The unintended irony in one Saginaw resident’s statement was so thick, you could cut it with a knife: “People care, they really do. Saginaw is still a small town.” Big-hearted li’l Saginaw cares so much, they’ve prevented desperate potential clients from seeking treatment for a legitimate medical condition –– substance abuse –– in their town. Last night the Saginaw city council, at the behest of passionate neighborhood protestors, denied permission for a professional rehab facility run by an established health care company to set up shop in a strip mall. The problem? There’s a day care center nearby.
The fears of Saginaw parents are understandable, which is not automatically the same thing as legitimate. I can find no research that establishes a connection between addiction and pedophilia/violence against children. They overlap in some cases, but guess what? In some cases there’s also an overlap between day care centers and pedophilia/violence against kids. Predators of children want to go where the targets are plentiful, which means virtually any child care facility is a constant potential magnet. And abusers often are –– hold on to your hats! –– child care professionals, parents, family members, and family friends. Substance addiction is almost beside the point here.
So yes, concerned citizens of Saginaw successfully chased away a treatment center for sick people from their midst. And I (sort of) get why they did it. But to be clear, they didn’t chase away the threat of child sexual abuse by keeping those skanky addicts away from that strip mall. They just provided another example of why I tend to distrust “community standards.”