Why do words like “snitch” and “narc” have distasteful connotations?
And why don’t we hold “tattle tales” and “stool pigeons” in high regard?
Is it because we think people should be able to do bad things and get away with it? Do we like misbehavior to go unpunished?
I think the answer to these last two questions is an emphatic NO. Close to 100 percent of people would want the authorities to know if any of us overheard a terrorist plot. Or somehow found out about a murder. Or knew about some dirtbag who had raped someone.
Yet we still don’t like “narcs” and “stool pigeons,” probably because we know that some rules are bad, misguided, or foolish. For all intents and purposes, most Americans have libertarian sensibilities about victimless crimes.
So while we approve of “tattle tales” if it means we catch genuine criminals who violate the rights of others, we look down on the “snitch” who rats out the guy smoking a joint, the jerk who informs the IRS on a small business owner hiding income, and the weasel who tells the local planning gestapo that someone is remodeling their basement without government approval.
The state of New York is engaging in the same reprehensible tactics, only this time the target is guns rather than money.
Here are some of the nauseating details from a story in the Daily Caller.
For more than a year, New York state has maintained a tip line allowing people to report illegal gun owners and collect a $500 reward. …A February 2012 press release from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office first publicly announced the tip line, saying it was designed to “encourage citizens to report illegal firearm possession.” …On the Facebook page for The Record’s story, several users criticized the tip line for apparently encouraging New Yorkers to spy on each other.
Of course, sometimes the government actually requires us to spy on each other, as is the case with money laundering laws that criminalize innocent behaviors in a costly, intrusive, and ineffective effort to reduce crime.
Not surprisingly, the government is defending this campaign to turn people into stool pigeons for illegitimate reasons.
…a spokesperson for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services defended the program. “This program has been in place for more than a year and is aimed only at getting illegal crime guns off the streets: a goal that every New Yorker can agree with,” wrote Janine Kava, director of public information at NYS DCJS.
What the government should be doing, needless to say, it getting people who do bad things off the street. And that means investigating, arresting, prosecuting, and punishing those who abridge the rights of other people.
It does not mean arbitrarily criminalizing inanimate objects such as guns.
And as this young lady says, the government should only get the guns of law-abiding people under very particular circumstances.
P.S. Andrew Cuomo also happens to be a former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, where he infamously was in charge of imposing so-called affordable lending requirements that helped start the bad Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac policies that eventually led to the housing bubble and financial crisis.