Thursday, October 20, 2005

Threatening fashion trend?

I don't know quite what to think of this. It started out as a political statement in Baltimore and maybe also as a sort of threat, but has since evolved into a popular fashion item for kids. It's a universal theme - don't snitch. Nobody likes a tattletale.

But to have them disrupt trials strikes me as somewhat bizarre. In one instance, the witness testifying for the prosecution was wearing the shirt, so it could hardly be construed as a threat although how the jury would have read it is hard to say. In any event, they ejected the witness and the charges were dropped against the defendants.

In the other, the shirts were used as evidence at the sentencing phase. This shirt was more directly connected but still, it didn't sound so much like a threat as it did a warning to the neighborhood that the guy is a snitch. As the author here points out, draconian drug war sentencing has resulted in a lot more pressure on small timers to rat out and more and more cases depend on that to get to court.

It strikes me as hell of bad way to end drug abuse but a really good way to get poor people mad at each other. This is how prohibition causes crime.


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