Fans of The Wire (the epic HBO series about life and crime in Baltimore) know that St. Louis shares more than a few similarities with the (mostly) fictional show.
Much of this can be attributed to the twin troubles of Baltimore and St. Louis -- inner-city drug crimes, huge numbers of vacant houses, failing public schools, political bureaucracy, and a police department that constantly seems to shoot itself in the foot -- that the show so vividly and realistically portrays.
But the story yesterday of a 60-year-old St. Louis man accused of shooting a 17-year-old to death was just too eerie of a case of art imitating life/life imitating art to let pass without comment.
Did anyone else read Chad's post this morning and immediately compare the real life accused -- Johnnie Pulley Jr.-- with Bubbles, the show's troubled but lovable dope fiend? Check the pictures:
Granted, Pulley is about 20 years older than Andre Royo's "Bubbs" character, but that's kind of the point. Imagine if Bubbs had stayed on the streets for the rest of his days...
He'd probably still be getting beaten down for his pocket change by crooks and drug dealers and trying to protect himself in the only way the streets know how (i.e. without help from the police.)
Now, the real-life backstories of Johnnie Pulley and his victim Brandon Colenburg have yet to emerge, so any comparisons are pure, unadulterated speculation.
But still, it's not hard to imagine Pulley as a sympathetic and flawed character like Bubbles, doing his best to get by on the mean streets of the Northside. He says the teenage Colenburg previously assaulted him (a claim police could not verify because Colenburg died before telling his side of the story), and Pulley was either exacting revenge or defending himself from another beating when he pulled the trigger.
Yup, yet another reason why The Wire is the greatest show in the history of television. It's just so...Dickensian.