Home » Crime » Recent Articles:

Sunday Poll: Opioids/Herion vs Marijuana — Are They Equally Dangerous Drugs?

Please vote below
Please vote below

In late April singer Prince died at age 57, the corner found he died due to an opioid overdose:

Toxicology tests for Prince concluded that the entertainer died from an accidental overdose of the opioid fentanyl, according to a report on his death by the Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office.
Fentanyl, prescribed by doctors for cancer treatment, can be made illicitly and is blamed for a spike in overdose deaths in the United States. It’s 25 to 50 times more potent than heroin and 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. (CNN)

Heroin is an opioid:

Heroin is an opioid drug that is synthesized from morphine, a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seed pod of the Asian opium poppy plant. Heroin usually appears as a white or brown powder or as a black sticky substance, known as “black tar heroin.” (drugabuse.gov)

Prescription opioids include Vicodin & OxyContin. The government classifies drugs relative to each other in five levels, here are the descriptions of the two most dangerous as described by the DEA:

Schedule I

Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are:

heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyote.

Schedule II

Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous. Some examples of Schedule II drugs are: 

Combination products with less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin), cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin

For today’s poll I’m contrasting opioids/herion (Schedule 1 & 2) to marijuana (Schedule 1):

The term “dangerous” is how ever you define it.  The poll will close at 8pm tonight.

Wednesday I’ll share my thoughts with the non-scientific results of this poll.

— Steve Patterson


Gaslight Square vs. Washington Ave

The familiar Corvette from the Route 66 television series parked on Olive in Gaslight Square, from episode that aired November 30, 1962 -- click image for more detail at IMDB.
The familiar Corvette from the Route 66 television series parked on Olive in Gaslight Square, from episode that aired November 30, 1962 — click image for more detail at IMDB.

When I moved from Oklahoma City to St. Louis in 1990 our long-time neighbor across the street told me of his visits to Gaslight Square in the 1960s. By the time I’d arrived the buildings on the 2-block stretch of Olive were boarded up. I settled just West of there, on Lindell near Euclid. Euclid Ave, in the 90s, seemed to attract crime. Now it’s the greater downtown area — specifically Washington Ave.

First, a look at Gaslight Square:

By summer 1960, it was the place to be for beats, preppies, well-dressed adults, street troubadours and tourists. Olive pulsed with a happy cacophony wafting from places called the Crystal Palace, Left Bank, Laughing Buddha, and Dark Side. Jack Carl dished pastrami and genial abuse at 2 Cents Plain. A row of columns outside Smokey Joe’s Grecian Terrace anchored the landscape.

On March 24, 1961, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen anointed the obvious by renaming two blocks of Olive as Gaslight Square. Laclede Gas Co. later installed 121 gas streetlights, adding flicker to the buzz.

By summer 1961, Gaslight was noisier with more restaurants, taverns, nightclubs and shops. Some of the antiques dealers were squeezed out by rising rents. “The old gang doesn’t come around anymore, but perhaps it is a necessary evil of growing,” Massucci said as cash registers jingled.

Big and future names in show biz played the square. An 18-year-old singer named Barbra Streisand was warm-up for the Smothers Brothers. Allen Ginsberg recited poetry to mellow jazz. Miles Davis and Singleton Palmer were regulars. Earnest ministers opened the Exit, a coffee shop promising meaningful discussion and “jazz liturgy.”

But the crowds also attracted purse snatchers, car thieves and worse. On Dec. 30, 1964, Lillian Heller was fatally shot in a robbery in the vestibule of her apartment building at 4254 Gaslight, just east of Boyle. Heller, 61, and her husband, John, were artists.

Police added patrols and promised security. Young people flocked to discotheques such as Whisky a Go-Go, where hired dancers gyrated on platforms. But throbbing recorded music was drowning the live clarinet riffs. It became too crass and too much.

The old clubs began closing. Laclede doused some of the gas lights in 1967 for failure to pay. Police made drug arrests and thwarted a desperate bid to save the strip with topless waitresses. The Exit gave up the spirit in 1969, about when cultural pathologists pronounced the end of Gaslight. (Post-Dispatch)

Gaslight Square concentrated a lot into a couple of blocks of Olive. This concentration of money and activity attracted those who wanted some of that money.  Rising crime became too much for some so it began to die.

There are parallels to current events, but there’s time to avoid going down the same path. Ever since the Washington Ave streetscape was completed about 15 years ago (Tucker to 18th), so much attention has been focused on a tiny area.

From 2014: Weekend nights traffic gets backed up on Wash Ave between Tucker (12th) and 14th
From 2014: Weekend nights traffic gets backed up on Wash Ave between Tucker (12th) and 14th

The solution is to put less focus on Washington Ave, but also do like many cities: divide downtown/downtown west into geographic districts. Examples: Toronto, Oklahoma City, Kansas City. This has been talked about for years but it has never happened.

Some possible districts include:

  • Garment District
  • City Museum District
  • Ballpark Village District
  • Convention District
  • Union Station District
  • Columbus Square District
  • Library District
  • Central Business District
  • Arch District
  • MX District

None should have “downtown” or Washington Ave”  the name. Sure, crime will still happen, but this way an entire area won’t get stigmatized by something that happens 1-2 miles away. Branding districts could help with marketing efforts.

— Steve Patterson



Readers Overwhelming Support Good Samaritan Laws To Break Into Hot Cars To Rescue Kids and/or Pets

Laws regarding kids or animals left in hot cars vary by state, but the newest being passed are good Samaritan laws that breaking into hot cars to rescue kids or animals believed to be in danger.

From Monday:

Good Samaritans who break into vehicles in an attempt to rescue children trapped inside would be protected from civil liability under legislation pending before Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Elijah Haahr, a Springfield Republican, said the goal is to encourage people to act quickly if they believe it’s necessary to save kids from dangers such as deadly excessive heat. (KMOX)

This was the topic for the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Would you support or oppose a law that allows breaking into hot cars to save kids and/or animals?

  • Strongly support 12 [32.43%]
  • Support 14 [37.84%]
  • Somewhat support 3 [8.11%]
  • Neither support or oppose 1 [2.7%]
  • Somewhat oppose 1 [2.7%]
  • Oppose 3 [8.11%]
  • Strongly oppose 2 [5.41%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [2.7%]

Nearly 80% support. I looked for arguments against such laws, but couldn’t find anything. More than 16% indicated opposition, so I’m curious to hear why.

— Steve Patterson


Too Easy To Meander Inside Many Parking Garages

Lately the issue of safety in parking garages has been in the local news:

There are surveillance cameras at the parking garage on N. 7th street near Washington Ave., however the company that owns and operates the garage, SP Plus, told the victim in a voicemail, “The cameras are not operational”

Now, two years later, it’s the same story. According to an email sent to News 4 by the victim of the sexual assault that happened two weeks ago, SP Plus told her “There are no cameras at 701 N. 7th Street. We apologize for the inconvenience.” (KMOV)

I’m no fan of parking garages — except when I want to take pictures from them. They can often provide some of the best vantage points. Well. assuming I can access them.

Structural repairs being made to one of the Kiener garages in 2010
Structural repairs being made to one of the Kiener garages in 2010

From a photography perspective I like that I can easily access many downtown parking garages without being stopped, but that’s not good for the personal safety of those who park in them. Newer garages seem to do a better job of keeping out people who aren’t retrieving their vehicle.  Still, with any public garage a person can get access if they drive in.

— Steve Patterson


Readers Not Interested In Possible Attack On Electrical Grid

March 2, 2016 Crime 3 Comments

The most recent Sunday Poll received less votes than usual, which I expected given the broad abstract nature of the question. These polls are non-scientific anyway, so basically for discussion and entertainment value.

Q: Likelihood of a [sucessful] cyber attack on the U.S. power grid?

  • Very unlikely 2 [9.09%]
  • Unlikely 1 [4.55%]
  • Somewhat unlikely 7 [31.82%]
  • Equally unlikely & likely 3 [13.64%]
  • Somewhat likely 2 [9.09%]
  • Likely 5 [22.73%]
  • Very likely 2 [9.09%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

The three unlikely categories added up to 45.46%, the likely 40.91%, with the balance in the middle.

Here’s Ted Koppel on the subject:

He says it’s not if — but when. He wants us to prepare for the consequences. For a lighter take see Koppel on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

— Steve Patterson




This message is only visible to admins.

Problem displaying Facebook posts.
Click to show error

Error: An access token is required to request this resource.
Type: OAuthException
Solution: See here for how to solve this error