As I began to do my homework in preparation for the community forum WKVT is doing on Brattleboro’s increasing drug and crime problem, one thing kept rising to the surface -- inaction. As I see it, the problems we’re having here in Windham County are indeed caused by our inaction and inability to accept the fact that it’s easier to do nothing than do something. Yeah, I guess you could make the argument it’s easier to do nothing, because after all it’s nothing. But then I’ll make the argument for having a well-trained dog: It’s certainly easier not to train the animal but eight years down the road with it still going to the bathroom in the house and not behaving when people come over and constantly chewing couch cushions, I bet you wished you would have taken those eight or nine months to properly train it.
The same is true for the environment we live in. If you train the environment to behave, it will, or at the very least, it will go somewhere else to misbehave. Here’s an example -- every day a group of loud kids gathers outside your home on the street. Most likely they are just being loud, but nonetheless they are messing up your right to quiet enjoyment. But you never do anything, you never call the police to complain, you never wander outside to tell them to beat feet. Year in and year out they’re there. Really, all you have to do is probably call the cops three or four times and you wanna know something? They’ll probably go away and not come back. So collectively, those phone calls might take you 10 minutes of time but guess what? You just got your life back.
Now, I have no idea why people behave the way they do. I can’t tell you why certain people grow up to be a doctor and others grow up and sell drugs. I guess you can make a socioeconomic argument that could hold water, but at the end of the day, if either are disturbing you or affecting the way you move around the planet, then inaction is the worst action.
Again, as I began to do my research to prepare for the forum, I’ve talked with many people at many different levels and the common thread between all of them is inaction. If we’re talking about drugs on a family level, then we may be talking about the parent that is deathly afraid of approaching a child that they feel is dabbling in drugs. If you have gaggle of people disturbing the peace, you might think calling the police puts you in danger. I wish they would create an app for that, so we could just boot up our phones, hit the magic icon and it all goes away. But technology hasn’t gotten us that far yet, so we have to use those phones as phones.
A few things you may not know: You don’t have to leave your name when you call the police (should that be the course of action you need to take), so if being afraid of some sort of retaliation is what you’re afraid of, then maybe that would put your mind to rest. There are also numerous ways to file a report online and even on Facebook in some areas, but the fastest response is always calling. Another thing you can do is have the support the folks on the frontlines (yes the police). How you do that is by making sure that the legislators are doing their jobs and putting into effect laws that will keep folks that believe they can write their own rules in jail.
Those are just a few things you can do, but the biggest of all is to call. If something doesn’t seem right, don’t wait, call. Because if you wait it may only get worse and take longer to straighten out; much like that untrained dog that’s now 8 years old and not housebroken. Yes, it’s easier to do nothing, but your quality of life will improve if you invest yourself in taking action. What the hell is up with that?