Last night I enjoyed the season 4 opener of AMC's "Breaking Bad." For brevity's sake, all I will say is that the episode had a really intense, drawn-out moment -- one that rivals the firecracker scene in "Boogie Nights" coupled with the brutality of the "Reservoir Dogs" ear scene. Dare I say it was an hour well-spent even though it left me shaken psychologically.
For those unfamiliar with the show, the main character, Walt, is diagnosed with cancer and must undergo treatment for it. Faced with the medical costs of doing so, and wanting to provide for his family in the event of his untimely death, he decides to use his skills as a chemist (teacher) to make meth. His need for survival, however, has taken on a more determined and brutal quality over the last three seasons. Walt has gone from deviant entrepreneur to cold-blooded killer. And this is what brings me to our neck of the woods.
In watching the "Box Cutter" episode last night, I wasn't thrown by the fact that violence had befallen those entangled in the drug trade. If I'm going to watch a movie where drugs are involved, I have to expect some violence. Remember "Up In Smoke"? A dog died in that movie. Need I say more?
But seriously, people don't bat an eye when they see violence scripted alongside drug-pushing in film, but if we hear about violence perpetrated on the local citizenry, or upon law enforcement officials, suddenly it's termed 'spillover violence' and it becomes a national security issue. Violence is going to occur, especially in our case where major drug routes exist. What's unique to us is that we have a river that separates two nations; Crooks can easily escape to Mexico, and gang members can seek refuge in Texas. Things can get complicated; just ask those looking for Victor Palomo, the young man who didn't return after a lunch break in his murder trial.
Point is: drugs and violence go hand in hand. However, we haven't seen the carnage and mayhem that our Sister City has seen. Mayor Salinas can boast about lower crime statistics, yet ask for more funding from the federal government for increased security. How can he justify needing more when things are getting better? The mayor's duplicity aside, we have to put our circumstance in perpestive. We have to be cautious, but we can't run around as if our hair was on fire.