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TEACHING THE ECONOMICS OF PATRIOTIC SNITCHING

By Leon Felkins


Of late, several news articles have reported cases in which schools, in cooperation with the local police department, have started programs in which students can earn cash for simply informing on their fellow students and/or families who may be in some way involved with illegal guns or drugs. One such article appeared in the Nov. 22 edition of the Miami Herald.

The article says,

Two of Broward's largest cities are starting programs to reward schoolchildren for turning in kids who bring guns to school.

Hollywood Commissioner Dick Blattner proposed Wednesday that the city adopt the program, which Fort Lauderdale started Oct. 19.

In Fort Lauderdale, kids can get $100 rewards for anonymous tips leading to the arrest of kids illegally carrying guns at school or in the community. Fort Lauderdale borrowed the idea from Charleston, S.C.

. . .

Meanwhile, Hollywood may discontinue another police program aimed at youths. Blattner has asked City Manager Sam Finz to study whether the city's DARE program is effective.

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program targets kindergartners through fifth-graders. Police officers visit schools, give talks and hand out anti-drug paraphernalia.

Hollywood commissioners voted to spend $25,000 of forfeiture funds to continue the program for another year. But Blattner said other cities have discontinued it, finding it ineffective in reducing drug abuse in youths.

There seems to be no doubt that this program will be more effective than DARE, for it is multiple benefits beyond just radically decreasing drug use:

1. It absorbs some of the excess forfeiture spoils which will allow and encourage more forfeiture effort.

2. It teaches the kids a bit of economics and self sufficiency. The business of "paid informing" has become one of the most profitable industries in America today with some "professionals" (murderers, rapists, airline ticket agents, etc.) earning millions annually, it is said. Federal law awards up to 25% of a successful asset grab and the latest (1996) DOJ Forfeiture Fund report says about $17 million was paid out for "Awards for Information" in FY96. More on how the pros work with the justice system in separating ordinary citizens from their savings and their livelihood is reported in the new series, "Win at all Costs: Government Misconduct in the Name of Expedient Justice", located at http://www.post-gazette.com/win/, as noted in the previous FEAR-list email post by Richard Lake.

3. It teaches the kids good citizenry. Reporting on law breakers would seem to be a civic duty in the land of "rule by law, not mobs", no matter how abusive these laws may be. As with all government programs, this reporting will not be limited to just drugs and guns but will be eventually expanded to all areas of societal abuse (with the possible exception of actual violent crimes such as rape and murder) including the telling of sexy and/or racial jokes by Uncle Clide (See Janet Reno's web page for kids at http://www.usdoj.gov/kidspage/bias-k-5/home_intro.htm).

4. It may even bring in a gun or two -- particularly from some hapless parent who threatens some student with punishment for not doing any homework in the last two years. In these, "It Takes a Village" times the lesson for these young minds "full of mush" is that the state comes before the family if you know what is good for you.

5. It teaches them about modern "criminal justice" in that it is now almost entirely based on plea bargaining and paid informants. Unlike the old days when cops had to actually gather evidence to bring someone to trial, at much risk of life and limb, they can now spend their time applying for much needed grants (see the COPS program audit at http://www.usdoj.gov/oig/copsumma/copstat1.htm), giving DARE lectures, and posing as prostitutes to entrap ordinary citizens who have alleged deviant sexual desires but lack presidential privileges.

I think the folks in Broward county are to be commended for this noble effort in societal and civic education. I would say their graduates will have a better than average chance to grow up to be President some day!


(c)1998 Leon Felkins



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22 November, 1998