Monday 27 July, 2009
After playing through much of the early missions - stealing weapons and other stuff for Ryder, murdering Ballas to please Sweet's desire for vengeance, and making sure CJ's sister is safe hanging out with mexican gangsters called the Vagos, the game begins to introduce what turns out to be the catalyst for CJ and the rest of the Grove Street gangsters' misfortunes: greed. The corrupt cop Tenpenny and his goons, who make up a supposedly anti-drug/anti-gang arm of the police called C.R.A.S.H. (Community Resources Against Street Hoodlums), begin pushing their way into the business of the Los Santos Families, suspiciously hanging around Big Smoke's and Ryder's houses. Later, Tenpenny forces CJ into particpating in some major crimes. First, they have CJ kill "another gangbanging, drug-pushing, cop-killing bitch, just like" himself by setting a building on fire with molotov cocktails, and then they making him stop a gun sale between some Ballas and some Russians.
The dirty work for C.R.A.S.H. is then followed by a few missions for Sweet, first taking over some territory and then killing some Ballas at a fallen Balla's funeral. During this scene, CJ at first protests the obviously unethical idea of murdering people mourning a friend, despite their status as enemy. However, he soon relents and they go off and kill a bunch of rival gangsters. An interesting fact about this mission - one that ties into my previous observations of Tenpenny and his goons - is that the info about the funeral came from Tenpenny. It is obvious that he is trying to foment chaos among the families and profit from it.
Later, after a big firefight with some SWAT soldiers during what what meant to be a reuiniting of the Families, CJ learns of the betrayal of Big Smoke and Ryder: and that the car that participated in the drive-by that killed CJ's mother belongs to Big Smoke. Tenpenny and the Ballas are allied with Big Smoke, all in name of greed. Drugs are big money, and they checked their morals at the door in order to pursue money and power. Soon after discovering the truth, CJ is captured by C.R.A.S.H. and dumped out in the middle of nowhere with another mission.
During this scene, the idea of loyalty - which I still believe is the core ideal of this game - is discussed by Tenpenny: "Homies for life? Street loyalty? That's all bullshit, Carl. Didn't you learn that when they ran you out of town, just 'cause you let Brian die?" He trashes CJ's ideal of loyalty... to Tenpenny, there's no loyalty without power.