‘Traffic’ of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team that

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‘Traffic’ is
a  American crime drama film
which was directed by Steven Soderbergh and written
by Stephen Gaghan which explored the illegal drug trade from
various perspectives: users, enforcers, politicians, and traffickers. Inspired by the mini-series that aired on British television
in 1989 that tracked the drug trade from Pakistan to Britain, ‘Traffic’ tracks
the drug trade from it from Mexico to the United States. to ensure the
material’s genuineness, the moviemakers appointed Tim Golden of The Times, as a
consultant who was a member of a Pulitzer Prize-winning team that reported
extensively on Mexican drug cartels .

In the end the movie is not just about any of
the film’s characters but about the drug problem as a whole, its effect on
families to its position in our national politics

However,
the movie covered up the
costs of drug use, the pain of withdrawal and the long journey that awaits for
people who seek treatment.

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The
movie is a juncture for three stories that take place simultaneously on the
same day. Traffic’s three narratives take place in different locales in which
the first was in Mexico, focuses on a righteous Tijuana policeman named Javier
Rodriguez whose achievement in combating homegrown traffickers gains him a position
by the side of the country’s foremost drug-fighter General Salazar who is the
head of the federal police in the movie. Second across
the border in suburban San Diego, Helena Ayala who is a wealthy, pregnant housewife
one day finds out that her husband who she thought was a legitimate businessman
has been arrested by the DEA and is the region’s chief cocaine distributor.
Lastly, of a
strictly conservative Ohio judge named Robert Wakefield prepares to take the
position as the President’s newly appointed drug “czar” finds out that his
daughter, Caroline has begun to use drugs.

 The film took real-life incidents from the war
on drugs and produced a compelling, attention-grabbing Hollywood film that is
at the same time responsible to the very world it depicts. Though it is not a true
story it does draw from the experiences of people who have been tangled in the
war on drugs.

 

According
to Emile Durkheim who was a functionalist said that crime is unavoidable in
society because not all people of the society will accept the collective
opinions of society and will eventually deviate from these norms and beliefs. Durkheim said that a
certain amount of crime and deviance is normal and is important part of all
healthy societies because it provides a relatively mild way for individuals to
express their discontent but too much crime would be dangerous. Robert Merton
developed on this idea he said that in a balanced society all individuals will
be happy but according to him American society isn’t balanced, so when people
struggle to live up to society’s norms and values they try and find other ways
of attaining this success. He
called this a strain to anomie – feeling alienated- they do not feel affected
by the norms of the society and it is this normless behavior, which causes
crime in society. Caroline in the movie can be considered an example for
anomie.

 

Merton
stated five ways in which individuals could react to this strain to anomie:

Conformity –
Individuals of a society submit to the norms of the society and try to gain
achievement through the normal means
Innovation –
Individuals who feel that they cannot be achieved through the normal route
try new ways which mostly leads to a life of crime
Ritualism –
Individuals who feel they cannot gain achievement because of limitations
and cannot resort to innovation because it holds risks, they lower their
goals and objectives. This is deviant as they reject society’s norms and
create their own lower goals.
Retreatism
– Individuals who cannot achieve what
they want and don’t find any solution to it, might retreat  from society, they step down to failure
and often turn to alcohol or drugs abuse.
Rebellion
– Individuals who cannot do well but also
do not want to admit defeat might rebel and create their own society with
new goals and means.

Most
crimes can be categorized under ‘Innovation’ as it the most easily thought of
alternative when situations aren’t as one expects them to be and feeling
helpless triggers one enough to deviate. According to Merton the nature of
modern Western society creates crime and deviance, as the culture encourages individuals
to live the material dream and promotes that lifestyle, which results in weakened
the societal regulations and criminality particularly through ‘innovation’
becomes common.

 

A
study was conducted with forty-five thousand students by the ‘Monitoring the
Future’ group at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research
regarding drug use among pupils in grades 8, 11, and 12. The study established
that the use of the drugs rose severely in the year 2000. Almost 40% of high
school seniors disclosed that they did use of marijuana in the twelve-month
period prior to the study.Since 40% of them admitted to the usage , it cannot
be said that drugs are only used by “bad kids”. The movie does
not judge the kids for their drug use but makes the point that some people are
able to use drugs for the purpose of recreation, while others are not. When in the
movie Caroline is arrested for being high on drugs, she meets with a social
worker who makes Caroline to narrate her own resume, the movie suggests that
drug use should be considered as an health care issue rather that a criminal
one as it can happen to anyone , it may be a high-achieving student or not.

 

In
the story ‘Traffic’ created in Mexico suggested that the life of honest Mexican
policemen is a difficult as they had to fight to stay straight and sane while
being surrounded by money and influence driven absolutely by drugs. The movie portrays
the life of a truthful cop in Mexico who is lonely and receives little
appreciation from his colleagues. Where large amounts of wealth only came from
corruption, being honest and straight was dangerous. Strains which cause anger
and frustration might also result in crime, but the way each individual reacts
to them is different based on their personality. According to the
labeling theory ,there is a process of labeling by which deviance  is able to be recognized .The society’s
reaction to individuals deviant behavior suggests that some social groups
actually create deviance by making the rules whose violation creates deviance
and these rules are applied to particular  people who are then labeled as outsiders, of
which Donald Trump’s false comments linking Mexican immigrants and
crime is a recent example.

 

This
theory further suggests that people engage in deviant acts because they have
been labeled as deviant by society, because of their race, or class,

 

The
movie also shows how methods used in drug trafficking have reached a level of
sophistication with advanced technology at their disposal. When Helen Ayala
brings a doll to the Mexican drug lord as she promises him a new way of
smuggling cocaine as she tells the man, “the doll is cocaine.” Such advanced
business techniques are to be expected of an industry that is estimated to gross
billions of dollars a year in the US alone thus ranking it in the top ten
largest businesses in the United States,while combating this business the prices
have dropped and the purity has increased.

 

Traffic
is an important film as it depicts the drug war with truth and integrity with
stories and themes from real events and experiences of those fighting it.

 

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