David Simon has returned to the pages of his old newspaper with a compelling look back at a Baltimore police officer wounded in the drug war, and now in need of help himself. The blind Gene Cassidy, shot twice in the head in 1987, still works at the police training academy.
Simon, a former police reporter, has turned the cop beat into a celebrated artform, with his book, "Homicide: Life on the Street," an all-too real glimpse into the city's "Murder Police," and then with the fictionalize HBO series,"The Wire,"which mirrored real life in some uncomfortable ways. His current project is Treme, also on HBO.
Here's the opening of Simon's story (read entire article here):
Seven-baker-twenty-four unit turns at Mosher and rumbles past that stretch of Appleton Street where Gene Cassidy took two in the head for the company, the first one stealing his eyesight, the second lodging in his brain beyond the skill of a surgeon's knife.
Cassidy was 27 then, not even four years on the job, strong and lucky and hard-headed Irish enough that he refused to do the obvious and inevitable thing. He did not die. At University Hospital that night, the other patrol officers and detectives were told it was certain, that their friend would not make it.
But Cassidy breathes still, and Appleton and Mosher looks much as it did in October 1987, when Cassidy tumbled out of his radio car to jack up a man wanted on an assault warrant. The same Formstone rowhouses — a few now boarded-up vacants — the same Amtrak rail bed at the north end, the same rusted fences and weeds in the gaping mouths of the alleys. Hallowed ground, it never was.