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Teach the children well...

Gangs are a problem in most major cities, Boston included. Police are always looking for ways to break up the gangs, and one of the best tools they have is getting gang members and witnesses to testify against each other. The gangs have been fighting back against this, threatening and killing potential witnesses. They denounce and threaten them in rap songs and videos. Some have even put together DVDs that threaten people who would testify.

They've been pushing the street culture to reject cooperating with the police. Last summer, the mother of a gang member accused of shooting and killing a ten-year-old girl had "Stop Snitching" T-Shirts made for spectators to wear at his trial.

Apparently, those T-shirts became quite a fashion statement. A teenage boy, hired for the summer by the city to work at a day-care center, wore one while escorting his charges to the Boston Aquarium.

The city is NOT amused. They say the boy won't be fired, but are planning on giving all their employees a lecture about the dress code.

I think that the best lesson they could give would be to simply fire his stupid ass, but one must remember this is Massachusetts. I think there's a law against common sense in the Commonwealth.

Comments (9)

[email protected]#$!ingbelievable.... (Below threshold)

[email protected]#$!ingbelievable.

Your premise that "one of t... (Below threshold)

Your premise that "one of the best tools they have is getting gang members and witnesses to testify against each other." is slightly off, in my opinion. While there's a lot of benefit in using witnesses in trial testimony, utilizing snitches is bad business.


1. Snitches are typically very unreliable sources of information. They usually will cough up a little bit of useful information and a whole lot of trash in exchange for a diminished sentence, resulting in empty cases for law enforcement and innocent people being forced to defend themselves against the allegations of a criminal.

2. They are always acting in their own best interests. They could care less about what benefit they're being to law enforcement, they only worry about saving their own skins. This ties to point number one, and further diminishes their usefulness, because they know that if they truly "roll over" on someone big, whether they're on the street or in jail, they're dead.

3. Their testimony creates more distrust within the gangs' organization, which on the surface is good. The "down side," however, is that activity is kept quieter, and the environment becomes even more difficult to infiltrate through undercover investigation.

4. They draw police into laziness. When a gang is believed to be involved in illegal activity, law enforcement has two options: to skim the surface for the sloppiest and stupidist element in the group and try to get him to roll over (utilizing the "snitch factor), all based upon what the Academy taught them about gang activity; or they can get out on the street, get a present-day feel for how and where the gang operates, do research into the gang's regional and interstate connections and routes of commuication and transport, then execute a coordinated attack with all the proper warrants and judicial backing that will effectively shut down the faction in question. The latter option takes more time and more work, but it's ultimately much more effective.

Using snitches is like trying to get rid of a grapevine by picking the grapes. They'll just grow back. Law enforcement has become an endless exercise in budget justification--the departments feel like they have to nab a handful of gang members periodically to show the public they're working on the problem, then ask for more money.

I lay the lion's share of the blame on elected officials and an ignorant public who collectively have the attention span, memory, and patience of a three-year-old. Still, law enforcement doesn't need to hold its breath for that one "big break." They need to get out and break things for themselves. Quit looking for a shortcut.

As to this youngster wearin... (Below threshold)

As to this youngster wearing a t-shirt that supports the very element law enforcement is trying to eradicate, however, one wonders why nobody noticed it before it became a "story." That should have been like a loan officer showing up for work at the bank wearing a ski mask.

BoDiddly misses the point.<... (Below threshold)

BoDiddly misses the point.

The devoted mommy of the murderer defines "snitching" as testifying to what you might have seen as a witness under any circumstances. It's similar to the IRA position of killing any Catholic who cooperates with the police in Northern Ireland.

This kid was sorely lacking... (Below threshold)

This kid was sorely lacking in common sense his parents should have taught him. That's assuming they had any themselves.

A tad off topic here. I was... (Below threshold)

A tad off topic here. I was at the NASA space center a few weeks ago sitting while my boys were in the big play area. A group of day center boys gathered near me to meet up to leave (all had on the same t-shirts) They were around 11 or 12. The teen boys in charge didn't look like the type I would want babysitting my boys, but who knows?

Anyway, what happened next has ALWAYS happened whenever I have been to a waterpark, amusement park, or educational place like NASA over the years. The boys start showing me what they bought or telling me what they did. They just gravitate toward a mother I think. They want me to listen, to be interested. And I am. How many times have I watched a child, whose mother I will never know, jump in the water or do a flip? "Watch me!" they shout. And I do and I smile and tell them how great they did it. Some have asked me to take them to the restroom or watch them go down a slide.

These boys at NASA wanted to show me the little trinkets they had bought in the gift shop. they wanted to tell me about the ride they rode.

I can't judge their parents. I don't know their story. But if they only knew how much of the lives of their children they are missing. If they only knew that this short period of time where they really do care that we are paying attention goes so fast. If they only knew how interesting their kids are and fascinated by what they see and do.

My boys ran over and started chatting with them too. My kids are use to it. They know.

The teen counselors look bored and relieved that someone else is keeping the kids occupied until it is time to leave.

They wave goodbye to me, smiling like I am an old friend. They got some attention they deserved and they are grateful.

I wave and smile back, but when they go out the door I am not smiling anymore. I only feel like crying.

I slightly disagree, Bo.</p... (Below threshold)

I slightly disagree, Bo.

Of course, LEOs ought not to assume that information given to them by a snitch is true, any more than they should assume that something published in the Grauniad is. However, if a snitch says, "So-and-so committed such-and-such a crime", they ought to say to themselves, "Well, if this is true, there ought to be such-and-such other evidence; let's see if it exists". Otherwise, they are in the position of having to investigate every resident of the greater metro area (how many are in Boston now?).

Testimony of disaffected or conscience-stricken gangbangers ought to be one facet of the necessary research. It ought to be neither ignored nor considered to be the only thing necessary.

Two things:PLEASE ... (Below threshold)

Two things:

PLEASE don't think gangs are confined to "most major cities". If you think your small town has no "gang problem" you just have a police department who will not publicly 'fess up to it. More than likely it is YOUR town with the "safe houses" where gangbangers come hang out in for months when the big city cops put the heat on their gangs.

Second... "snitching" does not mean to gangs just insiders passing along info to cops...it means ANYONE who says ANYTHING against gangbangers.

People, gangbangers have no morals, ethics or conscience. They are predators and look on anyone outside their circle as prey. They'll even turn on their own ---- rather graphic description at link

What joe said. Plus, even i... (Below threshold)

What joe said. Plus, even if the information isn't reliable, encouraging internal conflict within gangs seems like a good way to keep them busy. You want your organized criminals to be as disorganized as possible.






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