Malone’s jaw-dropping crime statistics: We need a detective & third judge


— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

Malone has a drug problem.  So does the rest of America, although for our purposes this is irrelevant, since  you and I don’t live in the rest of America; we look at the rest of America on TV.  What I’m about to describe isn’t a TV program; it’s your home and mine.  We can’t make our drug problem go away by turning off the TV; we’re going to have to do something about it.  Moreover, it’s our problem, not the state’s or federal government’s.  It’s up to us to fix it with a multi-tiered plan.

Hand-in-hand with our drug problem is an off-the-charts crime problem.  Several weeks ago, a blog calling itself printed a sensationalist article, “Twenty Most Dangerous Places in Upstate NY, According to Latest FBI Crime Data.”  The article listed the Village of Malone as #20, behind Poughkeepsie (#19), Utica (#16), Albany (#13), Watertown (#9), and Niagara Falls (#1).  ( should be taken with a grain of salt.  To give you a sense of the fare it serves up, this is a sampler from today’s teasers, 8-1-17:  “Couple accused of public sex act at Enchanted Water Safari,”  “Northeast naturist festival:  Six days of naked fun at nude retreat,” and “How the alligator was captured by DEC on upstate river.”  Sex, nudity, and ‘gators on the loose — sounds like a tabloid.)

Here’s how crunched the numbers that landed “Malone:  Star of the North since 1802” among the 20 most dangerous places on earth in upstate NY: gave the Village of Malone a so-called Crime Score of 1075.  “To create the score,” says author Ben Axelson, “we standardized the number of crimes per 100,000 people” — his first mistake.  There is no credible “standardization” of crimes per arbitrary population figure.  There are far too many unknown and unknowable variables to make this number meaningful.  (Perfect example of garbage in, garbage out.)  Axelson compounds his goofy statistics with, “Then, we [arbitrarily] weighted violent crimes at 80 percent and property crimes at 20 percent [of what?], as violent crime is often of greater concern

Read more

“How do we thank 1200 police?”


— Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

Richard Matt.  Dead.  Three slugs to the head.  High velocity, trans-cranial lead therapy.  (A pity it never occurred to the man to perform this procedure on himself.  Like, maybe at age 15, if newspaper accounts of his youth are accurate.  The man is reported to have had a high IQ.  Though evidently not smart enough to look in the mirror and whisper, “I am a monster!”)

David Sweat.  Captured.  Two to the torso.  As worthless as his pal, Matt.

Two individuals who, in the course of their lives, transformed themselves into nothing more than a mass of protoplasm shaped like human beings.  It required 3 slugs to Matt and 2 to Sweat to put an end to their illusions — in Matt’s case, for eternity.

Gov. Cuomo says the nightmare is over.  Yet, at a deep level, it isn’t.

We have been violated.  The spirit of the place has been twisted into something sinister.

Nearly every adult male I know in the North Country is an avid hunter.  It’s not the “shooting” of deer that matters as much as being in the presence of wildness.  I know men who rise well before dawn in hunting season, drive their pick-up out of town, and hike deep into the woods to a deer stand.  They are in paradise.  They speak of it rapturously.  The place is sacred to them.  The deer are sacred.

I love these places.  My wife and I jog the woodland trails.  We ski them in winter.  We canoe the lakes and ponds and marshes.  It is spiritual and healing.

Likewise the towns hereabout are healing places where the “social contract” of being respectful, courteous, and civil is performed daily — and enforced by the same officers who hunted these men.

Then, something happened.  Two madmen unleashed their mayhem into our midst.  They became invisible.  They became pervasive.  By some weird alchemy, they were everywhere.  Like deadly smoke, they crept silently into our homes and personal space.  Even our sleep.

A friend described how he took down his shotgun, loaded both barrels, snapped them shut and ran

Read more

Village Police: Yes or no?

—Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

This is a story about a Malone neighborhood which is saying “No!” to violent behavior and violent language in our neighborhood.

It’s a story about a neighborhood group which is pushing back against the “trashing” of our community by young men and women and teenagers (and even, believe it or not, children) who think they can freely vent their aggressions and anger on our streets.

It is a story about an experiment in “what it means to be a neighborhood” by a loosely organized group of property owners who call themselves the Clay-Milwaukee Neighborhood Group.  I am an enthusiastic member of this group.

First, a clarification.  We are not against the people who display this behavior in our neighborhood.  (Yes, it is our neighborhood, and we will go to great lengths to preserve its peace and safety and tranquility and beauty.)  We are against their behavior.  In fact, we are happy to welcome these people into our neighborhood, either as residents or just strolling through, so long as they respect this neighborhood ethic.  (“Ethics” is a good word.  It’s time to dust it off and reinstate it in our vocabulary and our daily lives—as a community.  Neighborhoods are “corporate bodies” and, like all corporate entities, they have an ethic—whether good or bad.  Our neighborhood has a good one—and we intend to protect it.)

U.S. Marshall Wyatt Earp

Our neighborhood ethic would be doomed without the services of the valiant men & women wearing a badge.  Like U.S. Marshall Wyatt Earp, above.  Peace officers like Wyatt Earp make for great historical legend, but don’t ever forget that he was a real man and a real marshall (and sheriff) and he performed a real job—and that real job was really really essential.

Sames goes for our Village police and our code officer.  Take away the Village police and Malone becomes a 19th-century lawless, violent frontier town—on the frontier called the North Country.  Here’s a foretaste of where Malone is headed, from today’s Telegram, “Police Officer in Malone Is Injured in Altercation.”

In truth, the reason I’m telling this story at all

Read more

Death by Drugs (Part 2)

—Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

Write down that phone number.  I’ll explain why, shortly.

In Part 1 of this series, we examined Malone’s drug epidemic, with emphasis on the abuse of “psycho-therapeutics.”  That being the name for prescription medicines for pain or attention problems or sleep problems or panic attacks or anxiety.

Many of the psycho-therapeutic pills are opiods (i.e., contain opium in one form or another, such as morphine).  An overdose can kill you before you can say, “Holy cow, batman!”

As it happens, pharmaceutical companies designed a number of these the pills to be “long acting,” meaning that as long as they remain in their pill form, they are slowly released in the stomach over many hours.

The only problem is, drug users circumvent the built-in “prolonged release” feature by pulverizing the pills into a powder which they “snort” or inject, dissolved in a solution of their own concocting.

Thus, what was intended to be a long-acting pill turns into a massive euphoric “high” of morphine.  Except for the inconvenient fact that it can simultaneously shut down the brain’s respiratory drive, and in your ecstasy—you—simply—stop—breathing.

Consider this, from a recent NY Times article.  (Click here if the hotlink doesn’t work.)

America’s drug problem is shifting from illicit substances like cocaine to abuse of prescription painkillers, a change that is forcing policy makers to re-examine the long and expensive strategy of trying to stop illegal drugs from entering the United States.

This rethinking extends beyond the United States, where policy makers are debating how to better reduce demand for painkillers.

“The policies the United States has had for the last 41 years have become irrelevant,” said Morris Panner, a former counter-narcotics prosecutor in New York and at the American Embassy in Colombia, who is now an adviser at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. “The United States was worried about shipments of cocaine and heroin for years, but whether those policies worked or not doesn’t matter because they are now worried about Americans using prescription drugs.”

Now the drugs most likely to land Americans in emergency rooms cannot be interdicted [stopped at the border, or

Read more

Death by Drugs (Part 1)

Malone’s drug epidemic and what to do about it

—Calvin Luther Martin, PhD

Let’s call him Sean.  I mean the young man in the image, above.  Not so long ago he looked like the picture on the left.  Now all that’s left is the ponytail.  His parents received it in the mail soon after he disappeared.  No one has seen him since he vanished.

Just the ponytail.

It turns out Sean’s just one of several drug dealers who’ve disappeared in Franklin County in the last several years.  (Yes, you heard me right.  I didn’t say “NY City” or “Boston” or even “Albany” or “Syracuse.”  I said Franklin County.)

I’m not making this up.

At the end of the day the unreported violence associated with the drug trade in the county is staggering:  arsons, armed robberies, kidnappings and several missing people (one of whom his parents received his “ponytail” and have never seen him again).

The “spin-off” violence associated with all drug trade is most concerning and time consuming.  Be it burglaries to feed addictions or homicides—the effects on day-to-day life are staggering.

—Senior Law Enforcement Official, Franklin County

Here’s some of the spin-off violence.  It’s a mundane story, yet it tells a lot.  I know a man who bought a new pair of work-boots at Walmart.  (This man doesn’t earn a great deal of money; it was a big deal buying the new boots—a big chunk out of his paycheck.)  He took them home, put them carefully in his closet in anticipation of wearing them in a couple of days—and within a day or two they vanished.

They were stolen by his teenage nephew, to support the boy’s drug addiction.  Most likely to Oxycontin.

I should mention that this man’s elderly father has had most of his power tools stolen from his workbench by the same teenager—his grandson.

Malone is awash in Rx pills—pills worth stealing your uncle’s boots over, or granddad’s power tools.  Or for that matter just about anything not nailed down.

What are the pills?  “Pain medicine” pills.  Pills for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  Pills for

Read more

Exposed in Malone

“Smile!  You’re on Mandated Camera!”

—Op-Ed by Michael Fournier

In 1949 George Orwell published “Nineteen Eighty-Four,” a fictional portrayal of a totalitarian regime which oversees a collectivist society in a land called Airstrip One—a place of perpetual war, government surveillance, government mind control, and the end of civil liberty.

The book was a bombshell.  The adjective, “Orwellian,” quickly became synonymous with totalitarian government.  Big Brother had arrived.

Big Brother has now reached Malone.  Did you know there are surveillance cameras strategically positioned around town?  Did you know you’re being watched by the government every time you show up on Main Street?  Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

Read more

Dear Zukie

Detail from Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam,” Sistine Chapel, The Vacitan

Zufer Cecunjanin
Franklin County Jail
Malone, NY

Dear Zukie,

The parking lot is empty, save for the Mercedes gathering dust.  The building is dark, as if abandoned.  Nothing stirs.  Sorrow, like fog, silently engulfs the place.

Read more