Bushmills? That's Protestant Whiskey! - Season 3 of The Wire.

I woke up at 8:30am Sunday morning after going to bed a little after midnight. I didn't go to bed last night until 1:30am. Within those ... seventeen hours, I watched 12 episodes of The Wire. Anyone with any ambition to watch The Wire better stop reading here.

There is an absolutely fabulous idea that corresponds with season 3, one that could only be done by a show like this (in other words, it's too heady to try and fit into a 2-hour movie or to be placed into a lesser cop show, which is every other cop show ever made). It's a sociological experiment of sorts: taking all the drug dealers, all the drug addicts, and confining them to three specified locations within a major metropolitan city where - as long as they stay within those three specified locations - they won't be arrested by the police. Indeed, there will be police surrounding the outskirts, but only to prevent any violent outbursts or people trying to sell drugs outside the area.

There was one renegade major on the police force who concocted this idea, and it turned out to be the most effective solution in policing his area of the city. He took the dealers off of the more residential corners, thereby making it safe for ordinary citizens to roam about in their own neighborhoods. Felony crime was reduced by 14%; prisons weren't being crowded with senseless drug charges. And by the end of the run, social workers were out there exchanging clean needles for used ones, handing out condoms, even sending drug treatment officials out there to help addicts try to get clean. Of course, when the rest of the police force and all the politicians found out about this, there was no way to keep it going. As they put it, it was like he legalized drugs.

Well, yes and no. The cops were simply looking the other way, making drug arrests within those three perimeters a non-priority. But, look at it another way: before and after, all the cops were doing involved chasing drug dealers from one corner to the next and then back again. It's the hamster running on his wheel chasing after a bit of food on a string. No matter how fast you run, no matter how many arrests you make, there will always be drug dealers because there will always be drug addicts.

I don't know why they can't do this in real life. I mean, I KNOW why - most people are fucking dipshits - but I just can't comprehend why we can't change the law of the land. If the government controlled the creation and the sale of drugs and kept it to specified locations, then we might actually be able to work towards real solutions in this whole mess. Fewer tax dollars squandered on the prison system, more money put towards places where it can actually be used effectively.