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.