We read through a Facebook exchange recently about Morenci and we’ve shown it to a few other residents. Some people just laugh it off; others bristle a little at what they read.
“It’s gone to hell,” one commenter wrote. “So glad I do not live there and I will not be raising my children there. It’s just filled with drugs now.”
Another adds, “It’s horrible. I’m ashamed to live even in Lenawee. I need to leave before it’s my own kids growing up in this pit.”
“Yeah, it seems like stuff is getting bad,” another writer said. “People tried breaking into my mom’s house and I wish she didn’t live there anymore.”
Some people will read this and wonder what they could possibly be referring to. Others might acknowledge problems—many that have been around for years—but still shake their heads thinking that life will be much safer somewhere in an another city. And, of course, there will likely be some residents who would agree with the assessments stated above.
Those who read the police news in the Observer might believe it’s still a great place to live. Animal complaints, civil disputes and traffic incidents still take up the most ink.
Drug problems are not new here nor in any small community. Ten years ago it was methamphetamine that was the big concern. Now it’s heroin that’s moved in and that’s resulted in some area deaths—not all of them in Morenci. In another 10 years, a new drug will likely be the problem.
We know there’s frustration among citizens that drug arrests are not being made, usually along the lines of “and the cops aren’t doing anything.” If those people speak to the police, they will learn that isn’t the case.
Taking care of drug problems isn’t as easy in real life as it is on television. The talk around town is that “everyone knows” a certain house is the drug house. Taking care of the problem isn’t as simple as knocking on the door. Police need to see something in order to do something—they need to concrete evidence obtained through proper protocol.
There have always been people dissatisfied with where they live—Morenci and other places—and there have always been people convinced that the town—or state, or country, or planet—is falling apart. Our guess? The majority of Morenci residents still think it’s darn good place to live.
Yes, there are problems here just as there are in other cities, large and small. Let’s talk about them with some clear-sighted discussion rather than with the attitude of fleeing to another location—and then encountering the problems that exist there.