Episode 9: GRID Blog

Stringer Bell (hereby referred to as String) demonstrates his capacity to turn a deaf ear to injustices in this episode by the scene which places his drug council meeting and Omar’s attempted murder happening simultaneously.  Within the drug trade, there is a covenant which allows for Sunday to be the day of truce.  This pact among the dealers seems to have quite a bit of weight, and is referred too as an old order.  Slim Charles was unreachable at the time, but he later states that he would’ve never of allowed for a Sunday shooting to happen, despite knowing that his boss, String, did allow for it.  String later tells Avon that he didn’t realize at the time that it was Sunday.  The viewer knows this is a lie, as he was warned that it was Sunday before he made the decision.

The Wire demonstrates characters in the drug trafficking world as those who value oaths.  Since Avon’s incarceration, the definition of justice has moved from the exclusive will of the stronger.  This is represented by Avon’s concentration on the corners, and the drug council’s disapproval of such.  The drug council recognizes the value in a united Baltimore and the council’s people recognize the value in a chain-of-command; a sort of civil government.  They are able to accomplish more by working together, and they call any strike against the unity an injustice.  This may remind the viewer of Locke’s social contract.  It seems this culture of people necessarily needs to have an operating system of government which threatens consequence against them if they break a truce.  The problem seems to be that there is no real consequence for String by the end of the episode.

String appear as a representative for justice in the criminal world in Baltimore, but he himself breaks the order which maintains peace.  The greater drug-affiliated community see this as an injustice; a broken oath.  The attempt on Omar’s life is not the injustice; the injustice is String allowing his men to break a sworn-upon truce.  Despite all this, and the uproar in the community, String is complacent to it and occupies himself with his end game.  He is too busy putting the deal together through Prop Joe’s connection, and laundering that money through some of his legitimate businesses he is developing/has developed in the city.  Locke also says that a state of war is inevitable when each man is given authority to make his own law and enforce it.  Self-interest will cause them to eventually make the wrong decision, which will result in an injustice, and therefore a consequential backlash.  However, as String still appears to be just, he is still safe from the controversy of his decision.

In conclusion, The Wire demonstrates a very complicated picture of justice with reference to the drug trade.  It seems as through String is able to appear just while committing injustices behind the backs of his councilmen.  The viewer is given some suggestions that String’s empire of thieves is slowly unravelling around him.  If this happens, Baltimore will be pushed into a state of war which will pin every one against every one.

Elizabeth M.

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