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by Peter Moskos

August 13, 2016

Teach your children well

Just came across this gem, that happened back when I was on the street. It's community policing, with an Eastern District twist.
While going around the block and stopped at an intersection (321 Post), two boys, 10-to-13 years old, come up near the window of my car, and one says to another: "give me the money."

"How much?"I ask.

"$50"

"How’d you get $50?" I asked.

"$50,000!"

"Whew, that’s a lot of money."

They come up to my window and one says, "lock me up!"

"What have you done?"

"Lock me up at take me to city hall!"

"If we take you to city hall, what would you tell the mayor?" I'm thinking this is a great opportunity for 'stop the violence' or 'we need more schools.'

"Tell the mayor I'll bomb his house and rape his wife!"
How does one respond to this? It's not easy to leave a cop speechless. I drove off.

12 comments:

David Madden said...

This highlights why fixing the hood is next to impossible. The people who try to engineer the fixes seem to come from the middle and upper class. They think a ghetto is the same as their neighborhood, just with less money.

Peter Moskos said...

The problems are multifold. Money does tend to mitigate a lot of problems. But culture matters, too. We don't know how to change culture for the better, and we're too cheap to spend money.

aNanyMouse said...

If we weren't too cheap to spend the $, we might be able to change the culture, via the ideas discussed in last March's thread about "A Cloak of Silence After a South Bronx Killing".

As long as we let Hood youngsters be raised by Mamas with no clue, in UNsupervised housing, and Pappas with no (legally employed) income, these youngsters will have no conception of how to fit into non-gang society.

Peter Moskos said...

And suddenly we're talking about identifying and fixing real problems. Why do that, we can just put all the blame police?

What's odd to me is that nobody really thinks society doesn't matter. And yet conservatives pretend that kids growing up the worst social conditions have the same chances to succeed, and liberals pretend that once they're grown up, the only thing holding them back is society.

Liberals shouldn't let conservatives monopolize talk of culture. And conservatives shouldn't let liberals monopolize discussion of structural problems. And both sides should understand that individual choices matter. Good choices should be rewarded, bad choices should be condemned, but some people aren't in the position to make any real choices at all.

aNanyMouse said...

Couldn't have said it better.
But I'll add to your thought on "... some people aren't in the position to make any real choices at all." Yeah, like when all they know is how to play Gangsta, and their parents and teachers fail to push them, and show them how, to look closely at alternatives (even if the most real options are only flipping burgers).

If street cops get trained in how to easily justify busts of (overwhelmingly white) white-collar crooks, like they get trained in justifying Terry Stops, the racial disparity in percentages of arrests will probably be trivial. Until they get that training, they'll go to where they know the easy busts are, esp. when the brass lean on them for Numbers: in Hoods where playing Gangsta is damn near the only game in town.

Meanwhile, street cops leave busts of Wall St. brass to the experts (e.g. at the FBI & SEC, when the pols deign to have these experts' backs).

Peter Moskos said...

Sheee-it, if you or I or a street cop could understand the details of white collar crime enough to find and prove it, we'd be doing it.

aNanyMouse said...

And, seeing that the pols don't have the backs of Fed agents' probes of Wall St., the best connected of Whites there rake in the coin, while getting the pols and their media shills to stew about street crime, as if that is all that matters.

Meanwhile, kids in the Hood probably don't understand this, but some of their (Keystone Cops) leaders may at least smell some sort of rat, but blame it on racist street cops!

Peter Moskos said...

I don't buy the equivalency between white-collar crime and violent street crime. I'm not saying violence is *all* that matter, but it really does matter so much more. I'd much prefer to be robbed of $10,000 by a stock broker (and perhaps never even know it) than have some kid break in my house and take $1,000.

Nor do I think politicians are shilling about violent crime to distract from the real criminals. People always care about personal safety more than financial matters. As they should.

aNanyMouse said...

I hear you, but I imply equivalency for a macro-reason: I fear that each could reach a tipping point, of the sort which seemed immanent in '08, when Paulson etc. threatened tanks in the streets if Congress didn't rubber-stamp his Bailout bill.

Likewise, for street crime, stuff like we're seeing in Milwaukee could easily lead to tanks in the streets, esp. if the rank-and-file (e.g. among cops or Guardsmen) just up and wash their hands of it all. Google "'power to the people' blm". Mogadishu, anyone, but in a economy that runs on JIT delivery?

To the "leaders" of BLM etc.: revolutions are famous for devouring their children or parents.

Peter Moskos said...

Children are tastier. More tender.

aNanyMouse said...

But parents tend to have more Seasoning!

Chris Prestridge said...

Even on a macro-scale, the two are not equivalent. In ordr to be equivalent, white collar crime would need to be a culture, if you will, within the white community(s). There are not white collar ghettos coast to coast with white collar crime being taugh to generation after generation. WHit collar crime is corruption in the legal definition, a coorupt culture is not the same thing. As for being to cheap to spend money, I posit this is not the case. Trillions of dollars and decades after civil rights legisltaion the staus quo still exist, even after every single additional dollar spent year over year. We aren't afraid to spend, we are instead, afraid to speak to the relevant community with thruth. To many opportunities for power and money to do so. Truth is telling the community, you have 5 kids, 15 kids you will be stuck in the ghetto your entire life and so will your kids. Truth is telling the community that thinking you need not spend any time with your children reading books, having conversation in standard english, viewing schools as someone elses job to educate youre children will mean you livie in and stay in the ghetto the rest of your life. Truth is telling these communities your choice to see g'ment welfare as an acceptable method of suppor will keep you in the ghetto. THe list goes on, we just can't discuss it. The left has to much power to loose in doing so and the right would just as soon allow the status quo to continue so as not to be ruthlessly attacked until death as racist for mere mention of self accountability. Schools have nothing to do with a child arriving day one unable to have a coherent conversation and an attitude of education being a white thing.