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In Fort Greene, there's a neighborhood listserv in Fort Greene called FG Kids; like every other Brooklyn-based listserv and message board, FG Kids has become a battleground for the fate of this mid-gentrification neighborhood. As the following email thread shows, there's a war between law-abiding, drug-fearing Brooklynites and their activist counterparts, culminating in the ultimate question that plagues neighborhood associations near and far: would you rather your stoop be occupied by tough-talking stoners or friendly crackheads?

Names have been changed to protect ... something.

On Aug 9, 2006, at 8:01 AM, [Bill] wrote:

Lately there has been an upsurge in loitering crowds engaging in blatant drug use on the streets of our neighborhood. If you have been forced to walk through clouds of marijuana smoke (or worse) simply to get to the subway or your own front door
You do not have to give your name or identify yourself in any way. If you suspect drug selling please be as specific as you can as to the details. THEY WILL RESPOND AND POST UNDERCOVER OFFICERS IN THE AREA!
We do not have to live with this!
The more calls we make the quicker this comes to an end!


[Andrew] wrote:

I would like to register an opposing viewpoint. Please do not give aid and comfort to the police and politicians by making complaints about marijuana use. This is a relatively harmless drug, compared to certain legal ones, which ought to be legalized. The last thing we need is overzealous cops righteously busting young people for a victimless crime.

Are there other behaviors which bother you? I would suggest you address them specifically, and try to be a little discerning in the way you characterize "loitering crowds". I for one haven't seen this, other than around the parks on weekends, which is generally a safe and affirming outlet for people. What streets of our neighborhood are you referring to?


[Candace] wrote...

Well put Walter, I completely agree with you. What harm will these loitering stoners cause? Will they hit you over the head and try to steal your Mallomars as you are forced to walk through them?


[Consuela] wrote...

what subway stop?

good comments walter.


[Jill] wrote...

I tend to agree, complaints about marijuana seem a bit extreme. If there is drug dealing, violence or other dangerous activity that would seem a reasonable thing to report (making sure that we are not assuming these are happening just because it is a group of young people hanging together).

Sometimes I have to remember that summer is a time for being outdoors, and some kids don't have a lot of outlets for their gatherings, so hanging out together outside is their outlet....


[Chad] wrote...

Ditto. Stoned loiterers are much less harmful than drunk ones. Let's legalize pot and start enforcing the drinking age.


[Bill] wrote...

If they were just loitering stoners (having been one) it would be one thing but it's the dealing I am concerned about. I have heard from the handyman my neighbor uses that they are selling rock as well as weed. Lately I have seen a lot of truly skeevy characters that make me miss Jeffrey the crackhead hanging on my block looking like they're waiting for a late bus. This is not a goofy crowd. Their language is pretty hard-core and I have been verbally assaulted while walking with my kids when I objected to the trash they throw everywhere. My kids don't feel comfortable on the street around them and wont go outside if they are around and thats not fair.

And Walter...Its the Lafayette C all means stop by and do some shopping....have a freakin ball


[Bill] wrote:

Did I mention the glassine bags littering the ground???.....Oops!


[Betty] wrote...

As a relative non-smoker to walk through clouds of smoke anywhere of anything is just plain icky and annoying. As an asthmatic smoke of any kind threatens my health.

However, as Walter and Gabriels implied a T-head is not the same as a crack/cocaine, heroin or meth user. I would rather see the police use our tax dollars to crack down on the double parking during rush hour on DeKalb, the drunk drivers leaving our various restaurants and bars, the college students who think public urination is perfectly fine, or bicyclists who don't wear helmets and bicycle the wrong way up/down streets.


[James] wrote...

I do not oppose the use of the drugs, however I do oppose them using the drugs outside. My daughter does not need to be hit with a contact high when she comes outside to play. Also, I have seen a lot of dealing as well as a crackead sleeping on a stoop every now and then in the early morning. I agree with Scott. Call the Police.


[Betty] wrote...

This is just a thought...Instead of calling the cops could we, as a community, look into getting a treatment program to come down and do some prevention/treatment information tables or needle exchange? I have some contacts in this area and would be happy to reach out to them if there was an interest.

In this way we could provide a positive response instead of calling in the marshalls.