Bus 174

Bus 174 is a film about the random hijacking of a bus on July 12, 2000.  The situation took place in Brazil and included 11 hostages.  We get to see the life and story of the hijacker, Sandro who was also a survivor of the Candalaria Masacre.  Candalaria was the underlying reason for the hostage in the first place, seeing as how Sandro was just another street kid up until that gruesome night.  I say “just another street kid” because there were so many of them, and the police were exterminating these kids like roaches.  Sandro grew up a street kid at the age of six after his mother was brutally murdered right in front of his eyes.  He forfeit the chance to live with his aunt to escape the hellish reality that his mother was gone, and there would be NO JUSTICE for her death.  Sandro looked to the streets for his only chance of survival and coping with his mother’s death.  He was starved and deprived of all necessities that a normal child should have, so he began to steal and do drugs to escape the hardships of being homeless.  These kids were not entirely bad and in fact, Sandro’s social worker described him as a quiet and observant kid with learning disabilities.  Street kids had to eat, so in their minds, they had to steal- but most of all THEY CRAVED attention.  The incident at Candalaria essentially drove Sandro to hijack the bus because he felt as a citizen in Rio, although he was a criminal, he got no respect and had no rights.  THIS IS TRUE.  The film showed the conditions in which the prisoners were kept and frankly it was disgusting.  Prisoners in America are treated like royalty compared to that.  Cells that were fit for 10 people at most were crammed with over 40 people.  So, although Sandro did in fact hijack the bus,  I’m sure that he had no intention on going back to prison. So as he staged the murder of one of his victims and attempted to walk to safety with another he had to be internally preparing for death. 

Alberto S. Ramos, author of The Drive-by Victim, tells of a taxi hijacking where the robbers threaten a victim with death after robbing him.  The later try to take back the statements when they tell the victim that the money is for a friend in need.  The robbers work their magic to reassure the victim and even give him money for a taxi home.  Surely the victim was so releaved just to be free that he thanks the robbers.  Ramos goes on to describe the society that is on the fringe by saying, “We are so screwed in this country that the only option we have left is thanking the thieves” (137).   Alma Guillermoprieto, author of The Heart that Bleeds Describes American influence on their country and feelings of worthlessness by Mexicans.  Sandro exhibits these same feelings of worthlessness, that no one cares for them and they invisible.  Finally Mark D. Szuchman, author of The City- Invincible, describes a woman’s longing to experience the beautiful “Brazilian Dream”, but when she arrives finds no opportunity and disgusting situations.  She discusses the “difficulties of surviving… the violence, alcoholism, disease, and hunger” (23).  Sadly all of this can be seen just within the street kid population.  What is important to note here is that if this type of situation were applied to the United states, people would flip their lids.  There would be no way that in modern society someone (ex. Sandro) or some group (ex. The government, police, swat, or whatever) would be able to get away with this.  The conditions that these CHILDREN are living in is HORRIBLE, and even if they are make shift criminals and petty thugs, maybe they wouldn’t have to be if someone would built a homeless shelter instead of letting them sleep on the streets.