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Ghost of Sam Post

Criminals As Main Characters

So you liked my last blog about movies? Let’s mention some more popular movies and point out some interesting things. The movie, American Gangster, is out now and I highly recommend it. It stars another two of my favorite actors, Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington. The movie is based on a true story. The bad guy (Denzel) is a major drug dealer and murderer. He was responsible for thousands of people ruining their lives with the drugs that he sold them. (Yes, I know that anyone stupid enough to “do” drugs can take the blame for their own problems, but dealers just enable druggies to hasten their demise.) He shoots people on the street in front of many witnesses; there’s no doubt who did the crime. To make matters even more interesting, he ships the drugs from China, through Vietnam, to the United States in the coffins of dead American soldiers. Throughout the movie we see him dining in fancy restaurants, purchasing real estate, and moving his extensive family into fine living quarters. He meets, and marries, a beauty queen, Miss Puerto Rico.

His adversary, the cop (Russell) is as honest as they come. He turns in money that they find in criminals’ cars, alienating him from the rest of the cops who tell him to put the money in his pocket and not to report it. We see him dining on a tuna sandwich which he makes in his dwelling. He’s got troubles with his wife, visitation problems with his son, and he’s studying to be a lawyer in his spare time.

Russell is eventually put in charge of a drug task force of specially picked under cover cops and is told to get rid of the drug problems in New York/New Jersey. The story continues with lots of action until, finally, they catch and arrest Denzel. Story over? No way. Denzel starts to deal with Russell, promising him rewards, etc. Russell says “no”, and grills Denzel to get to other drug dealers. Sound good. At the end of the movie, however, they have those short paragraphs telling the viewer what happens to each of the characters. Denzel plea bargains and gets seventy years in jail, but he only serves fifteen years and that, not consecutively. Let’s see, he murders people in broad daylight, smuggles drugs into the country, sells those drugs to thousands of people, bribes cops, and his punishment, according to our laws is: fifteen years? Russell, after finishing his law studies, takes his first client: Denzel! And, what about the police force? Well, three quarters of the cops were on “the take”. It’s not known whether the remaining twenty-five percent were “good” cops, or, maybe nothing could be proven. How could anyone possibly raise a child in a society like this? You teach the child right from wrong; teach him to have integrity, and then he goes out into the world and finds true stories like the one in this movie. Where is the reward in being “good”. Movies like this one show that “crime pays” for the criminal, and most of the cops are criminals too. How confusing!

Another of my favorite flicks is the Ocean’s series, especially Ocean’s Eleven. It’s fictional (I think) and lots of fun to watch. But, the whole story is based upon thieves and robberies. The robbers are very charismatic and the story is told from their point of view. What messages are we sending to the youths? That’s it’s fun to plan and execute robberies? That no one really gets hurt? That the leader of the robbers always gets the girl?

There are many films dedicated to Jesse James, William Bonny, and many other criminals. We idolize these characters. How about Bonnie and Clyde, Al Capone, or Machine Gun Kelly? Criminals all, but everybody knows these characters well. In the fictional department, who has not seen the Godfather series? Though the stories are fictionalized, they are based on real characters. This author is acquainted with some of the things that really went on back in those days. The subject of our “Italian brothers” is an interesting one, especially as told from their side.

Maybe next time, if you’re good, we’ll talk a little about the role of the police in our society. They are not there in the capacity that you think they are. So says Sam Post.
Published May 29 2008, 12:57 PM by Sam Post
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