Marijuana Debate: David Answers Gareth

There was this math teacher who, if I recall correctly, put questions like "If you had three kilos of cocaine and had two clockers dealing with an average of three users a day, how much would they sell in a week" on a test. Apparently, after a parent found out, he/she got the teacher fired for putting the questions on the test.

Now I'm only 18, so I guess I'm speaking from a young person's point of view, but I would honestly be more eager to learn math if it had questions like that. Did that parent think that the teenagers taking the test were taking the questions seriously??? If so, then that parent is very naive . . . it was most likely that the kids were making fun of the questions . . . while I think the teacher went a little to far.

I'll bet you that those children learned more math in those weeks he was teaching "street math" then when the teacher was using the more boring, orthodox methods of teaching. I know if I was in that class I would have had a good laugh or two. I also know that none of these kids are going to want to be drug dealers just because a teacher starts using "street math" to teach.

Even then, when you hear something like that, "Stash" doesn't sound so bad, does it. In fact, when I was in high school, we used to have these kids we used to call "Gangsta wannabes" . They would wear beepers, dress in baggy clothes and drive pick-ups with kickin' systems. Yet none of them were "hard." They were willing to accept that lavishness of having the money of a drug dealer, yet most kids aren't willing to deal with the "hardships" involved.

When most kids admire drug dealers, they are really just admiring the lavish part of the lifestyle of a drug dealer rather than the actual "work" a drug dealer has to do. What is really sad is the fact that a drug dealer can make more money per hour than about anyone working in any other profession.

I for one KNOW I don't have too much time on my hands. It's more like an ancient protective instinct kicks in now that I'm a father. I will not tolerate blatant stupidity in the face of my children's upbringing. And quite frankly I consider comments, such as those made by the game's designers, to be just that. Blatantly stupid. How can you not see what games like this one can do to a child's perceptions?

You're the one being blatantly stupid if you think that a game is going to shape your child into a drug dealer. Children stopped being dumb in the 80's if you catch my drift. How many times have I heard people on various mailing list say stuff like "my child made a really cool animation in Director and he/she is only 3 years old!" The fact is children have to deal with more grown up issues at a younger age. This also allows them to develop morals at a younger age.

Gone are the days of naive children. We can't forget that kids have rights, too. Whenever I see news of a custody hearing on television, it pisses me off that judges don't bother to hear the children's point of view. And when they do, they hardly consider it when awarding custody of a child. Even the use of a word like "awarding custody" makes a child look like a trophy when in fact most kids and teenagers I know are more intelligent, multicultural and sophisticated than most adults.

Most of the bad values a child learns are in fact passed on from their parents, but their parents are quick to put the blame on others. Even looking at drug dealers, I doubt that most drug dealers would have become drug dealers if they grew up in homes where they were financially secure. There are those who are quick to say, "Rather than becoming a drug dealer, why don't these people go out and get a college education and make big money legally." --

Well, its not as easy as that. College costs big bucks these days. You could get a student loan, but they don't give those to just anybody and some don't want to deal with the hassle of a student loan. I have had a few people advise me not to get one. You could get government financial aid, which can be helpful, but it is little more than a slap in the face to those who want to go to college. The government has got to stop wasting money on $10,000 toilets and start putting programs in place where everyone can go to college without worrying about the finances.

It's not quite the same as playing cops and robbers. They are actually getting very specific about how you go about being a "good" dealer or smuggler. Think about that. Now imagine your own 8 to 12 year old sitting down to a rousing game of this. Think about how it might feel if that same child came away completely elated that he or she had finally smuggled in all 20 kilos, dealt it all out to the street dealers, and managed to get around that mean (& no doubt evil) judge in the process. Would you still consider this a harmless way to "kill" an afternoon?

It's as harmless as a kid who goes to play a game of "Mortal Kombat" in which they can decapitate their victims. It's as harmless as a kid who goes hunting deer with his father just for the thrill of the kill.

I am truly curious, and as I said, am not trying to be antagonistic here. But I do not consider myself to be frivolous in the way I look at things when it comes to how they may affect the lives of my kids. Or, for the matter, the lives of kids that mine may someday meet or be friends with.

If you think that a game such as "Stash" (innovative name) is going to influence your kids to become drug dealers, then your kids have bigger psychological problems then you think. I like to think of kids as Play-doh (okay, maybe its a bad analogy). The Play-doh can (the child's home) keeps the Play-doh from being molded and shaped. Only when the Play-doh is outside the can (with friends, at school, etc.) is it able to be softened and molded, but that Play-doh has to be put back into the can after a few hours (has to go back home) to prevent it from becoming a permanent mold. After awhile, your eventually going to leave the Play-doh out of the can (the teen leaves home and goes to college) and its going to dry into a permanent shape (the teen chooses a lifestyle after years of experimentation with other lifestyles).

Now if you open the can once and play with the Play-doh for only a couple of minutes and then let it dry out into a shape, you aren't going to have a lot of variety in shapes since new Play-doh is harder to mold than experienced Play-doh (in other words, if you keep a kid sheltered for life, when that kid finally leaves home, the kid is going to be bombarded by everything around him and is going to be unprepared and will more than likely choose the first promising lifestyle that he/she sees, rather that the kid who has experienced more promising lifestyles and chooses the one that he/she thinks is more fitting).

You can't keep your children sheltered.The fact is your kids are going to experiment with drugs and alcohol and sex and there's little you can do about it. In fact one of my best friend's father is a marijuana dealer (I live in New Mexico, a mecca for the marijuana trade) and he himself is a good friend. He has never pressured me into doing drugs although he himself has experimented with them, but doesn't do them as much as he uses alcohol. But then again about every kid that went to my high school and every other high school drinks alcohol on a regular basis.

What's even more shocking is the fact that my mother knew his dad was a drug dealer, yet didn't really care who I hung out with because she knew I was happier that way. In fact it is the sheltered kids who end up more f**cked up. Just look at the cast of "Differen't Strokes". They didn't have the opportunity to go to a normal high school, experiment and choose their friends. Rather they probably did what their parents wanted (made) them do, and two of the three kids from that series now have criminal records to show for it. If you think a game like "Stash" will shape your kids into wannabe drug dealers, then that just shows your lack of faith in your children Gareth.

© copyright, 1997, David Flores
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