Saturday, April 24, 2010

Right As Rain by George P. Pelecanos (Warner Books 2001)

You're not the first person who's thought of those things. So why isn't anyone talking about it for real?"

"Cause you put all those politicians down on the Hill in one room and you can't find one set of nuts swingin' between the legs of any of 'em. Even the ones who know what's got to be done, they realize that comin' out in favor of drug legalization and handgun illegalization will kill their careers. And the rest of them are in the pockets of the gun lobby. Meantime, nearly half the black men in this city have either been incarcerated or are in jail now."

"You tellin' me it's a black thing?"

"I'm tellin' you it's a money thing. We got two separate societies in this country, and the gap between the haves and the have-nots is gettin' wider every day. And the really frustrating thing is -"

"No one cares,' said Quinn.

"Not exactly. You got mentors, community activists, church groups out there, they're tryin', man, believe me. But it's not enough. More to the point, some people care, but most people care about the wrong things.

"Look, why does a dumb-ass, racist disc jockey make the front page and the leadoff on the TV news for weeks, when the murder of teenage black children gets buried in the back of the Metro section every day? Why do my own people write columns year after year in the Washington Post, complainin' that black actors don't get nominated for any Academy Awards, when they should be writin' every goddamn day about the fucked-up schools in this city, got no supplies, leaking roofs, and fifteen-year-old textbooks. You got kids walkin' to school in this city afraid for their lives, and once they get there they got one security guard lookin' after five hundred children. How many bodyguards you think the mayor's got, huh?"

"I don't know, Derek. You askin' me?"

"I'm makin' a point."

"You gotta relax," said Quinn. "Guy your age, you could stroke out . . ."

"Aw, fuck you, man."

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