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Friday, April 17, 2009

Bill Moyers and The Wire's David Simon Talk

Tonight's Bill Moyer's Journal on PBS is a must see. It is soooooo good. His guest: David Simon who used to work for the Baltimore Sun and was a screenwriter for HBO's The Wire. He talks about the "drug war", inner-city crime and politics, storytelling and the future of journalism today.

And David Simon was one of the authors who wrote a pledge in Time magazine that says:

If asked to serve on a jury deliberating a violation of state or federal drug laws, we will vote to acquit, regardless of the evidence presented. Save for a prosecution in which acts of violence or intended violence are alleged, we will — to borrow Justice Harry Blackmun's manifesto against the death penalty — no longer tinker with the machinery of the drug war. No longer can we collaborate with a government that uses nonviolent drug offenses to fill prisons with its poorest, most damaged and most desperate citizens.

Jury nullification is American dissent, as old and as heralded as the 1735 trial of John Peter Zenger, who was acquitted of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York, and absent a government capable of repairing injustices, it is legitimate protest. If some few episodes of a television entertainment have caused others to reflect on the war zones we have created in our cities and the human beings stranded there, we ask that those people might also consider their conscience. And when the lawyers or the judge or your fellow jurors seek explanation, think for a moment on Bubbles or Bodie or Wallace. And remember that the lives being held in the balance aren't fictional.

The other authors (also screenwriters on The Wire) were: Ed Burns, Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, and Richard Price. If you want to read the entire editorial, go here.

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