Monday, May 19, 2008

Turning Us Into A Nation Of Snoops And Snitches

"To gas prices, foreclosure rates and the cost of rice, add this rising economic indicator: the number of tips to the police from people hoping to collect reward money.

Calls to the Southwest Florida Crime Stoppers hot line in the first quarter of this year were up 30 percent over last year. San Antonio had a 44 percent increase. Cities and towns from Detroit to Omaha to Beaufort County, N.C., all report increases of 25 percent or more in the first quarter, with tipsters telling operators they need the money for rent, light bills or baby formula.
“For this year, everyone that’s called has pretty much been just looking for money,” said Sgt. Lawrence Beller, who answers Crime Stoppers calls at the Sussex County, N.J., sheriff’s office. “That’s as opposed to the last couple of years, where some people were just sick of the crime and wanting to do something about it.”
As a result, many programs report a substantial increase in Crime Stopper-related arrests and recovered property, as callers turn in neighbors, grandchildren or former boyfriends in exchange for a little cash."


Stalin's Poster Boy for Snitching

"For half a century the story of Pavlik Morozov was taught to tens of millions of schoolchildren throughout the Soviet Union.
According to Socialist legend Pavlik was a 13-year old boy who discovered that his father, Trofim Morozov, was ‘an enemy of the revolution’. What did young Pavlik do? He informed on his father to the NKVD, the Soviet secret police.
In some versions of the story, young Pavlik walked 60 miles to the nearest NKVD station to denounce his father. In others, it was Trofim's wife, Tatyana, who suspected that her husband was ‘politically incorrect’, and encouraged young Pavlik to rat on his father to his female schoolteacher.

Trofim Morozov was duly arrested, tried, and sent to a labour camp for ten years. The year was 1932. His fate is unknown, and it is likely that Trofim did not long survive.

There are many slang names for an informer: squealer, squeaker, snoop, grass, fink, nark, snitch .... But Pavlik Morozov was elevated to the status of Communist martyr.
Hero-Pioneer of the Soviet Union Number 001 was the official title given to him by Stalin's propagandists in Moscow. His life exemplified the duty of all good children of the revolution to become informers, even at the expense of family ties."

"Crime Stoppers programs strictly protect the anonymity of callers. Each tip is assigned a number, and if the tip results in an arrest, the caller can collect a cash reward, usually by going to a designated bank. Some programs pay tipsters within hours of an arrest; others have monthly meetings to approve reward amounts."



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