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Philip Seymour Hoffman – An Arresting Development

That didn’t take long.  Less than a week after Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead with a needle in his left forearm, police have arrested a man suspected of dealing heroin to Hoffman… at some point in the past year, if not actually selling him the batch that did him in (source: http://nypost.com/2014/02/05/my-stepdad-sold-heroin-to-hoffman/).  Which sounds an awful lot like the authorities are rushing to find someone to publicly blame for the actor’s death, even if that someone cannot be directly implicated.  What this arrest demonstrates is how much more willing and able we are as a society to blame and punish, than we are to prevent and educate.  After all, it satisfies our deep-seated need for vengeance, and requires far less effort and thought.  Not to mention good old-fashioned compassion.

This is not to suggest that the out-of-work musician police took into custody today does not deserve to face justice for the crimes he may have committed.  No one’s saying that drug dealers should be given a free pass, especially those pedaling a drug that can do so much grave damage to those who consume it (even if it does not lead them to the grave).  But the truth is, no amount of high-profile arrests will bring back Hoffman, or the countless others who have succumbed to the insidious disease of addiction.  The hope here is that Hoffman’s death, as well as the tales that are emerging about his recent battles with his own demons, will wind up bringing more people into recovery than prison.

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