Tuesday, December 18, 2012

MIDN Cheech?

It's a fairly slow news day on the maritime beat, so as a lot of the email that has come across the transom in the last few days has been about the "drug problem" at Annapolis - before the Front Porch gets grumpy with me, let me dive in to it a bit. From our friends from The Capital;
When the Naval Academy closed its 11-month investigation last year into the use of synthetic marijuana by midshipmen, officials said they’d dismissed 16 mids — but found no evidence of drug dealing.

What the academy’s account didn’t reveal was just how significant a drug culture Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents found.

The investigation ended the military careers of at least 27 midshipmen, including those allowed to resign while being investigated for drug use and an undetermined number suspected of drug use who were dismissed for collateral reasons.


The investigation also uncovered a drug culture replete with users and dealers. Agents not only found use of synthetic marijuana, called “spice,” but that some mids had used cocaine, mephedrone, mescaline and psychedelic mushrooms.

Some mids possessed soda bottles with secret compartments to hide their drugs, and fake bladders called “Whizzinators” to avoid detection of their drug use in urine tests.
First of all, let's start with the obvious, USNA does not have a "drug culture" and to imply that it does is an insult to no-kidding colleges out there that have robust and entertaining "drug cultures" - in a counter-cultural fashion.

What we may have actually going on here are a few things:

1. Any, and I mean any, population of young men and women who all of a sudden find themselves away from their parents and are stretching their wings in to adulthood, will have a certain percentage who will not only test the envelope, but will jump WAY past it.

2. These are human, fallen creatures who make poor decisions and have bad judgement. Some worse than others. Some with less luck than others.

3. We are talking about a long running NCIS investigation here; not something with a track record of .... well .... we all know what we means.
The drug problem was so rampant NCIS agents sometimes interviewed dozens of mids in a day, according to NCIS documents The Capital received in September in response to a federal Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, request. “If I had to estimate the number of mids who are actively smoking spice or doing other drugs,” a midshipman and lead informant told NCIS, “I’d say it’s about 300 to 500 mids.”
Ah, there we go. 

Something else we know, there are certain personality types who, when they are caught doing something they should not, will turn on everyone and anyone. 

Like a drowning man, in an effort to save themselves, they will drag down anyone and everyone around them they can. In order to try to elevate themselves in any way, they will try to drag down as many people as possible in a desperate effort to save themselves.

Are there MIDN who use drugs? Of course, always have been, always will be. Does USNA as an institution - and the student body of Midshipmen in general - have a "drug culture?" Don't be silly.

I like to use nice round numbers; USNA student population is ~4,500. After over a year of trying to find out who stole the strawberries, they have kicked out 27 - or .6%.

Let's say the rat is right, that there are ~400 drug users, that is 9%. Give me a break.

As a NROTC guy from a large institution, I have some exposure to what it takes to have a small drug using population - and 9% at a place like Annapolis? No. 1%, sure, but until Cheech and Chong buy season football tickets and join in the tailgating festivities, I think you can put that number in the "drowning men do the strangest things" category.


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As my son (current mid) said last night - article is laughable and complete BS! Clearly drowning man looking to take others down...

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