Wednesday, August 15, 2007

In A Stop Snitchin' Culture, Those Who Talk Are Brave

In certain segments of society, there is a "Stop Snitchin'" code. That is, if you see a crime happening, you shouldn't talk to the police, or "snitch." This leads to a very low percentage of crimes, even murders, being solved. Even murders where there might be 25, 50 witnesses.

I can see why some people might be distrustful of police. I for one, don't really believe in giving any stranger my blind allegiance just because of their job. There are corrupt cops out there, just like there are unjust judges that make egregious decisions. My husband grew up in the inner city area of Los Angeles, and even though he's never gotten into trouble outside of a few traffic/parking infractions, he certainly does not have an affinity for them.

You have a segment of society that is afraid to speak out if they witness a crime. People like rapper Cam'ron say that they wouldn't even tell the police if they knew that a serial killer was living next door. ??? I think that he later said it was a joke or something, but some joke. This is not a society that I want to live in, where anybody can get away with murder and the only type of justice is vigilante justice.

Busta Rhymes witnessed the murder of Israel Ramirez, but has refused to cooperate with police to bring justice to the killer. And of course Biggie Smalls and Tupac Shakur were both murdered where there should have been plenty of people that could have testified. Somebody knows what happened in all three of these killings.

Someone like Cam'ron, if they "snitched", could lose their street credibility, lose some record sales, and perhaps have people call them all sorts of mean names or even write nasty songs about them. These sorts of consequences aren't exactly trivial to them, but to me it speaks of a great cowardice to not do the right thing in order to avoid losing record sales and being mocked. Either that, or great selfishness.

The average person might suffer worse consequences for snitching. Someone might try to take revenge. They might lose their friends. It's not an easy thing for them either.

Heroism and bravery isn't making a rap album talking about how great you are. Heroism and bravery is not making a lot of money, or being adored by millions. Doing what is right, no matter what the consequences, makes someone a hero. It is within the realm of the brave.

I'm not a fan of Curtis Jackson, A.K.A. 50 Cent. I don't care for his music. But he did supposedly cooperate with a police investigation, despite the fact that as a result he's had derogatory songs written about him. Maybe he lost record sales as a result. I don't know too much about him in other areas, so I can't comment on anything else, but his action in this instance was a form of bravery.

When I was pregnant with dd, there was a drive-by shooting outside my mother-in-law's house, where I was staying at the time. The first thing that I remember happening was there was a rattling on our door, as if someone was trying to get in the house (it was locked, fortunately). Then we heard some commotion and the gunshots. We didn't look out the windows to see what was going on, that would have been foolish on our parts. So we didn't really have anything to say to the police other than what I just wrote here. But we did say what we knew. And there were people there who saw what happened. I hope that they talked.

Snitches don't talk either because they have a mixed up sense of right and wrong, or they are cowards. In a subculture where snitching is seen as a form of selling out and is strongly frowned against by friends and neighbors, those that do talk show true bravery.

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