Dear Margo: Morals, Ethics and Friendship

My friend has been accused of drug trafficking. How do I stand by him without compromising my morals?

Morals, Ethics and Friendship

Dear Margo: I have a close friend I’ve known for 10 years, and every Friday night we get together for Shabbat with other good friends and family. He has gone through some difficult times over the years, losing a very long-term relationship and his beautiful home. We have all been there for him, emotionally and financially. Our Friday night group is a wonderful support system we’ve all relied on over the years.

Recently, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) broke down his front door, ransacked his place and then hauled him off to jail. It turns out that he is accused of being part of a Methamphetamine trafficking ring they’ve been monitoring for the past two years. He was released on bail after a few days and is awaiting trial. He has not denied what he is accused of, but doesn’t seem to think it should interfere with our friendship. I am shocked that he may be involved in something so onerous and harmful. I hate the thought of abandoning him and our long friendship, but I fear that my association with him may put my reputation and even my job in jeopardy. What should I do? — On the Horns of a Dilemma

Dear On: This is, indeed, a hard call. Friends stand by friends, hell or high water. In this case, however, the high water is a destructive criminal activity. The fact that he has not denied it (to the friends) suggests the charge is true. I’m not sure how his difficulty could have any impact on your livelihood, but if it does, then you will have to get out your emotional scale and balance all the factors.

Then, too, some people have very strong feelings about people who deal drugs, and I am one of them. I think there are times when a good friend forfeits a relationship when the other person has gone beyond what he deems acceptable. From the sound of things, you did not have this information before the DEA entered the picture, so I guess I would tell you to put the friendship on ice until after the trial. That verdict will determine the outcome. — Margo, unhappily

Other People’s Actions Are Not Your Failure

Dear Margo: My son and daughter-in-law are newly separated and heading for a divorce. They are trying to get along for my grandson’s sake. My son told me last night that when they were expecting a second baby two years ago, they terminated the pregnancy for a couple of reasons. My daughter-in-law wanted the baby, but my son pushed for an abortion. I’m absolutely devastated; I can’t look my son in the face. I am Catholic, and abortion goes against everything I believe. And my son told me not to tell anyone! I feel I’ve failed as a mother. I am so heartbroken that I want to die. — Grieving Grandmother

Dear Grieve: I don’t understand why your son wanted you to have that information at this late date, but there you are. He is clearly a lapsed Catholic; whereas, he has to know you take your Catholicism seriously. The bottom line, however, is that it is the parents’ decision about whether or not to have a child.

My guess is they sensed, at the time, that the marriage was unraveling, and they didn’t feel they wanted to bring another baby into the world. You in no way failed as a mother. In fact, this has nothing to do with you. I hope you can arrive at an understanding of the situation in this light. I think any person of faith must allow others to live life as they see fit. I suggest you concentrate on your grandson during what has to be a confusing time for him. And I would look forward, not back. Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. — Margo, understandingly

***

Dear Margo is written by Margo Howard, Ann Landers’ daughter. All letters must be sent via e-mail to dearmargo@creators.com. Due to a high volume of e-mail, not all letters will be answered.

COPYRIGHT 2010 MARGO HOWARD
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44 comments so far.

  1. avatar Susan G says:

    The Grieving Grandmother’s son is free to live life and make choices without adhering to his mother’s theology. If she turns her back on her own child and grandchild in an effort to enforce her own world view, then she is equally guilty of her own crimes. I hope she doesn’t inflict this cruelty in the name of righteousness.

  2. avatar Karin Smith says:

    LW1- That is a difficult call. I think it is possible that you and your “Shabbat support group” (if I may call it that) can still offer support as friends in ways that don’t put you in a compromising or enabling position. You could continue to have him over for Shabbat, and let him know that you’re praying that his situation will be resolved “for the best” (which, in his case, “the best” may be that he faces the consequences of his wrongdoing). If he is convicted and sent to jail/prison, your group could send him cards letting him know you’re thinking about him, or maybe even visit him for a special Shabbat, if such visits are permitted. Turn down any further requests for financial or potentially compromising assistance. If he still pushes for money, then you know that he’s not really interested in friendship and can terminate the relationship knowing that you did what you could to salvage the friendship.

    LW2- I’m sorry for the grief you’re feeling right now. Margo’s correct, your son’s decision was his, and it is no reflection on you. However, that doesn’t change the fact that right now, you’re feeling sorrow for the loss of your unborn grandchild. I would suggest checking with your local parish about grief/loss support groups; some places even have support groups for families affected by abortion. They should be able to help you deal with your grief, and show you how you can still have a relationship with your son. I encourage you to seek that support, because it would be an even greater loss if your grief caused you to turn away from your son. My prayers are with you.

  3. avatar MooneeLass says:

    Hmm. A bit surprised here at both Margo’s and Susan G’s replies to LW#2. Both seem to imply that the grandmother is being, or about to be, judgemental, self-righteous and so on. But she describes herself as “grieving”, and from her letter that’s exactly what she seems to be – as well as shattered by realising that someone she thought she knew differs so fundamentally from her own values. (Pretty much LW#1′s situation, in fact). Nor does she mention any intention of turning her back on either her son or grandchild. More likely, the famous Catholic guilt will keep her right where she is. Grief and all.

    (I note though that “My daughter-in-law wanted the baby, but my son pushed for an abortion”. Whatever your beliefs or lack thereof, overreaching your unwilling partner like this is Not Cool).

  4. avatar Deborah Key says:

    It has occurred to me that perhaps LW#1′s friend hasn’t denied it because he believes his friends believe in his innocence.

    If he is involved in drug distrobution, why did he need financial help? Drug distrobution is financially lucrative. Regrettably.

    What happens to the friendship if the friend is acquitted on a technicality?

  5. avatar Cindy Marek says:

    L #1: I’m to understand this man is religious (regular Shabbat attendance)? I just don’t understand people who claim to have clear and sincere religious values (whether Jewish, Christian, whatever…) and yet be actively participating in behaviors which run entirely contrary to them. This is a tough call. Honestly, I don’t know how I’d handle it. Margo gives especially good advice, imo. I’d take her advice on this.

    L #2: You have **not** failed as a mother. I’m also opposed to abortion, and you must understand that was the choice he (and wife) made. It had nothing to do with you. If anything, look to your daughter-in-law for support? She wanted the baby too. I’m not a parent so can’t understand all the dynamics and emotions involved, though am certain I could understand anger and heartbreak towards your son. But he’s still your son.

    • avatar Cindy Marek says:

      Regarding L #1 again: And I misread the 1st time; they **didn’t** find anything at his home? You mention law enforcement broke down his door and ransacked the place. But they came up empty? No evidence found? I’d try to give him the benefit of the doubt (innocent until proven guilty) until it’s all said and done.

      • avatar Lila Kuh says:

        The letter said “ransacked his place and then hauled him off to jail.” No indication of what they did or did not find. If the DEA had wrongly ransacked my home and arrested me, I would be all over them, and loudly too. ACLU, media, lawsuits, Fourth Amendment, etc. And I think most innocent people would do the same. Silence is not proof of guilt, but I would base my continued friendship on my own instincts and not on what a court of law decides. If I had been friends with OJ before the Brentwood murders, I would NOT have still been his friend afterward, even though he was found not guilty.

      • avatar Legal Eagle says:

        I agree that silence is not proof of guilt and that whether the letter writer stays friends with this man should be determined by her own instincts and not what a court of law says. I disagree with Margo here that the friendship should be put on ice until after the trial and that the verdict will determine the outcome. Looking at this from the accused’s point of view – my friends distance themselves from me at a time when I need them the most (accused of a major crime and could go to jail for a very long time if found guilty), but when the court finds me not guilty, they suddenly think it’s OK to hang out with me again.

        Were I in the position of the accused, I would be hurt and insulted over such a scenario. As for this man not proclaiming his innocence, it’s quite possible his lawyer has advised him to say nothing at all to anyone about the situation including proclaiming innocence. Sometimes silence is nothing more than a smart legal strategy, it doesn’t have to mean anything in terms of whether a person really did it or not.

        Bottom line, I’d stand by my friend unless my instincts told me not to do so and I would not read anything into his remaining silent about his innocence or guilt.

  6. avatar Katharine Gray says:

    I think LW #1′s letter demonstrates that all too often we do NOT know people as well as we think we do. Perhaps this is a case of misguided or malevolent prosecution (it happens) but I would think the accused would be shouting his innocence to all concerned. Maybe not. Maybe his lawyers have advised him to keep his mouth shut to everyone about it. I would follow Margo’s advice and take a step back from this relationship.

    I’m with MooneLass on LW#2. Forcing or forcefully persuading a woman to have an abortion she does not want is not cool and may have been the catalyst that caused this marriage to fail…which may be why the son chose to share this with his mother at this point as an explanation for the marital breakdown. LW#2 does not share the reasons for her son’s position on terminating the pregnancy. I don’t think her priest would advise her to cut her son out of his life and there is no suggestion that she intends to do so, but it will take her time to get over her profound disappointment in her son’s insistence that his wife have an abortion and her grief at the loss of a grandchild. She should seek some guidance on this from her priest or another counselor.

    • avatar Nichole Lesniak says:

      I’m sorry, but I must have missed the part where LW2 said that her son forced anything? Pushing for something is far different than forcing.

      • avatar Katharine Gray says:

        you will note that I said * or forcefully persuading* which I don’t think is much different than *pushing* (although come to think of it…a *push* literally does involve a certain degree of force). Bottom line…IF you believe in a woman’s right to choose, her husband’s *pushing* her to abort is not cool. Who knows what type of emotional blackmail was involved in bringing his wife around to such a decision..perhaps even *if you choose to have this child, the marriage is over*.

        Not having children of my own, it is hard for me to put myself in the place of a parent whose child does something you consider a violation of your basic morals. Would I love Jeffrey Dahmer if he were my son? I don’t know. If my son were caught in a sex act with a 5 year old could I forgive him? I don’t know. At some point maybe the quiver goes so far, its better to just let it lie where it has landed. It doesn’t sound like this mother is to that point and I am not suggesting that she should be. The issue for me here is NOT that the wife had an abortion. There are many reasons couples to make that decision. I just believe its unworthy of a man to *push* for an abortion if the woman does not want it, absent the most extreme circumstances which do not appear to be present here.

      • avatar Phillip Koons says:

        I think that some of that could go both ways. Would you feel the same if the woman wanted an abortion and pushed for it while her boyfriend wanted the child? She may be carrying it but if you believe that life begins at conception, then the child is also the man’s.

        It’s a tough call but I don’t think the abortion decision should be left completely to the woman in question. I do think she has the ultimate decision but I think it should be heavily influenced by the man. He has a stake in it as well.

      • avatar R Scott says:

        Baby Snooks, I can agree with your sentiment to a point but I gotta tell ya, being involved in the distribution of meth would be a deal breaker. That stuff is killer and there’s nothing pretty about it. Just maybe loosing his friends and their support might be the slap upside the head he needs and, maybe taking that tough stand is what being a good friend is really about.

      • avatar R Scott says:

        This posted in the wrong place. damn.

      • avatar R Scott says:

        I agree that the abortion issue should not rest entirely with the woman, however, if she wants an abortion and he doesn’t he would have to agree to take the child at birth and take full responsibility from that day forward. The mother should be responsible for financial support too (afterall she was part of the conception process) but the man would have to be willing to bear the lion’s share.

      • avatar Ashton Warnick says:

        If the woman truly hadn’t wanted the abortion, she didn’t have to get one.

        I don’t think it’s fair to degrade the husband for “pushing” for the abortion if the wife finally came to an agreement with him.

        It’s our body…we choose to do with it as we please. If my significant other/spouse did not support my decision to keep and raise my child, I would consider that reassurance that the relationship in fact had failed and it was time to move on with my life…and my child. I may even resort to requesting he sign away his parental rights so he has no grounds to come after me later after having a few years to change his mind.

  7. avatar Drew Smith says:

    Kahlil Gibran once wrote that our children are like arrows from our bows, an analogy that has stuck with me.

    While we carry them in our quiver, we must remember that they are not part of us, but come from us as parents and that despite our aim, once they have left the bow, they fly on their own.

    You had your chance, you taught your son as best you could, and now he is on his own. Love him for who he is, or realize that you are only capable of loving him for who you want him to be.

    • avatar dianha says:

      Mr. Smith, I have to tell you that I registered specifically to be able to respond to this post. You blew me away with the Kahlil Gibran analogy — along with the rest of your post — and I have to tip my hat to you. The last line is perfection. Thank you for saying what I was thinking so well.

      • avatar Drew Smith says:

        Thanks goes to Kahlil Gibran, it is an honor to be able to share his wisdom. The proverb comes from THE PROPHET. But thank you for the kind words.

      • avatar Rahnesong says:

        No, Kahlil Gibran didn’t share his ‘wisdom’ or anything else. All he did was quote from the Bible and then claim it as his own. Pslam 127:5

  8. avatar Drew Smith says:

    Stand by your friend?

    I think you have the right in a close friendship to ask if he is guilty. If your friend does not deny the charge, then ask yourself, “would I be a choose to be a friend with someone who is a meth drug trafficker?”

    I know my answer, anyone who would traffic in meth, who is able to ignore the evil he is promoting in order to profit financially; someone who can willingly participate in the destruction of the lives of others is no one I would count as my friend.

    As to the impact on you, of course you should be concerned, do you want to be labeled as the friend of a meth trafficker, because that is what you are and the next time the arrest could be made at your home on Shabbat.

  9. avatar Lila Kuh says:

    For Dilemma, I am with Margo on this one; personally, I would end the friendship because his apparent meth-trafficking activities are too far out of sync with your own values (not to mention the negative influence and harm he could bring to your other friends, your family, your kids).

    Meth is incredibly destructive; financial impact aside, it ruins your health and eventually kills you. Anyone who produces or deals in it cares more about their own selfish ends than the horrific harm they are causing others. Not much of a moral value there. If he really has been dealing, the only way for him to earn his friends back is to take whatever punishment the system metes out, to sincerely and truly feel and express remorse for an ignorant phase in his life, and to never get near any kind of drugs again.

  10. avatar Lila Kuh says:

    “Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future.”

    Margo, I love that! Great quote.

    • avatar Afton says:

      I agree. I feel like cross stitching it onto a pillow. What a beautiful thought. It made my day Margo. Thanks.

  11. avatar Paul Smith says:

    It is highly unlikely to have a close, loving friendship for ten years and not suspect, if what this guy says is true, something askew. Even should it be proven true, ten years should count for something. Afterall, the popular mantra is: No one’s perfect. The son of the second letter is odious, all the more so as he prevailed over his ex-wife’s wishes to have the baby.

  12. avatar barbie ribbes says:

    Forgiveness does not change the past, but it does enlarge the future. — Margo

    Well put! May I quote you on that ? Sounds like my next Facebook status :D

  13. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    A friend does indeed stand beside you come hell or high water as Margo points out and while there is concern about how a friend’s actions reflect on you in turn how you deal with it reflects on them. People do stupid things. Stupid is not always evil. If he’s a good person otherwise, I would accept it as stupidity. And stand beside him. And hope the court realizes he is surrounded by friends who are good people. And that he did a stupid thing rather than an evil thing. Drugs ensnare so many. And it is, as someone pointed out, lucrative. And the money may have blinded him to the reality of what he was doing. I wouldn’t excuse him. But I also wouldn’t desert him. It makes him look even more guilty. The courts don’t look kindly on drug dealers. And yet have begun to look differently at drug users. Hopefully this man can atone for the drug dealing by being forced as part of a sentence to share his story with teenagers so they can see the other side of drug use and how it can and does destroy everyone’s lives. And his is pretty much destroyed just by the charges.

  14. avatar mimi1 says:

    LW1 – if your friend is using, and he probably is, his life expectancy as a user is less than 10 years. “Locked up” may save his life. The people to whom he has been involved in selling or distributing has this life expectancy as well. Meth is evil, and I would say heroin is the only comparable ruin-your-life sort of drug. This opinion is based on 15+ years in the criminal justice system. I would take a big step back from this friend right now. Not walk away, just step back, and assess things as they go along. I had a friend who was involved in something that went strongly against my values, though it was not illegal. Her actions had the potential to bring sadness to several people. I had to tell her that I could not support her in this endeavor, nor could I provide comfort to her with regard to her so long as she chose this. But, I told here that I was her friend and loved her. Not sure I could do that for someone involved in distributing meth. Meth kills.

  15. avatar Caramia says:

    Letter writer 1, I think Margo was correct on this one. and what’s with the Tweet, F Share and email over there on the left covering up things?

  16. avatar ann odyne says:

    LW#1 I don’t get any sense from the letter of the friend’s attitude toward his charge – meth trafficking. I don’t get any sense of regret from the letter, as though this charge is another difficult time that has happened to him. Instead of a evil perpetrated on the community and something that he has brought on himself. If you continue to support him when he has not recognized this, you are enabling him.

    And for some, to remain associates with a drug trafficker may be asking them to risk their jobs or professional licenses.

  17. avatar Bella Mia says:

    #1 If he’s guily: The behavioral basis for illicit drug use (and distribution) is lying. Druggies lie to everyone they know, either actively, or passively by withholding information – called lack of candor. So this man, who is NOT a friend, has been looking you in the face and unethically withholding information that he KNOWS you would want to know – in fact, he may have actually put you and your other friends either in physical danger or legal jeopardy if the DEA thought that you all might be complicit in his drug activities. This is no friend if he is actually guilty of this behavior.

    Personally, I would cut off phone, text and in person contact BUT I would write to him, so there is a record. You could do alot of good in those letters: passing along words of wisdom, encouraging him, relating good and bad stories of drug arrest outcomes. People reading letters may feel they can drop their defenses, and allow the words to sink deeply into their souls. Your friend has an ethics problems, a character problem, possibly a personality disorder, legal problems, likely even bigger money problems, and now social problems with people who trusted him as a friend. He was betraying your trust the entire time. He needs to know and understand the damage he has done – if all this is true.

    I would ABSOLUTELY send him the following book by RAbbi Twerski who has run very successful addiction clinics for decades:
    “Addictive Thinking: Understanding Self-deception.”
    http://www.abrahamtwerski.com/index.php/books

    The main obstacle your friend will have to overcome is Learning How to Stop Lying – compulsively, pathologically, manipulatively. People who lie routinely are sometimes socialized sociopaths and highly attuned to social cues, and can mimic appropriate social behaviors, can be very charming, but be leading double lives – like your friend.

    Now is the time to take a painful personal assessment: Your innate senses have failed you for years about this man – if this is all true. You could sit in his presence and feel good. He could be a very dangerous predator for all you know, but there you sat, all cozy and charmed by this “good friend.” He’s revealed himself to be a “zombie friend.” Will he redeem himself? Who knows, but it is a very long road, and I am assuming he’s not a teenager, so these behaviors and tendencies have probably been consistent for decades, therefore nearly impossible to change. Pray he gets jail time. Dr. Drew says that incarceration happens to be very useful in rehabilitating addicts or drug liars.
    I’m so sorry for your betrayal – (sounds like a new Hallmark card.)

    • avatar Bella Mia says:

      #2 I’m a grandmother, and I would be mortified as well. I would be angry mortified by the realization that my son was a selfish SOB for putting his own preferences AHEAD of his wife’s preferences, on such an irreversible matter. If that happened to be a consistent pattern with him, (selfishness) then the abortion may be a BIG clue as to the dissolution of the relationship.

      Now if he told his mother about the abortion and then said: but don’t tell anyone – She’d have the right to say: “Sorry, I didn’t ask to be burdened with this information, and while I will be discreet with whom I will share it, I don’t think I have an obligation not to talk about it – especially since it is so traumatic for me, as you must have known it would be.”

      My guess is that her son told his mother because he knows it IS a big reason for the divorce, and word was already spreading and he didn’t want his mother to find out from the wife or others who know. As the mother-in-law my first call would be to the my daughter-in-law and tell her how badly I felt that she was coerced, or emotionally battered into such a horrible position and irrevocable course, and offer her my full emotional/financial/logistical support.

      I would ask the wife if the abortion has contributed to the decision to divorce, and would recommend counseling for the wife, for depression or to mitigate the trauma of regret over a coerced abortion; and counseling for BOTH son and his wife for DIVORCE counseling, which can be very effective.

      From the Huffington Post:

      “Last year Idaho passed a law making it a crime to coerce a woman into having an abortion. This year, legislators in twelve states, including Missouri, have passed or are considering bills that they claim would enhance informed consent measures for pregnant women seeking abortions and ensure that women are not coerced into having unwanted abortions.” April 2009

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lynn-m-paltrow/concerned-about-coerced-a_b_190237.html

      My husband dealt with a very similar issue in his role as a human resource manager involving a woman engineer and a very high level member of this famous computer company. They had been living together for years, and THEY had gotten pregnant, and he wanted her to have an abortion, in fact he demanded it and told her if she didn’t have it he would break up with her. She was devastated – and after consulting with many people, reluctantly decided to terminate the pregnancy.

      And of course you can guess the storybook ending….right? As soon as she had the abortion, waiting until the last possible moment, within the week ———he broke up with her. My husband had to deal with the impact this saga had on the work community within the company – for months, both before and after the abortion.

      The woman sought counseling for depression, and not too much later quit her high-paying, prestigious job at this “dream company.” I would imagine that it would be very difficult to recover from that set of circumstances.

      • avatar Bella Mia says:

        I just remembered that as a fetus I, BellaMia was almost the victim of a coerced abortion. My father’s mother was ADAMANT that my mother abort me, at a time it was illegal but widely available.

        My father’s father, a retired Chicago police detective, however said, “Nah, we’re not doing any of that.” He then turned to my mother, hugged her and said, “Welcome to the family.”

        Can you imagine how I feel about my grandfather, who taught me how to fish, how to steer a motor boat on a Wisconsin lake, built me a doll house (With Electricity) that to this day I still have? Words cannot describe, the love and gratitude I feel for him advocating for me when I could not speak for myself.

        I found these stats for COERCED abortion:

        “The Un-Choice

        In a national study of women, 64% of those who aborted felt pressured to do so by others. This pressure can become violent.2 65% suffered symptoms of trauma.1 In the year following an abortion, suicide rates are 6-7 times higher.

        Unwanted Non-Choice … Their Choice, Not Hers.

        Reasons women give for having abortions:

        • Forced by mother
        • Father opposed
        • Husband or boyfriend persuaded me
        • No other option given
        • Would have been kicked out
        • Loss of family’s support
        • Lack of support from society
        • Clinic persuaded me

        http://www.stopforcedabortions.org/forced.htm

      • avatar iwasthinkg says:

        And the reasons I have heard from women who live in the homeless shelter and other non-profits where I worked and who were very poor excuses for mothers were: “I couldn’t afford an abortion”, “I didn’t want them to begin with”, ” I thought if I had a baby, he would would stay”, “I didn’t think I had any choice”, “my parents forced me to keep it”, “I’m catholic”, “I don’t believe in abortion”, “He told me he loved me”.

      • avatar Ashton Warnick says:

        I don’t care about the statistics.

        You would have to knock me senseless and tie me to a table in order to force such an act on me. No one is capable of changing my mind on that…

        If my boyfriend, whom I love and respect more than anyone in this world, were to request that I abort my child in order for us to stay together, I would say, “I’m sorry things couldn’t work out for us.”

        As a mother, your primary concern should be your child, not your reputation or lack of support.

        It takes two to tango. Take some responsibility.

      • avatar stateoflove_N_Trust says:

        I agree with the poster below. People need to take some responsibility for their actions. People seem to suggest that “pushing” for an abortion is emotional blackmail or wrongful conduct. Yet, if the shoe was on the other foot, there would be no qualms. If d-i-l did not want an abortion, then she should not have gotten one. She chose to do so.

        The argument that this woman or women in general (who are obviously capable of making decisions as any man) is pushed, emotionally blackmailed or coerced into making this decision is paternalism at its core. Anti-coercion laws should apply to threats of violence or actual violence only.

  18. avatar Baby Snooks says:

    Margo’s “advice columns” always seem to be playing to a “tough room” as they say and I still say that friends stick with you and beside you. Not enabling you. Not excusing you. Simply sticking with you and beside you. Even when you are “submerged” in the high water.

    The son of a very famous heart surgeon was busted for a meth lab the police discovered while investigating another matter. I can’t say who because strings were pulled along with stories and charges were apparently dropped as well as expunged. Which I don’t agree with because I do not believe there should be two justice systems to go along with the two Americas, the rich and the poor, but because in the end it merely enabled the addiction. Which had been an ongoing addiction. Not only do addicts lie to themselves, as Bella Mia points out, but friends and family lie for them. Not sure that is the case here. I do know I have had friends who have done stupid things that I would never have thought they would be stupid enough to do. But they did them just the same. I never excused them. But I never deserted them either.

    This man was a good person who did stupid things. His father was a good person who also did stupid things. Mainly believing that by ignoring the problem through the years by having it swept under the carpet the problem would simply go away.

    I don’t believe good people do bad things. I believe good people do stupid things. By the same token I believe there are bad people who do good things simply to make it appear they are good people. I have had a couple of those in my life but somehow managed to avoid becoming friends with them. Good people choose good friends. And, again, accept that good people do stupid things. And stick by their friends. And beside them.

    I have had the “fair weather friends” who deserted me in the “foul weather” including my best friend of 40 years. It hurt to let them go. But their reflection on me by deserting me just simply was not a reflection I wanted.

    It’s a tough call no doubt. But in the end friendship, if it’s real friendship, makes the call.

  19. avatar bandaid_46@yahoo.com says:

    LW1: Just as there are dealbreakers in a marriage, there are dealbreakers in a friendship. This is one of them, to my thinking. Drug trafficking is really, really a bad thing. If his house was ransacked, and he was hauled off to jail, chances are that there was evidence to convict him, and the only way he will “get off” is through a technicality, or a tainted jury.

  20. avatar bandaid_46@yahoo.com says:

    LW2: I once had a husband who pressured me into doing things I did not want to do. Fortunately, it never involved having an abortion, but I understand how that could happen. Mom is not disowning her son for what he did. She just wants help in how to deal with it. She did not fail him. He failed her. He failed his wife, and he failed his unborn child. So I hope that she can forgive herself. He will have to deal with his failures. I feel so strongly against abortion that while I probably would not disown a child who caused one to happen, I doubt that I could ever look at them in the same way again.

  21. avatar Jane M says:

    I have walked in Dilemma’s shoes. A man who had been at one point a close friend of ours (my husband’s and mine) went badly off the rails and  was arrested on serious drug charges. He listed my husband as his PASTOR of all things, and had the authorities contact my husband to go retrieve the personal items left in the hotel room where the arrest had occurred. I went with him, saw the room and thus have some idea of what went on. I won’t go into details as this is a public board and children may be present, but I will say that I learned that our former friend was twisted off in some bad crazy stuff. And he had already identified my husband to the authorities, which I felt exposed us to suspicion as “known associates.”
    I took immediate action by sending him a postcard in jail, which I knew would be easily read by anyone who came in contact with it. I wrote that as much as I had valued his friendship, as long as he was walking a path of darkness, he was not welcome in our lives. I also said that if he decided to turn it around and come back to to a path in the light, I would welcome him with open arms, but not before, and that he need not contact us for any further help in his current troubles.
    He was not pleased. When he eventually got out on bail, he showed up at our house to retrieve his stuff, angry with me for what I had said on the postcard. Too bad. I refused to let him in my house. On my porch, with my husband present, I stood my ground and made it clear that long as he was living in BadCrazyLand, he could lose our numbers.
    Honestly, my husband was more ambivalent. He is a very loyal friend, and while he didn’t want any part of the situation, he did feel badly about turning his back on our friend. But when I drew the line in the sand, he lined up beside me. I knew that our friend was already gone, and this drug-addled crazy man had taken his place. That’s why I drew a hard line and held it, to protect my husband from what our friend had become, and to make it clear to anyone observing the situation where we stand.
    I heard that our former friend died of a brain tumor some years back. I hope for a better outcome for Dilemma’s friend.

  22. avatar Rachel M says:

    The DEA does not execute a search warrent without probale cause.

    He may not be admitting to you the extent of the bust as he might be feeling ashamed of his actions. As to the friendship it might not be as close as you think it is.