Sympathy For The…Dealer?

December 17, 2007

Last spring, one of my co-workers was arrested for possession of over 700 pounds of marajuana.  The man is an immigrant from Mexico, who has a wife and 3 young children.  This had been his only job since he came to our country, and he was a good worker, when he choose to show up (which was rarely). 

Prior to his arrest, several of us had determined that he must have had some form of side income.  After all, he was the sole income provider for a family of 5, with roughly a 4 digit income (due entirely to his inability to show up to work), whose wife drove a Lincoln Navigator. 

Upon his arrest, his Navigator, and $ 15,000 cash was seized, along with the drugs.   He has been in the county jail for the last 7 months awaiting sentencing.  Some of my co-workers feel that he is being treated unfairly.  They attest that if he was of American descent that he would’ve been sentenced by now.  They feel that it would be in everyone’s best interest to let him out, if only on work release, so that he can support his wife and children.  They feel for his wife, who is having to find work for the first time since she came to this country 10 years ago. 

Maybe I’m being too harsh, but I don’t share their sentiments.  As the queen of all paperwork at my job, I am in a position to know alot more about the employees than many of my co-workers are.  For example, I know who is trying to get a loan, and from where, and I know when people are applying for assistance, and what kind they are applying for.   I know that our resident dope dealer has been getting government assistance since he has lived here, because, he didn’t make alot of money (on paper, that is). 

His meager “gross income” on his W-2, allowed him to be eligible for food stamps, medicaid, and WIC.  Things none of the rest of us, who actually work for a living, are eligible for. 

Due to my husband changing jobs, we are presently without health insurance.  A doctor’s visit for one of our children will set us back in the triple digits, his medication this month will cost us triple digits, and any kind of major accident would probably put us into bankruptcy.   However, this guy, because he doesn’t make enough money (on paper) can drive his Lincoln Navigator right up to the ER if one of his kids has a discolored booger, and it won’t cost him a dime.   

My youngest son had digestion problems during his infancy, and could not even handle breastmilk.  The only formula that he did not spit right back up was something called Nutramagen, which cost $25 per can.  His formula sat us back $75 per week!  That’s right, that’s not a typo.  We were denied WIC because we, the custodian and the sectretary, made a hare too much money for a 4 member household.  (They don’t take into consideration the 2 other children we pay child support on, because they don’t live with us.)  Luckily, I know several people who work in doctor’s offices, and we were able to get some free samples, which eased the financial burden somewhat.    However, alot of our credit card debt is due to the cost of that formula, and it perturbes me that someone like my former co-worker had formula provided for all 3 of his kids, while he drove a luxury vehicle, and toted as much cash as I will make in the next 6 months. 

 If he had provided for his families basic needs with the drug money he took in all these years, rather than allowing the government to do it for him, I might be able to muster some form of sympathy for his wife and kids.  I could, however, never feel bad for him because he was fully aware of what he was doing, and the consequences of harboring 700 pounds of pot.   

Cases like this make me bitter towards the necessary evil of government assistance.  I understand that it is a necessity, and I am all for helping those in need.  I understand that many of the recipients are truly needy, and I respect that.  However, I get angry when I hear of cases like this, where the people on assistance end up being way more priviliged than most middle class citizens.  Maybe one day there will be some kind of punishment for those that abuse the system.    


11 Responses to “Sympathy For The…Dealer?”

  1. Red Says:

    Hon, I have no words for you. Im at a loss here, and I wish I knew what to say. Im gonna try though …
    I dont think you’re being too harsh at all. I totally agree with you, and anyone who does abuse the system should be punished in the worst form, whatever that should be .. Honest people, like yourself, are often shit on (for lack of a better word) because you’re just that: HONEST. And it sucks, it does, and what is there to do? I have no answers, I wish I did. I really wish I did.
    The custodian and the secretary – girl, I know the feeling, you have nooo idea. Think Im gonna email you …

  2. Red Says:

    hahahah! Looks like I DID find a few words to say!

  3. Alyson Says:


    I loved your email. I will reply soon.

    I suppose alot of my bitterness comes from the fact that I’ve seen alot of abuse of the system by someone I know. This person threw her son a birthday party recently, complete with a fancy cake from the bakery which cost about $20 and was paid for by food stamps. I made my son’s cake from a mix 2 weeks ago for under $5. And, for the record, I offered to make one for her sons party, and she declined my offer because she had already ordered the one from the bakery.

  4. teeni Says:

    Just wanted to stop in and congratulate you on winning Red’s award! 😉 So – Congrats!!!

  5. This might sound stupid and cliche, but if my own experience is worth anything, I’d tell you that your kids are going to be better off mentally than the kids of the drug dealer AND the $20 birthday cake boy. Before I met Buck, I was a 25-year-old single (really-really single)mom with two kids who waitressed nights so I could be with my kids during the day. We lived in a very wealthy town where we were an enigma, and my kids saw all their friends with so much more than they had. I mean, my two older kids remember me digging change out of the couch cushions so we could buy hot dogs for supper. But they’re in their twenties today and I think they’ve really got their heads on straight, far straighter than mine was at their age. It sounds trite, but homemade birthdays and being hyper-aware of stuff like medical insurance really gives kids moral fiber. For instance, my daughter is a teacher in a school for severely handicapped children and I’m so proud of her I can’t stand it. Had she spent her entire childhood livng off the dole or having things handed to her, I don’t know if she’d be the person she is today.

    I sympathize with your bitterness because I’ve felt the same way, but I think you’re doing a great job, and some day when your kids look back on it they’ll think you did a great job too. 🙂

  6. Red Says:

    Yes yes yes! What she said!!

  7. Alyson Says:

    @ LWB: Wow. It sounds like your experiences while you kids were young really made them into responsible, compassionate adults. Cliche or not, I totally agree with you. It’s not always that I can’t give my kids some of that stuff, such as the pricey cake, it’s just that I won’t. I had a blast making the superhero cakes, and my 5 year old loved helping me, and I loved him helping me. We had fun, we spent time together, and it was great.
    My parents raised me much the same way, and even though they could’ve bought us everything we wanted, they chose to save, and send us to college. My free (to me) college education is worth more than all the toys and clothes we missed out on.

    @ Red: Thanks!

  8. […] 28, 2007 You remember that fear I had, the one I wrote about here.  It […]

  9. angelh28 Says:

    I agree with you 100%. Abso-friggin-lutely!!!

    Sidebar – my youngest son was also on the special formula for awhile. It wasn’t the Nutramagen, it was the competitor. I forgot the name. I know how much that hits you in the wallet. It stings like a bitch!

    I have ZERO sympathy for that guy. If he was honest and supporting his family the honest way then fine, get government assistance, get on your feet and make a living and move on. But, from you what you say, he exploited the government and supplemented his life with drug money and found more importance in driving a fancy vehicle than actually being their for his family, ALWAYS. He gets everything he deserves.

  10. Alyson Says:

    That formula is a rip-off. Luckily, I know several people who work in pediatric offices, and managed to get a few samples.

    Update: He’s still in jail.

    Thanks for stopping by. I love your blog.

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