I'd like to check out movies about the retail end of drug dealing. I've seen Traffic
(well, the US one). I'm waiting for Clockers
. I've even seen Spun
What I want is something that will portray, fairly realistically, drug dealing in a small city like my own. Here drugs are almost universally sold, at the most obvious level, by teams of small numbers of white women who hook up with large numbers of black guys. (I'm not just cherry-picking: one of them used to be a tenant of ours. She's now in the state pen
.) How does this dynamic develop? How does it work? How much of it is love or getting free drugs or getting your apartment paid for?
I'm also just generally interested in resources which would give me a bit more about how the gangs work. Here the appearance is that there are two routes into town, one from Chicago via Rockford, and the other from Milwaukee. Regardless, there are a lot of Illinois license plates in our neighborhood.
At the next level down there are the teen gangs. There were never any real gangs here while I was growing up but it's pretty clear they're all over now. I'd like to have an idea how often, when I see a bunch of teenagers walking down the middle of the street wearing bright white t-shirts, they're following fashion or part of a gang. How much do racial lines matter? Mostly the kids here are white, with some Asians and Hispanics. Mostly these proto-gangs are black, but they have dealings with non-blacks too, and obviously plenty of the customers are white. (The gal up above whose black boyfriend was the dealer had a couple of mulleted white enforcers/mules who drove a Trans-Am and dressed like they were in an alternate universe Mukwonago Vice show.)
A second dynamic is, from scuttlebutt and interpretatin, a problem of big city minority parents sending their teenagers out of town for the summer. To get them away from gangs, or unsavory friends, or off their hands, who knows? They arrive here and suddenly the guy from Chicago is the Big Man. Bigger, tougher, scarier -- or just feels he has to be to live up to the rep, or establish one.
So. What we have right now is basically a drug house across the street. Quiet the first month, two white women, five kinda noisy kids, you'd think nothing was amiss. Then suddenly a passel of teenagers arrive, of various races, and take over the entire street for hours at a time. Trespassing, vandalism, noise until 2 a.m., all bad enough. It attracts regular friends and quasi-step-relatives, from what I can tell, then groups of teenagers walking by on the next street (a bit of a thoroughfare for that due to geography). Then, over a week or two, the crowd gets older and just as we're trying to drive back from dinner (me, my elderly parents, and my two nieces), we have a fistfight in our street, with about 15 guys egging everything on, setting my personal safety alarms ringing. Then the drug dealing starts, a thick-necked guy with a thick-necked pit bull selling pot right on the street corner in the middle of the day. The cops responded (on someone else's call, for once) and we saw plenty of communication and cooperation between our neighbors and the guys who were being picked up. (They took the dog inside, for one thing.)
Honestly, we've had this before, even on one of our own rentals. The neighborhood even had a handful of shootings. But we'd had a summer and a half of comparative quiet, then an absentee landlord lets this crew move in, and suddenly bedlam. (It grieves me to say I now understand viscerally how blockbusting works. Hint: the new family on the block is not
the Cosbys.) The good news
is that our new police chief got the city council to give him a nuisance eviction ordinance and we are told it is in the works for this address, but the wheels of justice move ever so slowly at times.
So, what I want is to learn more about this world and not feel like I'm doing so much guesswork. Obviously there are detrimental aspects to learning through entertainment but I do actually have access to some serious print stuff on the topic. None of it really addresses the human side. Obviously I learn a lot just looking out my front door, but I can't eavesdrop on conversations and such so I only get one face.
So, what movies can I rent that will get me inside this world? Dramatic movies are preferred. Medium-to-heavy realism, definitely. They can even be documentaries. I won't turn away book suggestions, though, fiction or non-fiction. I'm not averse to hardcore urban stuff, but stuff that doesn't fit that clichéd mold would be better.