Tag Archives: death

half-truth: crack kills

It’s not totally untrue. If you’re anything like me, you grew up in the midst of America’s ‘War on Drugs’ and you probably wore a D.A.R.E. t-shirt or the family car sported a bumper sticker. We all saw the commercials, “this is your brain on drugs,” and many of us came closer to crack than we should have as young people. So it has been drilled into our heads that crack kills. Use drugs, you’ll die. Hell, if smoking weed can cause you to run over a pre-teen out for a bike ride, smoking crack has got to be the end of it all, right? Kinda.

I’m no fan of crack cocaine, yall. I know it’s hella bad. As if we needed proof, the Office of National Drug Control Policy lists the health effects from crack use:

Physical effects of cocaine use, including crack use, include constricted blood vessels and increased temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure. Users may also experience feelings of restlessness, irritability, and anxiety.

In addition to the usual risks associated with cocaine use, crack users may experience acute respiratory problems, including coughing, shortness of breath, lung trauma, and bleeding. Crack cocaine smoking also can cause aggressive and paranoid behavior.

Of an estimated 113 million emergency department (ED) visits in the U.S. during 2006, the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) estimates that 1,742,887 were drug-related. DAWN data indicate that marijuana was involved in 290,563 ED visits.

According to the National Institutes of Health,

Regardless of how or how frequently cocaine is used, a user can experience acute cardiovascular or cerebrovascular emergencies, such as a heart attack or stroke, which may cause sudden death. Cocaine-related deaths are often a result of cardiac arrest or seizure followed by respiratory arrest.

So yeah, there you have it. Crack cocaine can kill. Still, it doesn’t really kill people like they made/make it out to do. How do I know this? Why am I even bringing this up? Well, as you can tell from some of my last posts, I’m back in my hometown. Since I don’t have shit else to do, I spend a lot of time running errands for my fam or going to see my grandfather. I also take a moment to ride around some. As I’m passing through, I keep noticing people who I know for a fact were heavy crack addicts. I’ve seen some of them buy and smoke it with my own eyes, so no speculation is necessary. What bugged me out as I was driving earlier today was that these motherfuckers are STILL around. They ain’t EVEN dead.

Not that I wish they were dead. I’m just kind of surprised. We’re talking 10 years at least that these people have been on that shit. From what I can tell, they’re still on it (that right there is speculation as to one woman, I’d bet the farm on the other). The one I’m speculating to, she just kinda pissed me off cuz I saw her on the same corner I remember seeing her on when I was a kid. Not like a teenager, a kid. Damn… go elsewhere!

When I drove past one chick and saw that she still looked pretty out there, I said to myself damn, I guess crack don’t kill after all. True, it kills your mind, your appearance, your life, your family, your community. It’s one of the most devastating things to happen to our country. But after all that crack kills scare shit they fed us, I really thought that people I knew were going to die in a short matter of time. I had even made my peace with it. Turns out, you can suffer a LONG time with someone who is on that shit. That’s what they need to tell people – – “Crack is highly addictive and bad for you. It’ll destroy your life and you’ll have to live suffer with it for a very looonnnnngggg time.”

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No R.I.P. posts here

I’m just not into it. Never have been. Kinda like how I’m not into getting autographs. (Aside: I saw a grown man nearly maul two girls for a sweaty fitted cap worn by Phonte of Little Brother and signed by himself, Big Pooh and their DJ. Chill, son. End Aside.)

Now, I do feel badly when people die. Mostly because of the loss others around them are feeling. I don’t think about or worry much about what happens after we die, so I don’t feel any kind of anxiety over that. I’ve had people close to me die and I just miss them a lot sometimes. Not everyday, but when I’m reminded of them somehow and realize that I won’t see them again.

I also feel badly when I think people have died “before their time,” a concept I know usually goes hand in hand with some concept of fate and destiny and maybe even divinity – all things I don’t really subscribe to too tough. But you know what I mean. Senseless death or the death of the young always strikes us because it’s totally contrary to our sense of right, just and fair.

So when Bernie Mac died, I was like “oh damn” in my head. I thought to myself how funny he was and how one day he was just in the hospital with pneumonia and the next he’s gone. Then I got up and brushed my teeth, not really thinking about it until my girl called me to express her surprise at the whole thing. “I already heard,” I told her. Then when the news about Isaac Hayes came though I thought, “I wonder how the South Park people feel and if they’ll try to make fun of it.”

I don’t want to sound cold, but I’m not all RIP. I totally hate the phrase RIP. That shit better not come near my headstone nor any obituaries. I don’t want my face ironed on an oversized white tee. Nor do I want the wall of a chicken take-out spot airbrushed and spraypainted with my likeness. If I ever get mangled on a highway, do not pile up bears and flowers at the site. Just don’t.

Rest In Peace. Ok. I’ll try to do my best. As if I have some say in how that resting is gonna go. Or maybe you have a say in how it’ll go and you can will me into a better afterlife. Cool!
Is saying RIP like saying God Bless You? Just one of those pleasantries you exchange because you were “raised right?”

Honestly, I think people just say that one after another to let everyone know that THEY are aware of the death and yes, they are sympathetic. They’re not unfeeling monsters. They’re not me.

I’ll die one day and so will you. When the time comes, how about we just say “peace” and pour out a lil suntin’? Like this:

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Grandma

Let me tell you a story about my grandmother’s death, at least part of the story. This is kind of random and was inspired by my blog trolling – someone had written about the anniversary of a family member’s passing.

I can’t recall the exact date my grandmother died. I know it was around late August because it was “back to school” time in all of the stores. I was just about to start the eighth grade. My grandmother’s passing is pretty significant because she’s the one who primarily raised me. My mother was around occasionally. To be fair, I saw her rather often, but she did not live with me and was not my primary caretaker. That’s another story, however. People would say my grandmother spoiled me and I do not doubt that, although I never considered myself a spoiled child in the way that phrase is normally used. She just really loved me and showed it.

Sometimes I would whine and wish she was like a “regular grandmother”, the ones I’d read about in books and saw on television. Ones who baked cookies and had gray hair in a bun. Grandmother’s who knitted quilts and sat in rocking chairs. Instead, my grandma, whose name was Betty by the way, liked to go out. Her favorite thing to do was play Bingo. I mean, this woman must have gone to Bingo 3 times a week at least. She had a group of friends and they came together as “The Friendship Club,” which was often a misnomer. Those women would fight so much, but it was clear that they loved each other dearly. They’d go partying together and cook chicken dinners to sell. There was Ms. Dot-Lee who was kind of scary to me because she wore a big wig and there was Bay-Bee. You gotta say it like two words. Bay. Bee. She had a blonde-ish short cut and was crazy, yo. My grandmother’s best friend out of the bunch was Ms. Mitchell. I think I only recently found out she had a first name. My grandma only called her Mitchell. She had a jheri curl and was so smart-mouthed. Continue reading

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