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The Wire - Carcetti's Typical Politician (Tough on Crime) Speech

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Published on Jan 25, 2011

The substance of this speech is lost on a lot of viewers. There's a very nuanced message that the creators of "The Wire" wanted to get across, and unfortunately, a lot of people missed it.

Ed Burns (co-creator of "The Wire") gave his thoughts of the speech, in an interview on NPR:

Ed Burns: I remember at the end of the third season, when he was still a councilman, we had Carcetti give an impassioned speech, and the camera gently panned in on him as he rhapsodized about saving neighborhoods and demanding better for the city. And it really was a beautiful speech. And you know, the writers worked on it for a long while. And yet, everything about the speech was just a recall and a retread of the drug war.

And he was arguing for more warfare. And whereas, the whole of the third season had shown this police commander trying to struggle with it on pragmatic and practical terms, in terms of Bunny Colvin. And I was amazed to find that a lot of viewers, you know, longtime viewers, had watched that episode and they followed Carcetti right off the cliff. They were, despite what they had been shown for 12 episodes in terms of the box that the drug war is, they thought he was the solution, because he sounded like the solution.

And that taught me a lot, you know, I kind of went all "Candide" on myself. I forgot what I was writing because I was shocked that so many people went with Carcetti.

Source: http://www.npr.org/templates/transcri...

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Carcetti saw the effects of Bunny Colvin's Hamsterdam (where Colvin legalized drugs in certain parts of West Baltimore). The areas with legalized drugs had high crime and human suffering, as people were overdosing and even getting robbed in the area. One person was killed, though that was unrelated to the legalization of drugs. But the quality of life in the rest of the district improved dramatically with no drug dealers on the streets. It also allowed the police to free up resources and focus on serious crimes in the district, rather than spending valuable resources pursuing small time drug offenses. Felonies were reduced by 14% in the district. It also made it easier for health workers to get addicts into treatment, do HIV testing, and offer condoms to an at-risk community.

Even after seeing the pros and cons, the benefits and consequences of legalized drugs in parts of West Baltimore, Carcetti ignores it, and to score political points, turns into a typical politician with a "get tough on crime" speech.

This clip is from "The Wire" - Season 3 Episode 12.

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