Let’s talk about Baltimore. Most people outside of the D.C. area know Charm City from David Simon’s The Wire. The Wire is a masterfully conceptualized piece of work that truly transcended television (full disclosure: I took an entire course on it in undergrad). Simon, in an interview, once said that:
The Wire is a Greek tragedy in which the postmodern institutions are the Olympian forces. It’s the police department, or the drug economy, or the political structures, or the school administration, or the macroeconomic forces that are throwing the lightning bolts and hitting people in the ass for no decent reason. In much of television, and in a good deal of our stage drama, individuals are often portrayed as rising above institutions to achieve catharsis. In this drama, the institutions always prove larger, and those characters with hubris enough to challenge the postmodern construct of American empire are invariably mocked, marginalized, or crushed. Greek tragedy for the new millennium, so to speak.
These words speak volumes about the problems facing our country today. It’s impossible for an individual to fight for her rights when she first needs to go up against macro societal forces that no one person can handle. The Wire’s Baltimore is the Baltimore of today. And it’s the New York of today. And it’s the D.C. of today. And it’s Los Angeles, Boston, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and so on. And in Baltimore we have the latest example of this paradigm: Freddie Gray.
The individuals challenging Freddie Gray’s death are up against the Olympic forces of the police department. However, the news today has altered the typical postmodern Greek tragedy storyline:
Here is a person who has taken on the Herculean role of going up against those in the department who violate their sworn oath. It’s a role that prosecutors are uniquely created for, and it’s one that is greatly needed today. We need Marilyn Mosby ’05 and more like her to garner the confidence of the public. We are at a precarious and truly scary time in society — a time where a lack of public trust in police and prosecutors can quickly boil over into mob rule. Baltimore is burning on the outside, and we are all burning on the inside. We need to look to our public servants and demand that they give us the justice and transparency we so deeply need. The Gods will not save us.
I’m a 3L at BC Law and I just finished an externship in downtown Boston this semester through the school’s Semester in Practice: Public Interest program. I’ll be blogging about externship opportunities and life in the BC Law community. Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments here or at email@example.com.