If you read The Corner, David Simon and Ed Burn’s harrowing look at a year in the life of a Baltimore drug corner, you met DeAndre McCullough. He was the son of two of the story’s main protagonists, Fran and Gary.
You might also know him as Brother Mouzone’s faithful but fallible factotum from The Wire.
He OD’d on pills recently, under circumstances that make suicide seem likely. David Simon offers this moving and candid farewell to DeAndre, whom he met when the latter was only 15, but already out on the corner slinging.
I’ve thought a lot about this since first seeing the link to Simon’s post on Kottke yesterday. It seems to me DeAndre combined traits from his parents in a way that led to his doom.
From tough-as-nails Fran he got his street sensibility. His mom was the hardest of hardcore fiends. That hardness may have been what gave her the strength to achieve the escape velocity needed to ultimately break free of the corner’s spiral of addiction, crime and disease. She’s been clean since 1996 and works as an addiction counselor.
But half of DeAndre was Gary, too. Gary was intelligent and warm-hearted, but hapless to fight his demons, and that’s what helped the corner kill him.
I’m just speculating, but it seems like DeAndre was born with the tools to negotiate the toxic environment on the corner, but not the tools to escape from it.