Told you so.
Remember when I was an asshole for posting pictures of heroin addicts? Maybe you remember sending me a death threat (those were cute), or telling me what a horrible fucking person I was for exposing the shocking truths of addiction to your precious suburban-fucking-angel of a child?
Well, <BLATANT LIE> I’m not one to gloat </BLATANT LIE> but it turns out I was just ahead of my time.
In 2012 I started my Baltimore-based blog chronicling the horrors of heroin addicting in American cities and at the time I was uniformly seen as a monster by the Internet gods (minus the 17,000 or so who decided to follow along on Facebook). I hung it up in March of 2015 after three years and thousands of ignored aggressive emails and direct messages because I wanted to focus on an even larger horror-show than heroin addiction — parenting.
Well, three years and two kids later the world has finally caught up to where I started.
In September of 2016 a police department in Ohio decided to share a picture of two heroin addicts overdosing in their car with their child in the backseat. The reactions were intense, and instead of focusing on the messenger they got people to start to focus on the message. Heroin addiction is killing people and it’s a big fucking deal.
Rhonda Pasek and James Acord were pulled over in East Liverpool, Ohio Pasek's four-year-old son can be seen in backseat…www.dailymail.co.uk
More post followed and the outcry to “do something” finally started to appear. Before you knew it heroin was being treated as a national epidemic and news stories about people overdosing in public became the norm.
For some reason seeing people stumbling around on my site was horrible, but when it made it to mainstream media they were saving lives…
Erika Hurt had become the face of drug addiction. The young mother was captured in a photograph by police, passed out…www.washingtonpost.com
I know my site saved lives. I had more than a few emails from addicts who said they saw themselves on my site and were looking for treatment. One interesting one (which I posted) was an addict who would read my site and laugh at the other junkies, only to later realize how stupid he looked when he was high. He wrote me to say he was quitting and thanked me for keeping the site going under all the criticism.
In the end it was family which brought my crusade to an end. The horrors of diapers, daycare and daddying were more pressing than the horrors of drugs.
And while I remain in Baltimore and deeply committed to making this city better for my kids, I feel that the mainstream has finally caught up to my guerrilla blogging ways and I would just become a hype-man for a genre I helped create.
No, what Baltimore needs now (or maybe I need) is a blog dedicated to raising kids in the inner city. How does a middle-class parent navigate daycare, school, and activities for your children in an area that has been all-but designated low-income-only by the local and state governments?
I have seen literally dozens of middle-class parents who have been my friends and neighbors for over a decade leave downtown because their children have aged into a zoned school where 98% of the students are on free and reduced lunches. It’s easy to do some armchair parenting on this one and say they are horrible people for not exposing their children to economic diversity, but the reality is we have a lot of kindergarten students calling their teacher “bitch” and if you can afford to move away from that you generally do.
When we have *that* dinner where my friends for the last 10+ years tell us they are moving I don’t even ask why anymore, because it’s not the drugs, or the crime, or the fucking water bill; it’s the schools.
So I’m done flogging the dead horse about Baltimore’s drug problem. Maybe every now and then I’ll mention it in passing, or do a one-off article, but I think as a main theme I’ve moved on.
But, as my babies grow and the diaper changes become less frequent, I’d like to use this medium to share some of the insight in how I’ve managed to raise <BIG ASSUMPTION> well-adjusted </BIG ASSUMPTION> kids downtown in one of the most dangerous cities in America.
It’ll be a big shift from chronicling heroin abuse years before it was cool, but it’ll be a good read for new parents, and maybe help some people stay in the city who were otherwise headed to the county. And don’t worry, I’m still an asshole so they should be good reads.