An inside look at the UN
There's been a great deal of media coverage of all the gangs, shootings and political rhetoric surrounding the current Vancouver gang wars. Although it is clear my opinion is that the Hells Angels are the biggest players and biggest offenders in this arena, I want to examine an insight revealed by Kim Bolan in her recent article on the UN which clearly applies to all the players on the field.
There's no doubt Kim Bolan does get the inside scoop. In this article she gets an exclusive interview with a former member of the UN gang. Although the UN has been caught selling drugs with the Hells Angels, there's no doubt they had to earn their place in the market and that they did. The article sheds some light on the compassion of UN leader Clay Roueche who is in a Seattle jail waiting to be tried on cocaine trafficking charges.
James Coulter is quoted in the article as saying Clay had a very big heart. I will never forget how he helped me get out of addiction. I will never forget - he put a lot of money and a lot of time into getting me clean; I didnt really notice it at the time - how much love he was putting into me. But I do now. It is Clay's compassion and his big heart that I want to discuss.
Normally when we think of cocaine dealers we think of heartless murderers like in the movie Scarface. With all the numerous shootings of late, no doubt there is truth to that image. However, every person has good and bad. Someone can be mean and viscous to his enemies but warm and loyal to his friends and crew. There is no doubt Clay is a good businessman. In doing that kind of business, no doubt a strong hand is needed or as one would discover back in New York, if you were not aggressive, you were breakfast.
The fights are one thing. The executions are another but it's the compassion I'm looking at right now. James was a friend of Clay. They had been through a lot together. James went to the gym, did roids and helped with aggressive negotiations so to speak. Then he became addicted to crack and Clay helped him get off the crack. At the time James said he was mad. However, in hindsight James said that he can see now how much Clay cared about him and how much love he showed him by helping him get off the crack.
Being chained to a pole for three months breaking everything within reach likely was not a pleasant experience. Yet he survived and now gives back by helping counsel homeless addicts in East Vancouver. James watched his best friend die of an overdose. It is uncertain if Clay's compassion on James was from the heart or was good business. Having a business partner addicted to crack made him less dependable and less effective in his ability to fight. Nevertheless, there is no doubt Clay felt for his brother and paid to have someone watch James for three months until he came clean.
I knew an alcoholic who took the jail time instead of the fine for an impaired charge so he could get off the booze. He said after a few nights of violent DT's the guards had compassion on him. He said that if you're going off heroine you feel like you're going to die. If you're an alcoholic going off the alcohol you could die. It wasn't a pleasant experience but it was what he needed to break free of the addiction.
At the Surrey Crime Prevention meeting a former addict spoke and said getting locked up in jail for three months is the best thing you can do for an addict. The detox centres are great but going off crack in East Van or in Whalley is like going on a diet in a chocolate factory. Very counter productive. There is no question the Front Room in Surrey has become a drug house and the way we view treatment needs to change.
My point is two fold. James claims that Clay had a big heart for helping him get off the crack. It was a very hard thing to do but helping him get off the crack was more loving than letting him waste away and die. My other point is if you realize how deadly crack is, how it destroys lives, how can you in good conscience make a living from selling crack? The nice families, the nice cars, new motorcycles, big houses, paid for from importing cocaine to be sold as crack. The nice family guy facade fades when reality sinks in and lives are destroyed.
I've heard it said, " I don't smoke the sh*t, I just sell it." Are we suppose to respect you now? Not likely. Profiting from the sale of crack is just plain dirty and there is a big difference between crack and pot. I would not like to see pot sold at the corner store but I do think the legal punishments for selling crack or crystal meth should be much worse than for selling pot. We really need to make that distinction in the laws we frame since in a democratic society it is the public who elects the politicians to frame the laws.
If they can use methadone to help people get off heroine addictions they can use pot to help people get off crack addictions. Right now the penalty for smoking tobacco in public is worse than the penalty for selling crack in public. That is insane.