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‘Traffic’ traffickers gains him a position by

‘Traffic’ is
a crime drama film which was directed by Steven
Soderbergh and was written by Stephen Gaghan which explored
the illegal drug trade from perspectives of the 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 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 which reported extensively on Mexican drug cartels.

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

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

 

The
movie is a juncture for three stories that take place simultaneously on the
same day and the  three narratives take
place in different locales , first of which takes place in Mexico and 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 where Helena Ayala who is a rich, pregnant housewife one day
finds out that her husband who she thought was a legitimate businessman has
been arrested by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and is the region’s
chief cocaine distributor. Lastly, of a conservative Ohio judge named Robert
Wakefield who 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 film that is at the same
time responsible about the 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 an important part of a
healthy society 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 is not 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 and 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 achieve
their goals through the normal means
Innovation –
Individuals who feel that their goals cannot be achieved through the
normal route try new ways which mostly leads to a life of crime
Ritualism –
Individuals who feel they cannot achieve their goals because of certain
limitations and also 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
and  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 modern Western
society creates the environment where crime and deviance can flourish as the
culture encourages individuals to live the material dream and promotes that
lifestyle, which weakens 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 found that
the use of the drugs rose severely in the year 2000. Almost 40% of high school
seniors disclosed that they had used marijuana in the twelve-month period prior
to the study, since 40% of them said so , it cannot be considered as an activity
engaged in only by certain “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 and she meets a social
worker who makes her narrate her own resume, the movie suggests that drug use
should be considered as an health care issue instead of a a criminal one as it
can happen to anyone.

 

In
the story ‘Traffic’ created in Mexico suggested that the life of honest Mexican
policemen is difficult as they had to fight to stay moral while in an environment
of money and corruption 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 came only 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, the process of labeling is used to recognize deviance, in most
case because of their race, or class which results in the individual’s
engagement in deviant behavior. The society’s reaction to individuals deviant
behavior suggests that some social groups 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 can be considered as an example.

 

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 him, “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 as a result ranking it as one
of the 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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