We're Honoring Heroin Dealers Now?

Discarded syringes lay near near train tracks in Philadelphia, Monday, July 31, 2017. Workers are preparing to clean up the open-air heroin market that has thrived for decades along a set of train tracks a few miles outside the heart of Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

St. Louis has been experiencing some turmoil of late, following the verdict in the Jason Stockley murder trial and the protests which have ensued.  Being a St. Louisan, I’ve followed this story closely and written about it extensively. I haven’t been surprised by much…until this.


The City of St. Louis Board of Alderman has passed a resolution honoring Anthony Lamar Smith.

Mayor Lyda Krewson and Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed hugged Annie Smith after the board unanimously passed the resolution, which outlines Smith’s interests in sports, the arts and his dream of becoming a professional clothing designer.

 “He loved children and was looking forward to the positive life changes he was making in order to begin working with underserved children in his community,” it reads. “His love of the arts convinced him to change his life course so he could accomplish his goals.”

I am, quite honestly, flabbergasted. While the circumstances surrounding his death have been hotly contested, one thing that has not been contested is that Mr. Smith was dealing heroin. In a city which has been besieged by the opioid epidemic.  This does not, in my view, mean that he deserved to die. I consider his death tragic – in several respects, not the least of which is that his death robbed his daughter of her father and removed the opportunity for him to turn his life around and find the redemption he purportedly desired.


But dealing heroin is not honorable.

We’ve had debates raging in this country for months now about which historical figures deserve to be honored. Against that backdrop, this decision by the Board of Aldermen is beyond mindboggling. What message is this sending to the community? Disregard history; disrespect the justice system; honor the heroin dealer?



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