In her “Re-Wiring Baltimore” piece Marsha Kinder states: “All three schemes demonstrate that individuals can make a difference, even if they can’t single-handedly solve all of Baltimore’s systemic problems.” I thought this was interesting in light of our discussion on Wednesday about how The Wire’s systematic focus and cynical outlook may make people feel helpless to change societal problems.
I have to admit I don’t really follow Kinder’s logic since in the sentence right before that statement she admits that once the authorities discover the schemes the outcomes are reversed, showing that “there’s something terribly wrong with public policy.” It seems that here she’s trying to claim that the problems of the city are primarily rooted in public policy, and that poor public policy impedes individuals from making permanent, positive changes. In other words, at the end of the day, it’s public policy that keeps individuals from triumphing over failed institutions. Is this really a take-home message of The Wire? I’m not at all convinced, but what does everyone else think?