Bus 174

           Bus 174 is a dramatic look at the problem of street children and the results of this problematic situation. The story is about a young boy named Pedro who has fallen into this way of life simply because he had no other choice. He was forced into a life of begging and stealing just to get through the day. The movie is just as much about the epidemic of street children as it is about the hostage situation and Pedro’s horrific story. The film also goes beyond that and raises questions about Brazils corrupt and seemingly ill-equiped police officers and shows the tragic living conditions inside the prisons. A sad reminder of where many of these street children pass through or stay for a lifetime. Pedro’s story is a perfect example of this because his story speaks for all the “invisible” children living in the streets around the world.
          The main focus of the film was around the epidemic of street children and the environment in which they are forced to survive. In every major city in Brazil there are favelas surrounding the outskirts. These favelas are the slums that many of these generations of kids frequent and grow up around. The article “I saw a City Invincible” sheds light on how this type of urbanization may have started. Explaining that the “Spanish conquerors of the new world rapidly established themselves as urban lords, and in the process, sought to erect barriers between themselves and the masses of Indians that surrounded their enclaves”. This is now a widespread reality that can be seen with little effort from the high rise buildings in major cities such as Rio de Janeiro.
           It is important to take a step back and look at the events leading up to the Bus 174 incident before making any judgements. Pedro was a perfect example of the treacherous lives that many street children have to face day after day. These kids are on the streets twenty four hours a day and are forced to figure out a way to get by. Putting so much pressure on young kids will inevitably lead to crimes of necessity. These are crimes that a street kid might commit to have food for that night. This is the sad reality that has to be faced when a community has such a high number of street children. Pedro was like most street children and had never known his dad. His mother, brutally stabbed to death in front of him at a young age. These alone seem traumatic enough to explain nearly any behavior. Unfortunately, Pedro fell right into the glue sniffing culture that is part of the street children phenomena. Many of them using it to escape reality and hunger pains that are a constant reminder of their dire situation.
          Hearing Pedro’s story from the friends he made in his life and his loved ones, it is almost impossible to see him in the position of hostage taker. It seemed as though he wanted his story to be heard and hopefully shed light on how monumentally important it was that something was done about it. He asked for a gun and grenade which was never going to be given to him but other than that had no requests. It seemed quite clear that he wanted to let the world know his situation and the unfinished story of The Candelaria church massacre. This put even more pressure on the police officers to resolve the situation peacefully and without incident. Unfortunately, this was the farthest thing from what did occur. After a botched police shot that struck the hostage in the head, Pedro shot three times striking the women in the back. Bringing unparalleled heat directed towards the local police and court system. The Candelaria Massacre had still not been solved before the Bus 174 incident occurred which inevitably led to a public outcrying. It is extremely unfortunate that this is the way that the issue was brought back to the public eye but it certainly needed to be dealt with. In the end all someone can do is learn from the mistakes of the past and try to correct this growing problem around the world.