Letters From Indiana 4: Austin, Indiana: Ground Zero

Holy Moses I have been removed

I have seen the specter

He has been here too

Distant cousins from down the line

Brand of people that aint my kind

Holy Moses I have been removed…Elton John, The Border Song

The older I get the less tolerant I am of stupidity.  If someone’s stupid they cant help it but i’m not talking about that.  I’m talking about cultivated stupidity.  Ignorance and self righteousness compound each other into an awful stupidity that just makes you want to cry.

Of course I am talking about Austin IN, because it has made the national news.  I live in Scottsburg, just about five miles down US 31 from there. Just a fit’s throw away.  A couple of weeks ago I went thru Austin on my way to Indianapolis.  Austin is a dingy, horrible place full of old, fucked up people walking around with no apparent purpose.  It is a terrible blight not just of HIV but ignorance and fear and loathing and poverty and all is compounded by the smug, self righteousness of the locals that aren’t so fucked up.  Their attitude is deplorable and it is part of what is keeping this fire burning.

What set me off was when I looked thru the local weekly newspaper.  I saw a headline that Austin had decided to fight the HIV epidemic by fighting drug abuse.  I didn’t even read the article.  I didn’t have to.  I knew what it meant.

I want to say to them, Hey, Sparky.  You cant fight drug abuse and HIV.  Not at the same time.  You really cant fight drug abuse; just look at the record.  But you can stop this plague and contain it.  All you have to do is one thing: give the addicts clean needles.

Nobody seems to get that all is appetite, and an addict will always shoot up and they don’t care if the needle is infected with HIV or the Bubonic Plague.  Just give them clean needles.  They’ll use them.  And the plague will stop spreading and you can think about what to do next.  On humanitarian grounds, on public health grounds, on pragmatic grounds, it is the only thing that will work.  Do it any other way and you will lose and the plague will spread.  Of course you wont because you are too arrogant and ignorant.

I heard tell that part of the problem is that prostitutes come down there from Indianapolis but why in god’s name IDK.  Most of the people there are too fucked up to fuck.  I can just see a zombie and a prostitute rolling around in an alley where feral cats roam under the high, bitter moon.

If I had my way and some money i’d buy a new van, load the cats and everything I have and go.  As far as I could until it was safe.  And then i’d call in the biggest nuclear strike ever just to cauterize the filth and disease in this place.

Today went south early.  I am a little drunk on GI issue white wine, and I almost never drink but they don’t give me enough medicine to keep me calm..  Early this day I heard Donovan doing Catch the Wind.  When Dotty bought me a guitar for my birthday I played this song for her right in the guitar store. Hell, it’s just three chords.  I am very glad there are no firearms in this house.  I wouldn’t even trust myself around them.

This is Troy Eriksen.  Good day.

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One thought on “Letters From Indiana 4: Austin, Indiana: Ground Zero

  1. I’m sorry you had a rough day. There’s a few other towns I can think of that could use a good cleansing too. =P

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