Pubdate: Mon, 15 Jan 2001
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA)
Copyright: 2001 Richmond Newspapers Inc.
Contact:  P.O. Box 85333, Richmond, VA 23293
Fax: (804) 775-8072
Author: Lennice Werth
Bookmark: (Traffic)


Editor, Times-Dispatch: Recently I saw "Traffic," a movie about drug violence.

As the founding member of Virginians Against Drug Violence, I wish to thank 
the producers and others responsible for this film. While it begins an 
exploration of violence and lawlessness associated with drug prohibition, 
it could never hope to expose all the complexities of this issue. So 
wisely, and to wonderful dramatic effect, this movie makes a second and 
crucial observation: Those who are concerned about destructive drug use in 
their own families need to stay home instead of acting like kids playing 
cops and robbers.

This subject probably is fertile ground for the scriptwriter, with all the 
twists and turns of corruption and deceit of the illegal-drug saga. Some of 
the good guys really are bad guys and some of the bad guys tell the truth 
while everyone else is lying. This movie gives a lot of information about 
how 10 cents' worth of coca leaf in South America becomes $100 of 
contraband on the journey north - that is not a pretty picture. Despite the 
bad-dream-yellow - these scenes are tinted - one knows this is real. One 
also knows the full-color life of the drug czar-designate is phony. The 
intellectual bankruptcy of the keep-on-doing-more-of-the-same drug warriors 
was depicted in one unforgettable scene. The Hollywood ending is unlike our 
reality. The future czar gets it, and drops his public vanity in favor of 
accepting personal responsibility in his life.

Here in reality we haven't come that far. In fact Virginia's Governor 
Gilmore is just beginning to implement the draconian anti-drug plan he 
pushed through the General Assembly last year. It is rich in cops and 
robbers and short on personal responsibility - just as depicted in 
"Traffic." So when Virginians view this movie, so much of which is set in 
Southern California and northern Mexico, they may well be looking into 
their own futures.

Lennice Werth, Crewe
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