So, would this qualify as a "rich man problem?" Is this "a blessing?"
Is that how North Dakota Lieutenant Gov. Drew Wrigley and other oil-boom sycophants would refer to an ever-growing number of drug arrests in the Patch? Would those be good ways to describe an influx of hard-core drugs and increasingly hardened criminals into areas that not so long ago were like Mayberry?
A sneak-peek report by
In 2013, drug arrests statewide were up 20 percent over 2012. And that figure is small compared to pre-Oil Boom numbers. Drug arrests are up more than 40 percent since 2009 and about 300 percent since 1990.
This isn't kids' stuff. It's methamphetmine, heroin,
cocaine, illegal prescription drugs and high-grade marijuana. The drugs are
following the money into western
The bad guys are following the money, too. Stenehjem said
the drugs are often bypassing the usual distribution chain and coming straight
"They're coming in enormous quantities, and they are coming in with people who bring them right in from the cartels, and increasingly they are armed and exceedingly dangerous individuals," Stenejhem said, according to The Forum.
It gives a whole new meaning to the industry phrase
"Oil can, and does, for
Kind of makes you wonder how the state's government, which embarassingly has acted solely to mollycoddle the oil industry for the past decade, will react.
Actually, no, it doesn't make you wonder. Because Gov. Jack Dalrymple and his lieutenants won't react to the report at all. They'll continue to pat themselves on the back and smugly act as if the Republican Party of North Dakota is responsible for the oil under Williams, McKenzie and Mountrail counties.
For Dalrymple and Co. to acknowledge a growing drug problem would force them to acknowledge there are negative effects to the oil boom. The boom is a miracle, jobs and a billion-dollar surplus. It is not meth, heroin and cartels.
The bad stuff just isn't part of the narrative.
It's almost as if state leaders are afraid the oil barons
will pick up their derricks and go back to
Yet there's a belief among some, like Dalrymple's right-hand man Wrigley, that if you point out facts about oil that might be construed as negative or critical, then you are "anti-oil" or "anti-development." It's become a black and white, you're either with us or against us discussion. Unless you speak glowingly of oil all the time, then you are against oil. It's silly.
But that's what led Wrigley to mock and ridicule a private
citizen in a speech in western
This spurred Wrigley to say, "... you don't have a God-given right to never see a well head going up and down."
Instead, Wrigley dismissed the issues spawned by the boom (lack of housing, expensive housing, shortage of school space) as "rich man problems." In other words, good problems to have. No big deal. Nothing to see here.
He also referred to
Is meth no big deal? Are Mexican drug cartels coming to your state a blessing? Is a 300 percent increase in drug arrests a good problem to have?
Maybe in Wrigley's world. But those living in western
(Mike McFeely is a talk-show host on 790 KFGO-AM. His
program can be heard