Pubdate: Sun, 11 Feb 2001
Source: Redding Record Searchlight (CA)
Copyright: 2001 Redding Record Searchlight - E.W. Scripps
Contact:  PO Box 492397, Redding, CA 96049-2397
Author: Tom Dunlap


Just because Valentine's Day is right around the corner, it doesn't mean 
that everyone is strolling hand in hand. Granted, we've got to look some if 
we want to find a thought more charming, but thought, sometimes, can break 
our hearts in two. Lives and loves and lost horizons lean heavily upon 
life's choices.

We find ourselves at a fork in the road more often than we wish. And if we 
thought more clearly about those choices made, there's little doubt among 
us that we'd steer a wiser course.

It might seem my train of thought is mired in sentimental seepage, but 
really I'm reacting to a drug bust that took place on a night not too long 
ago. By their very nature, drug busts can be as joyful as a funeral for a 

What this one did was reaffirm a very basic concept, the one about choice 
and consequence walking hand in hand throughout the journey of our lives.

My acquaintance with the subjects of this bust was brief at best. Except by 
name and sight, I didn't know them. We've spoken a time or two in passing, 
but nothing said beyond a casual hello, what's up, nice day. As a couple 
they seemed blessed, basking in their prime - the best time of their lives 
- - when for reasons known only to them, they made a terrible choice.

Handsome, polite and well-spoken, he was quick of step, bright of eye and 
made a good impression. She seemed sweet, petite and quiet - cheerleader 
wholesome. The pathways of their lives were recently united and their karma 
seemed aglow with the future they were planning.

You could see it, you could feel it, you could want it for their sake. 
However, the alledged courtship of illicit drugs inside their hearts and 
home brought about an inevitable consequence - the long arm of the law 
knocking at their door, surrounded by police officers, police cars and the 
lights and sounds of police work in progress.

Cupid may have been there but he was not in charge. When drugs rule, they 
ruin lives by burning out the core of those involved, rendering an empty 
shell, turning bright eyes into sneaky eyes and smiles into smirks.

Drugs trample love in trade for money and crush those hearts that care.

What we saw that night messed up our day, as well as that of many others. 
It will no doubt mess up this couple's first Valentine's Day together, and 
rightfully so. More than just statistics, they are faces, voices, people 
that we know - but not as well as we had thought.

We expected better from them, wished better for them and now feel conned, 
scammed, cheated out of what we wanted for them in their new lifetime together.

Youth is such a blessing, to waste it such a shame.

In the chill of that night, as they were handcuffed and arrested, we felt a 
painful link, a dreadful human loss for two young valentines now pulled 
apart by chains, misguided dreams and unsound choices.

Tom Dunlap's column appears Sundays.
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