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The Truth About Philadelphia
"The Blob"

Glenn Holsten Lead-in:
I didn't search out stories about drugs. To be honest I was almost trying to avoid them. I figured I heard it all before. But then I met Angelo Menefee a former drug dealer who now counsels the young wounded when they come into Temple University Hospital all shot up. Then I met Juanita Hatton a Nicetown activist who closes up crackhouses with a team of neighbors armed only with anger and a baseball bat. Then I met Darling Rosario a man in Norris Square who helped turned around a place called Needle Park. It's now the beautiful Norris Square Park. Then I met Brian Weatherspoon, a former dealer who turned his life around, who described just how he became a dealer. It seemed so easy. I realized that I hadn't heard it all before. I hadn't heard the half of it…about the Blob in our backyard.

I ran 23rd and Atlantic Street in Tioga. I was a hoodlum if you want to call it that. Well, when I was out there gang warring, uh, a little boy, I was about two years older than he was and he lived two doors away from me…nice guy, but he was -- wanted to be a tough guy, but he was 12. We heard gun fire, this is during the day time, gun fire. And come to find out he ran back up the street, and we thought he was playing; ran up the street, 12 years old, with a hole in his chest, blood squirting out. And we all jumped off the porch, we thought he was faking till we seen the blood and when he fell, and we hollering, you know, "Raymond, Raymond," you know, and, the people was a crowding around. And when we turned him over, you know, he just, his eyes was like mar -- like steel, like it was like if you take two marbles and set them on the ground and cat eye marbles, they just sit there. And he was laid there and blood was just pumping out. And somebody had to tell his Mom.

Juanita :
What do you say to a mother when her only child was killed by drugs? There's nothing you can say. You try to hold them up, you try to help them, but that woman is devastated because her child didn't die for something, or disease, or killed in a war. It was killed for someone greediness for a dollar.

And they call these little boys on a corner, drug dealers, they're not drug dealers, they're drug slaves. The dealers are laying on a beach in the big government facilities sitting around enjoying their money, riding in their Lamborghinis, and don't give a darn. And with these little boys standing on the corner, half of them can't even read their name, they wouldn't even know it if you see it on a piece of paper. They got caught up in the bureaucracy of the beauty of oh, the money. That's what they got caught in. Cause drugs have no gender and no color, it's the money. They stand on the corner, they will, these kids on these drugs will sell their own momma. I know, I, I went through a living hell with my son on drugs. I tried to help my child all I could. Big mistake. Come and look at you, laugh in your face, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Pick up your wallet and go right out the door. I know, I know first hand experience what it is. It's sad. And if they're, now all the government can do with all these fast planes and all this technology that they have, and they can't stop drugs from coming into this country. And they don't want to. But they're always broke, where's all this money going? And then the funniest thing is they have drug forfeiture. Put the money back in the community. If they was putting the money in this community, would it look like this?

You know, it's like the blob. It just continues to, like, move and -- and envelop an area. And then once it's done with that area, moves along, you know, to the next area, you know. It's like a feeding frenzy, you know. I'm done here, let's go there, you know. And it just continues to roll over, neighborhood by neighborhood.

I don't think people choose, you know, like, like, you don't have, you know, ei -- eight year olds say, you know, well, you know, when I grow up I want to be a drug dealer. They -- they don't wake, you know -- kid's don't -- don't get to -- to that point. I think by the time they're 15, not even 15, 12, no 13, and they don't see a future, but they see, umm, they see, you know, like, their friends, no -- their big brother's friends 17, 18 years old, walking around with $120 sneakers, and you know, chains, and you know, Tommy Hilfiger, uh, jackets.

And you know, everything that (CLEARS THROAT) that you would think that in this com -- this community people would not have the money to buy, but they're -- but they're buying it.

Brian :
It was a slow beginning. I would walk past the corners everyday. And I would -- I -- just to myself, and even some little friends that I had, we would always say, listen we're gonna never go that route. We're never gonna stand on those corners, never gonna do these things. Uh, so we stayed, you know, we did the athletics, we played the football, the other extracurricular activities. One day I decided I was gonna stay home from school, we hookied school one day, and I never knew that my best friend was -- had already gotten into that lifestyle. And I -- I remember one day I wanted one pair of sneaks. Mom could not buy the sneaks, a single-home mom, had to work two jobs, she couldn't supply that. And any of the other time, that was okay, but entering into those early high school years, and you know, everything is about pleasing the people and the peer pressure. And I remember I wanted a pair of sneaks and he said to me, "Listen, if you want the sneaks I got a way that you can get those sneaks". I said, "Well I want these sneaks so find a way." And he said, "If you go outside and I give you some stuff and you stand there, you don't have to say a word, they'll come to you." And that moment on, I went outside that day, and in 30 minutes, a 13 year old had $500. I called my little part-time job that I had after school, said I quit. I found my career, this is it. (LAUGH) And this is it.

Brian :
And from there I found it very hard to even look back, to do anything good. Umm, and needless to say, the more you grow in that lifestyle, the more casualties you have to take, the more things you do to continue to make $500 a day. Before you realize it, you're this mad guy out there just wanting money, money, money, and I think that's where most of the young people are at now. It's as simple as wanting a desire, the little desire in your heart that you don't feel like you can get any other way, and you say well, maybe this one day, I'll try it nobody knows. And that one days turns into five days, that five days turns into a year. Before you know it, either you're in prison or you're dead.

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