Sometimes, fact and fiction are one and the same.
To make my point, I offer this bit of dialog, “spoken” by retired police detective T.C. Cook, a minor character in George Pelecanos’ novel The Night Gardener, as he waxes nostalgically on the changing nature of police work:
“The job changed from what it was. The feds threatened to turn off the money faucet to the District unless the MPD put more uniforms on the streets and started making more drug arrests. But you know, locking people up willy-nilly for drugs doesn’t do shit but destroy families and turn citizens against police. And I’m not talking about criminals. I’m talking about law-abiding citizens, ’cause it seems like damn near everyone in low-income D.C. got a relative or friend who’s been locked up on drug charges. Used to be, folks could be friendly with police. Now we’re the enemy. The drug war ruined policing, you ask me. And it made the streets more dangerous for cops. Any way you look at it, it’s wrong.”
—from The Night Gardener, by George Pelecanos
Do you suppose that novelist George Pelecanos knows the pros and cons of the drug war and understands the reasons why it’s doomed to fail? Damned right he does.