Monday, February 14, 2011

Hard Times + Drugs=Death....Not a Very Good Equation

Reading the Sunday paper this past weekend, I happened upon an article about an American facing the death penalty for participating in a drug smuggling ring.  Frank Amado lives in Jakarta, Indonesia where he decided to turn to drug trafficking when his business went belly up and his girlfriend left him. I admit, it is a sad story especially when I read about the Frank's mother using up most of her savings to try and hire a lawyer to defend her son. 

But, and I know this sounds harsh, I don't have any pity for Frank.  His mother, yes, for she will have to live the remainder of her life knowing that her son was executed millions of miles away from her and that she couldn't do anything to change that.  A parent's worse fear is that their child will die before them.  In this case, Frank could have spared his mother an future filled with sorrow and anger, but instead, he acted like a selfish prick.  I know, I sound like a heartless jackass.

Hear me out. 

First of all, Frank chose to live in a country, beautiful though it is, has very harsh laws against drug use/selling/trafficking.  For Indonesia to take such a hard stance against drugs, they do have lower crime rates than many of their Western counterpoints.   (Charlie Sheen, Lindsey Lohan don't plan on visiting Jakarta anytime soon.  I can guarantee you won't see the light of day again, no matter how good of a publicist you have.)

When Frank fell on 'hard times,' rather than dust himself off, work one or more jobs to cover his living expenses, or even call mom and ask for air fare back home, he decided to take a short cut.  The saying when you play with fire you'll get burned isn't a joke. 

This is why I have no pity for Frank.  I, along with millions of others in the US today, have fallen on 'hard times.'  When I lost my job back in June, I was devastated, but I began scrounging around to find any work I could.  I cleaned a few houses, babysat, moved furniture, and sold some of my meager possessions.  In addition to my own personal expenses, I am raising a child which adds a whole other layer of complexities.

But did I decide that it would be a better choice to run drugs or turn tricks at the local strip bars to support me and my child?

Ummmmm....NO.

Granted, my ego has taken a huge bruising at times, having to ask the landlord if I can split up my rent payments throughout the month, relying on the generosity of others to help make ends meet when the crops froze up for three weeks, and asking to eat at my parent's house a few too many times because I didn't even have milk in the house. 

The point that I am making here is that I didn't wimp out.  And I've still survived.  Certainly more humbled than before and more understanding to the plight of others who are in far worse condition than me.  Frank Amado, sorry as he may be for his crime, screwed up in the first place by trying to take the easy way out and secondly choosing to live in a society knowing fully well of the consequences he might face.