Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Informant Society

Americans tend to point the finger at countries like North Korea and their informant societies, forgetting that their own government has a bad habit of trying to make Americans do the same thing. Remember J. Edgar Hoover? Remember Operation TIPS? And now we have the Crime Stoppers program, which makes students spy and inform on one another, with enticing monetary rewards, no less.

For example, if a student sees a fellow student with a handgun, the informant is supposed to squeal to the police. While promoters of the program say this justifies the program, this is the wrong approach to the problem. Instead of making people spy on their fellow citizens, we should be asking more basic questions such as “Why does this person have a gun at school?” “Why can this person have a handgun in the first place?” and “Why is American society so violent?” Unfortunately, the solution of the authorities is to create citizen spies by dangling wads of money in front of their eyes, while these urgent and fundamental questions go unanswered.

Finally, why should it be necessary to pay people? If American students are upright citizens, anyway (and I’m sure most of them are), there is no need for monetary enticements and no need for such a program. Law enforcement agencies should be able to give us plenty of examples in which upstanding Americans have gone out of their way to contact the authorities and volunteer information when they thought something was wrong.

Crime Stoppers looks like yet another attempt to control Americans by making them spy and inform on one another.

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