On Snitchin'

Per the piece I have posted today, David Doddridge, the ex-LAPD cop and narcotics officer I interviewed for the article also chatted with me about a few other issues. I've posted the entire interview on my personal blog.

Also, a word about the "Stop Snitchin'" campaigns, and the backlash against them: I think the whole debate sort of misses the point.

The Stop Snitchin' movement's resonance ought to raise some real questions about how we police drug crimes, questions journalists like Anderson Cooper don't bother to look into when they air some of the more outrageous comments from Stop Snitchin' advocates like Cam'ron. Why is it, for example, that some communities' mistrust of law enforcement is so pronounced that they'd rather violent crimes go unsolved—and continue to let perpetrators run free in their neighborhoods—than cooperate with the police? Seems to me that's a very serious problem, indicative of some pretty severe mistrust between the police and the communities they serve. What's behind that mistrust? How did it develop?

Perhaps it's because these communities have for years seen firsthand way the informant system fosters corruption and deceit, as the rest of the country is starting to see, in Atlanta and elsewhere. They don't trust police to use information properly, and they don't trust the police to protect them when they do cooperate. (Personal anecdote: I live in a fairly safe, somewhat trendy neighborhood. Just last fall, a state's witness in a drug case was shot in the head while waiting at a traffic light less than a mile from my house.)

Certainly when high-profile hip-hop artists push the Stop Snitchin' message, they're perpetuating a thug image that helps sell records. And that's regrettable. But the sentiment is real and it's pervasive, and not just among hip-hop artists and drug dealers. It exists because many communities in this country routinely see the types of abuses I discuss in today's article. The drug war has so poisoned many police-community relationships that the police can't get cooperation from witnesses to murders and rapes. You know, crimes with actual victims. Stop Snitchin' isn't the cause of that mistrust, it's a product of it.

At an ACLU conference on drug informants in Atlanta last March, I was taken aback when a rapper named Immortal Technique said (as Cam'ron would echo later in the Cooper interview) he wouldn't cooperate with the police under any circumstances, even if, for example, he'd witnessed an innocent old woman in his neighborhood get murdered. I still find that idea repugnant, of course. But what I think of it isn't really the point. The point is that that sentiment is out there, and there are real, troubling reasons why it's gaining momentum—reasons other than "those black people are just lawless heathens."

The same guy, Immortal Technique, repeated the comment a bit later in the conference, then added some food for thought: "Isn't the police 'blue wall of silence' the most successful stop snitchin' campaign in history?"

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  • ||

    Thanks for keeping the light on these issues, even though I don't know how you do it. I've long since grown way too depressed about these issues to think about them too much.

  • ||

    "Isn't the police 'blue wall of silence' the most successful stop snitchin' campaign in history?"

    Zing! I would love to hear a LEO's response to that statement.

  • ||

    The "Stop Snitchin'" seems to go beyond not telling the police and actually threatning "snitches."

  • ||

    The aforementioned Immortal Technique has a catchy little song called Bush Knocked Down the Towers. It's a must-hear.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=tD5WlQ54Sg0

  • ktc2||

    Keep up the great work Radley. I hope you make a difference.

    I also hope you don't get too well known for this work, I mean in the sense that you end up the deceased victim of an "accidental" LEA raid yourself.

    These people you are opposing are every bit as violent and predatory as the thugs they are supposed to be protecting us from.

  • Episiarch||

    "Isn't the police 'blue wall of silence' the most successful stop snitchin' campaign in history?"

    I have to second the insight of that statement. Brilliant. I have to remember to use it.

    I can't even imagine the pressure that must be applied to honest, conscientious cops over the course of their careers (the number of said cops being debatable).

  • ||

    Marcvs, I agree. Radley, you're doing the Lord's work, but I get depressed enough reading about it. I can't imagine how it is researching and reporting about it...

    Episiarch, I second that emotion. It's fiction, I know, but I was reminded of this reading some James Ellroy recently.

  • ||

    Certainly when high-profile hip-hop artists push the Stop Snitchin' message, they're perpetuating a thug image that helps sell records. And that's regrettable.


    What am I missing here?

    Just about every commercial entity out there perpetuates some kind of image to help sell their product. Why is regrettable when rappers do it and not anyone else?

    Or is it the actual stop snitching message that is being pushed that's regrettable?

  • Goldwater Conservative||

    Pigs ought to be dealt with in a manner appropriate to pigdom. Where I will disagree is with the reporting. I have no problem ratting out a child rapist, but I WILL NEVER, EVER, I REPEAT--NEVER RAT OUT SOMEONE WHO IS NON-VIOLENT, ESPECIALLY A DRUG DEALER/USER

    I think it is too black and white to think cops are good because violent criminals are bad, or vice versa. Like Nazis, Communists and Elitists, some cops are okay, but what they belong to is not. The "just doin a job" shit is on the same level of "just followin orders."

  • ||

    Surely Balko is correct that there is strong distrust in some black communities towards the police, and again much of that can be attributed correctly to the out of hand war on drugs techniques. However, as J.Q. Wilson (I think) pointed out, a good deal of the animosity between some young black men and police comes from the reality that all too many young black men want to do things the police will stop. It's not just drugs. A lot of it is "acting a fool" in ways that noone (even members of their community) appreciate. I highly recommend Elijah Andersons ethnographic work on the crazy behavior of the "street" minded in some urban black communities. The police will be seen by many of these punks to be harrassing them since anything short of letting them act in thuggish ways will create animosity...

  • Seitz||

    The aforementioned Immortal Technique has a catchy little song called Bush Knocked Down the Towers. It's a must-hear.

    So now that hypocrite is snitchin' on Bush?!

  • ||

    I agree it's depressing to read this stuff. It seems we have traveled down this road so far that we can never some back.

    Oh well, it was fun free society while it lasted...

  • I Refuse Posse||

    It would be much more interesting, politically/culturally and morally speaking, if the stop snitchin' campaign advocated extra-judicial punishment for crimes of violence and property against innocent parties.

  • ||

    Immortal Technique is an insane, delusional anti-semite...and a fucking awesome rapper.

  • ||

    I think you're missing the point, Radly. I've admired your work in the past, but this is beyond sloppy.

    The "Stop Snitchin'" campaign tells black kids they have a moral duty to protect black criminals. That's disgusting. It's understandable that people in high-crime areas would be nervous about helping the police, and would be suspicious and fearful of police who are incompetent, not to mention corrupt. But the high rates of murder, rape, and other violent crime in urban areas are the responsibiity of criminals, not the police. And protecting those criminals won't make things better.

  • ||

    I don't think Radley is unaware of that, Alan, the point is trying to determine how this kind of mistrust is fostered to the point where it is more harm than benefit.

  • ||

    Actually, I'm going to side with Alan this time around. Stop Snitching might of stemmed from shitty police work in the past, but at the same time it kind of comes off as those people who support Palastine's facist cartoon shows because Isreal's shitty history.

  • LibertyPlease||

    "It would be much more interesting, politically/culturally and morally speaking, if the stop snitchin' campaign advocated extra-judicial punishment for crimes of violence and property against innocent parties."

    That's an interesting point. What if communities not only stopped relying on the criminals with badges (as many have), what if they took over the public service duties being neglected?

  • LibertyPlease||

    "I think you're missing the point, Radly. I've admired your work in the past, but this is beyond sloppy.

    The "Stop Snitchin'" campaign tells black kids they have a moral duty to protect black criminals. That's disgusting."


    Alan V, I think you're missing the point. Police misconduct/negligence/crime/ineffectiveness has become so pervasive that the distrust is becoming formalized...

  • Radley Balko||

    Alan,

    I didn't say I supported the campaign (though I can't imagine a scenario under which I'd report a consensual crime to the police). I'm saying just merely lobbing criticism at the campaign overlooks that fact that it resonates because of some very real injustices in the way police use drug informants. And no one is talking about that.

  • ||

    Isn't this just the latest MSM presentation of a seemingly new and troubling social problem that demands immediate answers and scapegoats? How and why can the black community - especially "the children" - be so depraved that they wouldn't tell authorities about crimes at risk of being considered a snitch.

    Just as we are regularly bombarded with news of the latest social "epidemic" involving gangs, violence, sex, drugs and the underworld that can easily trace its presence in our media and culture from current black ghettos back through the Italian mafia, Chinatowns, Mexican barrios, Irish gangs and Jewish mobsters we can do the same with snitching.

    Snitches, stoolies, narks, rats, finks, weasels, squealers, tattle-tails and Judas. Haven't we all heard this before and aren't they things we don't want to be?

    I might take this issue more seriously if I wasn't laughing so hard from the media blaming rap before they've even finished presenting the problem.

  • ||

    @ChicagoTom:

    > Just about every commercial entity out there perpetuates some kind of image to help sell their product. Why is regrettable when rappers do it and not anyone else?

    It is regrettable when anyone pushes a violent, thuggish image, in order to get others to look up to them.

    For example, Ronald McDonald saying "I'm cool because I spend money at McD's" is annoying, but a rapper (or anyone else) saying "I'm cool because I like to beat up women" is a serious problem.

  • Fluffy||

    Alan -

    Something approaching 30% of the male population of some minority areas will be part of the criminal justice system at some point in their lives.

    Obviously 30% of the population aren't murderers and rapists.

    The Stop Snitchin meme came along because of that portion of the 30% that aren't murderers and rapists.

  • ||

    I'm saying just merely lobbing criticism at the campaign overlooks that fact that it resonates because of some very real injustices in the way police use drug informants.

    I think the problem goes beyond the fate of the stoolies. Stop Snitchin' seems like the latest episode in the series of bad relations between cops and the people who inhabit poorer neighborhoods. Cops look at residents as potential criminals, and residents see cops as petty thugs.

    but a rapper (or anyone else) saying "I'm cool because I like to beat up women" is a serious problem.

    No, that's just annoying too. When people look up to said idiot and start to emulate his example, that is the problem.

  • Joshua Holmes||

    Although the Drug War may make the cops-blacks problem worse, it wasn't like the relations were ever good.

  • Thomas Paine\'s Goiter||

    Stop Snitching might of stemmed from shitty police work in the past,

    "might of"? "past"?

    *rolls eyes*

  • ||

    As usual, most can't see the forest for the trees.
    The War on Drugs has created a mentality like Communism did for lying, like Prohibition did for filling our land with vice and crime, like Thomas Jefferson's Embargo of 1808 did to the former moral uprightness of young potash smugglers in upstate NY and VT.

  • ||

    I can't think of much that is more American than non-violent noncompliance as a means of protest.

    I have a big problem with the idea of "Stop Snitching" as a movement supporting or participating in witness intimidation or murder. That being said, I agree with the stance of not turning in a murderer or a rapist. Perhaps it will take an inability to solve the crimes that matter to make people notice we will not consent to this form of criminal "justice". The harm done by this system is greater than any single murderer or rapist could possibly do.

  • ||

    ...like Thomas Jefferson's Embargo of 1808 did to the former moral uprightness of young potash smugglers in upstate NY and VT.

    A: They were repealed, for the most part, under Jefferson, and...

    B: The British and French were attacking American ships in an effort to attack each other.

    I seriously doubt we had unregulated trade with Germany during WWII.

  • Don||

    I thought part of the stop snitchin stuff was about CI's, (confidential informants) that cops and prosecutors bribe to snitch on someone. and get a deal on their own charges. That part of stop snitchin I would agree with

  • ||

    Where can I snitch on some violent skateboarders? I called the tip hotline, told 'em about some skateboarders that were even smoking (not smokin') and got put on hold. 911 told me to call Dunkin' Donuts if it continued and they'd send someone out in a few days. What in thee hell is going on?

  • ||

    Jimmy smith,

    Stay away from the brown acid.

  • Stems and Seeds||

    If Radley looked like Kerry, I would marry him.

  • ||

    I like how you latte poofs luv to mac hard on the peons charged with enforcement instead of the society at large who supports the WOD.

    Radley is onto something, however, due to political correctness, is afraid to nail the true culprit here: Black Society.

    Until blacks in the hood better themselves, they will continue to be a pathetic, worthless pile. Blame the man, the WOD the pigs, Johnny Reb, etc. Excuses excuses keep the black man down.

    Nice to see a so-called libertarian wed community continue to preach the socialist party line.

    ta ta assholes. Go back to worrying about carbon credits and the rights of terrorists and child molesters.

  • ||

    Thanks for killing the thread.

    Remember kids, don't feed the trolls.

  • Ben Yates||

    Carbon credits? Where did that come from?

  • ||

    Where did any of that come from? Did Horst ooze over from Little Green Footballs or something?

  • ||

    Humor me Hit & Run forums, what's with the animosity towards Little Green Footballs?

  • ||

    Humor me Hit & Run forums, what's with the animosity towards Little Green Footballs?

    I can't answer from anyone else, but I have animosity towards them because they are full of a bunch of borderline fascist bed-wetters that think terrorists are hiding under their beds when they go to sleep at night.

  • ||

    Gunter glieben Horsten graben glauchen globen:

    All right
    I got something to say
    Yeah, it's better to burn out
    than to sound like a total douchebag.

  • Thomas Paine\'s Goiter||

    That being said, I agree with the stance of not turning in a murderer or a rapist. Perhaps it will take an inability to solve the crimes that matter to make people notice we will not consent to this form of criminal "justice". The harm done by this system is greater than any single murderer or rapist could possibly do.

    It's not a bad line of thinking.

    It would be better to make sure to stop snitching on citizen-on-cop crime though.

  • highnumber||

    I believe the nihilist philosopher known as Mike Muir said, "Two wrongs don't make a right, but they make me feel a whole lot better."

  • highnumber||

    Cue the Big Lebowski quotes. I said "nihilist."

  • ||

    Everything about the criminal justice system in the United States is barbaric and corrupt. The entire justification for the system has changed so dramatically in the past few decades. Police used to be "peace officers", and prison was for rehabilitation. It's still like that in some places, like Scandinavian countries. Guess who now has some the lowest rates of crime in the world at the same time they have the least prisoners per capita and dole out the shortest jail sentences for serious crimes? The same countries where the goal of police isn't to "enforce the law" and the goal of sentencing criminals wasn't to "punish" them. Guess who has the highest crime rates, most prisoners per capita, and longest jail sentences as well as the DEATH PENALTY? Duh.

    The police don't need any extra help making this the most violent society in Western civilization. Stop snitchin'.

    P.S. you don't have to be black or poor to see how evil the criminal justice system is. I'm white and well off and I care just as much as Immortal Technique.

  • ||

    Dennis: What do you think about Japan, which has both shorter jail sentances and a higher rate of repeat offenders?

  • ||

    "Actually, I'm going to side with Alan this time around. Stop Snitching might of stemmed from shitty police work in the past, but at the same time it kind of comes off as those people who support Palastine's facist cartoon shows because Isreal's shitty history."

    "Stop Snitch" was spawned by the WoD:
    1. End the WoD.
    2. Remove the incentive for the police forces to steal the property of citizens.
    3. Stop persecuting people for behavior that is, at worst, a little bit harmful to themselves.

    As others have said here, this whole subject is exhausting in its depressive nature.

  • ||

    Ending the war on drugs might be good policy and important for invididual rights of all and especially blacks considering the obvious disparate impact that falls on them, but it would not make things cozy with the police. Many more blacks are in state prison for violent offenses than drug offenses, and a mighty disparate amount relative to their 5 of the US population to boot:
    http://www.albany.edu/sourcebook/pdf/t600012003.pdf
    It's worse for federal inmates of course, there drug offenses are easily the most current offense that most black inmates are serving time under. But the stop snitching campaign is not directed only at the feds but cops in general, and more blacks are incacerated at the state and federal level for non-drug crimes than drug crimes.
    It's a hard thing to say because many jerk-off racists will use it to mean something it does not, but it's true that many young black men are acting in unacceptable ways and much of their dislike of the police comes from the mere fact the job of the police is often to stop them from acting so (often for the sake of other blacks as most crime is intraracial).

  • ||

    Meant "% of their population" of course. Stupid shift key and late night headache!

  • ||

    This argument annihilates personal responsibility.

    It's almost like asking "Why do certain policemen
    perceive most blacks to be criminals?" The sentiment is out there lol. Why is it that any issue involving one of us (I'm black) must be discussed beginning with the "root cause." If you did that with the argument about policemen I made above you'd be labeled a racist. I find most root cause arguments insulting...especially when no sane person would even consider making the argument in response to actions by members of other races.

    The fact is the majority of people, in black areas, are not "snitching" because of fear of retaliation by criminals in their neighborhoods. The whole "not trusting the government" argument, while enticing to libertarians, is a cop-out. Black people trust the government to an extent no other group does . Any public opinion poll will show you black people would trust a government to provide universal health care, regulate guns, rear children, give away free college education, give away free food etc.

  • ||

    Scooter,

    How do you account for "Immortal Techniques" position? He makes no mention of fear of thugs, but instead implicates the police.

    By the way, your point about the black community trusting the government is a good one.

  • ||

    It's not only the black community, friends.

    Our political activists have turned many of us into criminals with their legislation-of-the-day approach to governance. It's best to avoid any contact with the police.

  • ||

    "I can't answer from anyone else, but I have animosity towards them because they are full of a bunch of borderline fascist bed-wetters that think terrorists are hiding under their beds when they go to sleep at night."

    Now is that any worse than the pollyannas in the libertarian movement who think we started this conflict, and all we have to do is quit fighting to win? The Libertarians were actually gaining a little influence before 2001. They threw it all away in a mistaken notion of principle.

  • ||

    Um, speaking as someone who has actually lived in a neighborhood with an active "Stop Snitchin'" contingent (i.e, DRUG DEALERS WHO SHOT EACH OTHER AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK AND STOLE ANYTHING WITHIN THREE BLOCKS WORTH STEALING), I feel confident in stating that you are completely ignorant as to what the campaign means.

    It is a warning.

    If you tell the police that you saw a grey Monte Carlo pulling away from the scene of a shooting, you will be ostracized, and no one will tell the police anything about the men that murder YOU. If you tell the police that you saw two men robbing another, when those two men come for YOU, no one will call 911. That's what "Stop Snitchin'" means.

    It isn't about "community mistrust" or any other asshat egghead theory, it's a very real threat to witnesses that they have no protection against violent crime. Especially here in DC, where the law-abiding citizens are unarmed and at the mercy of the criminals.

    In short, you can theorize all you want about how I'm just an apologist for the fascist police state, and you can extemporize about DC's violation of its citizens' Second Amendment rights. Your suburbanite audience will even agree with you, because to them, "Stop Snitchin'" means that no one will narc them off at their high school for the eighth of marijuana they have in their locker.

    But, you should be aware that when you write articles like this, about topics for which YOU HAVE NO CLUE, you are advocating for murderers, rapists, and thieves.

  • ||

    If all of you campaigning against the War on Drugs would first install the flat tax and eliminate all government programs involving transfer payments from earners to non-earners, you'd have plenty of support. I'm all for giving people full freedom to make whatever choices, so long as they personally bear all of the costs.

  • Fluffy||

    Some Guy -

    I think everyone here would agree that the situation you describe is a bad thing.

    I think the argument being offered here is that when you incarcerate a large percentage of an area's population [and take away many of the civil rights of the people you incarcerate FOR LIFE], and when you do this for several generations, eventually you will reach a point where people stop cooperating with the police. Even for the worst crimes, and even in cases where it seems irrational.

    If we were merely talking about witness intimidation, you'd see it in non-minority areas as well. Gang members can assassinate white people too, you know. As other posters have pointed out, other gangs have enforced codes of silence and have intimidated isolated populations in the past. None of them ever succeeded in making it A BADGE OF HONOR among their victims to refuse to help the police. The fact that this seems to be happening in this case argues that something beyond the plain old Cosa Nostra model is happening here.

    I also don't think that this article is "advocating for murderers, rapists, and thieves." It's more of a "See, I told you so," sort of article. The state should have expected this response. When the law of unintended consequences wreaks its vengeance on a stupid or unjust state policy, the people who point at it and say "You brought this on yourself," aren't "advocating" the bad consequence. They may be being a little smug and unkind about the error that created the consequence, but that's about it.

  • Fluffy||

    "If all of you campaigning against the War on Drugs would first install the flat tax and eliminate all government programs involving transfer payments from earners to non-earners, you'd have plenty of support. I'm all for giving people full freedom to make whatever choices, so long as they personally bear all of the costs."

    Basically you're saying you don't want the War on Drugs ended because you don't want to make welfare payments to people who take drugs.

    You're making vastly more welfare and Medicaid payments to the children of people incarcerated for drug crimes, and to the children of people who can't enter the workforce productively once they've been branded as being part of the criminal justice system.

    Assuming that drug use would create personal failure at about the rate of that created by alcohol, or maybe a slightly higher rate, I feel comfortable in my naked assertion that drug legalization would create a large class of people whose drug use would have little or no impact on their life trajectory, and a small group of people who would end up as homeless deadbeats. The question becomes whether that group of homeless deadbeats is larger or smaller than the group of people we're incarcerating now, at IMMENSE state expense, and larger than the group of people whose life trajectory is dramatically altered by a drug conviction.

  • ||

    @Some guy. Are you saying that you think the readers of reason magazine are suburban high school students?? What??

  • ||

    the pollyannas in the libertarian movement who think we started this conflict, and all we have to do is quit fighting to win?

    Thanks for clearing up why we make fun of LGF.

    Would you like to take a crack at showing everyone how well we make fun of Dondero-ites?

  • ||

    "Isn't the police 'blue wall of silence' the most successful stop snitchin' campaign in history?"

    No. That honor would go to the Roman Cathoilc sex abuse scandal. Some cops have dropped a dime on other bad cops. No priest has ever snitched on a child molester wearing a collar.

  • Ed Piman||

    Forget not snitching. I have made a vow to myself: if I ever to sit on a jury on a drug case, I WILL NOT CONVICT. Period.

  • ||

    Stop Snitchin' is all the First Amendment. Let's not follow the gov't down the path of censorship. After all, censorship is becoming America's favorite past-time. The US gov't (and their corporate friends), already detain protesters, ban books like "America Deceived" from Amazon and Wikipedia, shut down Imus and fire 21-year tenured, BYU physics professor Steven Jones because he proved explosives, thermite in particular, took down the WTC buildings. Free Speech forever.
    Last link (before Google Books caves to pressure and drops the title):
    America Decevied (book)

  • ||

    It's best to avoid any contact with the police.

    Excellent words of wisdom.

    I've personally been charged with a phony crime and saw how the police lied and failed to perform basic police work, like talking to witnesses, apparently because it's just easier not to do so - and I was the one who was dumb enough to call the cops: never again! At this point I'd feel conflicted over whether to report a crime I'd witnessed (assault, theft, whatever). I'd never report any sort of drug activity (but then I never would have, regardless of the above events).

    some very real injustices in the way police use drug informants.

    No doubt the WOD is a big component of 'stop snitchin' - beside the fact that "prohibition causes crime" it tends to erase the difference between consensual behavior and real crime.
    And, as Albert E. famously said: "The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this."

    On the other hand, this article/paper/study by DuBois in 1899 is pre-WOD and yet most of it could be right out the present.

    if I ever to sit on a jury on a drug case, I WILL NOT CONVICT. Period.
    A woman in Colorado was persecuted, er, prosecuted, for doing just that.

  • Anonymous||

    When I was called for jury duty on a King County (Seattle) drug trial a few years back, one of the questions asked by the prosecutor during jury selection was something like "Do you believe the government dedicates too many resources to prosecuting non-violent drug cases?".

    Along with a couple others, I answered in the affirmative. All of use were removed from further consideration as jurors by the prosecution using peremptory challenges.

    I wonder if that woman in Colorado was asked a similar question, answered falsely (having been sworn in earlier) and is now being prosecuted not so much for her preference for jury nullification as for lying during voir dire.

  • ||

    SWAT should be used only when a barricaded and armed criminal has taken hostages. It should never be used to execute drug warrants.

  • LibertyPlease||

    Mr. Henry T., have you read the 'America Deceived' book? I looked at the first chapter on Google Books, it looks pretty lousy...

    http://www.iuniverse.com/lookinside/LookInside.jsp?isbn=0595385230&page=5

  • Anti-Wonk Machine||

    The drug war has so poisoned many police-community relationships that the police can't get cooperation from witnesses to murders and rapes.

    The facts of life don't emanate from policies in Washington. It works the other way around.

    If you were one of the types who lives in the kind of place that's called a "community" by the press and government, you'd have good reason to believe that you're less safe in the company of a policeman, in any circumstance, than you are with a gangster who knows you saw him rape and murder somebody.

    The drug war is symptomatic of that. Laws are effects.

    Unthinkable, isn't it?

  • Jennifer||

    Seems Aesop's fable of the boy who cried wolf has applications in modern times, too. The cops have shown themselves unworthy of trust or respect so many times, it's understandable people view them with a gimlet eye even on those rare occasions they DO deserve it.

  • ||

    "When I was called for jury duty on a King County (Seattle) drug trial a few years back, one of the questions asked by the prosecutor during jury selection was something like "Do you believe the government dedicates too many resources to prosecuting non-violent drug cases?"."

    I wonder what happens to you if you lie, i.e. what if you, "fuck no, I say burn the dopers", in a slightly more politically correct way, and then refuse to convict once sequestered. Can the authorities "do" anything to you?

  • Scooby||

    Wayne, that's perjury. It's a crime. They can and will fuck you up if you do this.

    Screening for political views in voir dire is contrary to the spirit of the jury system, but lying to evade that screening is against the spirit and letter of the law.

  • ||

    Radley Balko's post above has introduced an idea that is essential for comprehension of the "stop snitching" controversy that until now has been conspicuously missing. However I think he does not go far enough.


    Radley suggests that it is merely mistrust of the police that has resulted in black Americans refusing to cooperate in the investigation of real crimes in their communities. In reality the black underclass trust the police to act strictly according to their rules of engagement just like any other army of occupation.


    There is no such thing as equality before the law. The law exists to protect good people and punish bad people, it does not exist to protect bad people or to punish good people. The reason the police are in black communities is not to protect their members from crime but to protect white people from the black people by getting as many of the latter into prison for as long as possible. The long term aim is to eliminate the problem posed by the continuing existence of the black people. If the police knew for certain that a particular person had killed a member of the black underclass, they would not want to prevent this person doing it again by convicting them, rather they would want to convict a convenient scapegoat chosen from their target lists. The members of the black underclass know this, and know that giving information to the police even on a real crime is dangerous and likely to bring harm to others than the real perpetrator of the crime. "Don't collaborate" is a better rendition of the message than "stop snitching".


    One can go further. One of the main reasons that there is so much crime amid the underclass is that the members of the underclass do not have the protection of the law. The agents of the law do not treat crime against a member of the underclass with the same seriousness as they would treat a similar crime against a member of the respectable classes and would consider a suggestion that they do treat such a case seriously as an insult. In addition a member of the underclass who does not want to become a victim needs to learn effective use of violence to protect himself.


    As to "the war on drugs", this is an alias, it should be called by its real name as "the war on niggers". It is past time to see the discriminatory effects on blacks of the drug laws as an unintended consequence of a policy started in good faith.

  • ||

    A correction to my previous post. The last sentence should read:-


    It is past time to stop seeing the discriminatory effects on blacks of the drug laws as an unintended consequence of a policy started in good faith.

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