africa, you’d drive down the highways and byways and see marijuana growing in the ditches along the side of the road like weeds. Should they just cover the whole damn continent in a cloud of Agent Orange or Round-up? This plant grows everywhere it seed finds germination like a dandelion. So why the hysteria?

In my humble opinion then: In my gardening business, we have a joke when we spread fertilizer on the grass (as in lawn), we call it “job security” as the grass keeps growing, and we keep cutting. I think the police are doing the same thing but their manure or fertilizer is a “tissue of shite”, to do exactly what - job security. I wouldn’t mind that as I don’t dislike police, I respect them and wouldn’t want their job and I’m not looking to see them loose their jobs. What I resent is fear mongering to do essentially the same thing, using fear to do what exactly, fear your neighbour. I’m looking out from my closed blinds now looking at my neighbours house looking for any piles of garden waste or garbage bags in front of the house, just in case. Laughable, I better open the blinds in case my neighbour fears me.
You know we have a problem and it has been around ever since I was a kid in short pants. People want to smoke weed and to do so you need to be able to get it and as the government only uses its crop for medicine it has has to be got somewhere – supply and demand. Therefore, what do they, we do? I guess you ask your doctor for a prescription.

Enough already; what a bunch of crap, I'm choking already!

Ps. For you law enforcement types. I love you to. I respect you and the hard work you do! Isn’t that respect and being a good citizen enough. Please don’t turn me on my neighbour as it is easy enough when they, with a shovel, fling their dog shit across the fence or don’t mow grass for weeks at a time. My neighbour is also an Arab and one of the nicest people living on our street – no relation to Bin Laden. NO, I don’t grow it myself, as there’s a location to purchase it within ten minutes of everyone’s house, remember :)~

Sometimes I do ask “I moved from Amsterdam for this – what was I thinking?”


Blogger James said...

This reminds me of the story of the Toronto apartment marijuana grow op.

11:22 p.m.  

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