New stuff:Watching Now:True Stories:Crack House More 4 24th May 2011

Looks interesting and i love documentaries. Started at 10pm so somewhat late but luckily is only just being set up in that it’s the story of how the Police in Rockford, Illinois USA set up a crack house with hidden cameras in it. Then sat back and watched…Not sure how they knew that the location would be chosen by the dealers in the first place? Must have missed that explanatory bit. Goes until 12pm..

It’s really interesting so far, i always thought that a crack house was a derelict building where people went to smoke crack but in this case it is actually a drug dealer’s house. Well multiple drug dealers. They all live there and have a lot of guns and watch telly all day and play play station and wait for the punters to turn up and knock at their door.

Guess their marketing technique and or advertising must be pretty good.
Nb. Missed what happened but one of their girlfriends had blood on her shirt and was sobbing on the floor for a very long time, piteous sobs, and nobody seemed bothered at all. We see things from the side/point of view of the Police from their surveillance and from the families of the drug dealers who tell us about their background and promising childhood before it.All Went Wrong…

Several of the Mothers of the guys in the crack house gang relate how they were once on drugs too. One Mother says she feels guilty for her son being in the drug trade. The main grandmother of the film proudly tells us how she provided for all her children and grandchildren:”i took care of them, i fed them, i clothed them, they were always clean, i made sure of that”.

The grandmother, her daughter and grand daughter gather in the empty house the grandmother still keeps and sweeps. The bedroom of her incarcerated grandson is still there. The grandmother tells us “this is a good area, near the park, Obama used to live near here”.
The daughter blames herself over and over again. She says how she feels guilty for her son being in the drug trade.”I haven’t done heroin for two months. I’m still wondering if i am the reason for this?” Her daughter says “don’t take this on, it’s ok, you didn’t beat us, rape us or abandon us”..

Another Mother describes how she was “once on the pipe and my son asked me to come off it” “he said i’m gonna go down with you” she tells how “i’m off the cocaine now, but he can’t see it, I botched motherhood” and starts to cry.

Another mother tells how she was never on drugs and how she “provided well for my son”. She describes how “I’m angry with him for allowing people to sell him a dream of nothing”. “It was the money, the cars, the rims” she explains. One of the boys from the crack house gang says “it was going into the room and seeing all that money in one place all at one time”.

All the boys are described by their mothers and grandmothers as having been well cared and provided for. The main grandmother says “i taught all my children and grandchildren how to punch a time clock like me”. She says of all the boys in the crack house that “it was their choice, everybody has a choice”.

The punters who go to the crack house to buy drugs are from every “walk of life”
“every age, every colour, soccer moms, people finishing work, young, old, black, white” says the Policeman.

nb. if i was in that situation of going to such a place, think i’d really rather prefer to wait on the doorstep, rather than come in and make small talk with guys with guns and generally have a jolly chat as we see some of the customers doing.

Shockingly, Bradford, one of the guys we learn about from the women telling the stories of their families gets his hands hammered to a pulp by his own gang from being suspected of stealing or snitching. Amazingly, he stays with the gang who did this to him. He says that he is afraid that if he walks they’ll do a lot worse.
Presumably he’s now in prison as you see a phone call to his son. Well it might be him, there are several phone calls from the guys from the crack house now in prison, to their families and sons.

Bradford of the broken hands describes playing the “hustler” “I was being what they wanted me to be” and waiting until they “have their guard down” to make his escape from the gang. He tells us the exact time he left the house “it was 10am and i got the 11am bus to Vegas”.

However Bradford is now in prison for 42 years we hear so i guess he didn’t get far. The lowest sentence for the gang is 32 years for Conspiracy. They were called the Titanic Stones. The Chief Policeman says of the leader of the gang:”he was simply being too dangerous and ordered too much violence”.
Bradford’s young son says to his Grandmother “He only got 30 years left granny?”

nb. i do wish they would ditch the supposedly sympathetic yet patronising (to the people in the Documentary) piano music.

The Grandmother of one of the boys now in prison from the Crack house operation talked a bit funny because she had no teeth and i am guessing no free healthcare for some false ones. “I do have a broken heart” she says.

Further thoughts:
I found it odd watching the young guys in the crack house since it seemed like they knew that they were being filmed. I had to remind myself that this was not the case.
I also found myself wondering:is it really de rigeur for every drug dealer to wear a big baggy white T-shirt a’ la The Wire? The guys couldn’t really go on like that, talk like that all the time surely? It was exaggerated.

It hit me later on finding out that Bradford (who had his hands bludgeoned “to hamburger” by his own gang) said that after that happened to his hands he was “playing a part” “the part of a hustler”. That made sense. It also fitted to me that the other lads were indeed acting like they were in a movie. Like The Wire for example. Had they seen The Wire? I’m guessing so. Was it cool to be a drug dealer for them? I think so.

They were living ‘the dream’ eg. the gangster/drug dealer dream. I suppose every generation may have done this, acted like their cowboy heroes, in a cowboy movie. Like their idea of gangsters from a gangster movie. Or later the Sopranos. The boys were living out their own movie fantasy or rather The Wire.

nb. The sentences (42, 35 and 32 years each) seemed somewhat draconian for no murders. (Unless i missed that bit). One of the boys shot the other “in the bum in McDonalds, totally brazen” said the Policeman.

At one point a policeman said “We didn’t want to bring violence to the area by setting up the crack house”. Later when justifying the sentences the Policeman said: “We had to get this violence off the streets and away from this area”.

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