Friday, April 07, 2006
Terry: If I spill, my life ain't worth a nickel.
Father Barry: And how much is your soul worth if you don't?
-On the Waterfront (1954)
Wonderful. The charges against two teens charged with beating Samuel McClain in a street full of people last December have been dropped. According to the ADA handling the case:
"There were 20 or 30 people out there that night, and the bottom line is of all those people less than a handful were willing to name names," Hammond said in an interview after the court hearing. "This appears to be the result of a fairly recent 'no snitch' policy in the community."
One girl who has cooperated - but cannot identify the suspects - said people have walked by her on the street and have made references to her being "a snitch," Hammond said.
Thugs putting pressure on people to take it in silence is not new. But political leaders who contribute to an attitude of "us v. them" by repeatedly telling their constituents, in one way or another, that they are the victim of the Man and that it is the police, rather than the thugs, that they should fear encourage the type of alienation that makes "no snitchin'" work.
And, in fairness, police officers who adopt their own "no snitchin' rules do the same thing.