Author(s): Ryan Gattis
The System can save you, or it can break you . . .On the sixth of December 1993, a drug dealer called Scrappy is shot and left for dead on her mother's lawn in South Central Los Angeles. A heroin addict witnesses the shooting, and seizes the moment to steal Scrappy's drugs, as well as the handgun that was dropped at the scene. When he's busted, he names local gang members Wizard and Dreamer as the shooters. There's only one problem: one of them is guilty; the other, innocent. None of that matters, though, when the gun turns up again - miles from where the shooting happened - and both are arrested. Innocent or not, the gang tells them both to keep their mouths shut and take their charges.With these two off the streets, Little, the unlikeliest of new gang members, is given a very serious job: discover how the gun got moved, who moved it, and why. Because it had to be a frame-up and the cops had to be involved. Didn't they?Played out in the streets, precincts, jails, and courtrooms of Los Angeles, The System is a breakneck journey through every phase of the American criminal justice system. It is the story of a crime - from the moments before shots are fired, to the verdict and its violent aftershocks - told through the vivid chorus of those involved: the guilty, the innocent, the victim, the families who love them, and those simply doing their jobs. After all, justice is a matter of perspective.