Editorial: "Stop... talking to cops" is exactly the wrong message

Tue, 06/18/2013 - 2:01pm

Given the events of the past few weeks, we have to assume that whoever planted a sticker on the stop sign in Bridgegate Square so that it would read: “Stop… talking to cops,” was serious about making a point.

Just as the community, long in denial about the issues of substance abuse, appears prepared to confront the problem, the message is disturbing.  Perhaps those who are part of the problem are beginning to feel the heat.

The local police need support to continue to uncover illegal activity. We believe there is very little honor in protecting the guilty and there is no nobility in coddling those people who damage the fabric of society.

But it goes further than that, of course. Not speaking to cops also means that you probably won’t call for an ambulance if your friend is dying of an overdose or is ill from alcohol poisoning. We have seen, time and time again in this society — on this very island — how that can end.

To the people who put up the sticker, we’d like you to take a moment and reflect on the severe consequences that could result from your stand.

Our point is not that we seek vengeance and that we want to put people in jail. Our wish is to diminish the vicious cycle of alcoholism and drug abuse that ends lives prematurely. We have consistently said that addiction is a disease and not a moral failing.

The police should vigorously pursue traffic in illegal drugs — and drunk driving — since both are obvious problems on Block Island. The community urgently needs to continue the conversation, not stop it.