Trouble strikes oil boomtown in N. Dakota
The murder of a schoolteacher by oil field job-seekers, an increased crime rate and roughnecks on drugs are among the tragedies an oil boom in the Bakken formation has brought to Williston, N.D.
In the July issue of Men’s Journal, Stephen Rodrick describes the dire situation in “Greetings from Boomtown, U.S.A.,” a portrayal of what ensues “when you double a county’s population with 10,000 drunk 27-year-old men thousands of miles away from their women and common sense.”
Arrests in the town have shot up from 832 in 2008 to 1,886 in 2011. Most notable, schoolteacher and mother of five Sherry Arnold, who lived in nearby Sidney, Mont., vanished after she went jogging one morning. Two Colorado men reportedly looking for work in the oil field, Lester Van Waters Jr. and Michael Keith Spell, were arrested in Arnold’s disappearance.
Then there’s the methamphetamine problem. One rig boss reported seeing two workers snorting something off a kitchen table right in his camp. Rodrick himself even heard “the unmistakable sound of something being snorted off an
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