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I think that one of the most profound statements that Hopper's film makes is that criminal activity cannot be something ignored. At the time of filming, gang violence and the criminal activity in American inner cities was something seen as a problem that existed in "that area" or as something removed from American consciousness. Hopper's film is quick to point out that all of American society is threatened if gang violence and the underlying causes of it in our cities are not understood and absorbed as a more inclusive problem, as opposed to an "us" and "them" mentality. This is enhanced by the approach of Hodges' approach, one that reflects understanding and a sense of openness in dialogue with those who might be different from the cultural majority. In this, Hopper's film speaks to the idea that social advancement can only be achieved when all individuals understand that criminal activity anywhere is a threat to justice and safety everywhere. The fact that McGavin understands this once Hodges is shot represents how all Americans have to recognize the real and distinct threat of crime in our cities, something that Hopper proved to be ahead of his time in recognizing.
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