Pubdate: Sun, 14 Oct 2001
Source: Journal Gazette (IN)
Copyright: 2001 Journal Gazette
Author: Frank Gray


Because of the threat of more terrorist attacks, the government has 
appealed to the public to be on the alert.

It's called situational awareness. Know what's going on around you at all 

You don't have to walk on eggs, but keep on your toes. Don't suspect 
everyone you see of being a mad bomber, like the person who called police 
to report seeing two Mideastern-looking men on the sidewalk. (They turned 
out to be students walking to class at the Indiana Institute of 
Technology.) But still be a little suspicious, and keep your eyes open for 
things that don't look quite right.

Some of us will be better at this than others.

Then, some of us will never get the message, like some drug dealers, whose 
methods are so blatant they are almost amusing.

If you aren't into the drug culture, the art of making connections between 
the buyer and the seller remains a big mystery. It must take a lot of 
experience, you figure, an amazing ability to read people and spot 
potential customers, a sort of sixth sense that lets you sniff out a fellow 
user who's in the market to buy.

Street smarts, they call it, the ability to be as crafty as an urban fox.

That's the way it works on television - subtle whispers, cryptic comments 
made between people who never let their eyes meet. Constant suspicion and 
sizing up of customers before agreeing to anything.

Well, think again.

When it comes to street dealers, an ice-cream truck is more subtle.

For many drug dealers in Fort Wayne, the preferred way of making contact 
with a customer is to simply wave down a car, maybe at an intersection or, 
if you have to, right in the middle of the street. Traffic will wait.

Take a look at a couple of incidents that have happened since officials 
first started urging the public last week to be alert and cautious.

On Wednesday night on Pearl Street, a 40-year-old man waved down a car and 
offered it's occupants sex. They weren't interested.

Well, the street peddler then offered, maybe crack is what you're 
interested in. We got that, too. Then, somewhere out of the shadows the man 
produced a woman and introduced her to the occupants of the car. The two 
then hopped in and took off for a house several blocks away, where the two 
could buy cocaine for the occupants of the car.

The street pushers were as good as their word. They got the crack for their 
newfound customers.

Of course those customers turned out to be police. They weren't wearing 
uniforms, but you wonder whether that would have even mattered.

The same night another dealer using the same methods - selling drugs on the 
street is clearly not for the timid - a 37-year-old man waved down a car at 
Monroe and Lewis streets and told its occupants he could get them some 
crack. Once again, he was as good as his word and ended up selling crack to 
customers who proved to be police.

Some people will tell you these dealers are junkies, and this is how they 

That's easy to believe, as incredible as their sales tactics are. Your 
brains would have to be fried with a side of bacon to wave cars down in a 
bar district and offer to sell them crack if they stopped.

But they're still drug dealers, making the connection between the suppliers 
and the public, filling the final gap in a chain that starts on another 
continent, creating destruction a little at a time, leaving rubble just as 
any other act of destruction does.

We can only be glad they're as clumsy and unaware as they are.

Too bad terrorists with bombs aren't as awkward.
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