Consider this … being selfless can often be an act of bravery.
Now ask yourself, what do you do when you know that somebody is doing something wrong?
It’s a tough question but typically people answer with the assumption that they would report the person and everything will workout. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to look bad, or they actually believe that they would.
However, it’s important to first consider context. These are questions that should be considered. What if I’m close to the person? What if they intended to do good? What if reporting them can put me in harm’s way?
I bring this question forward because it is a reoccurring theme in The Wire. A colleague recommended the show and I have been hooked since.
I believe that the show is accounting realistic situations that people can face in crime stricken areas. In such an atmosphere, would it be easy for you to report a crime?
I was asked what I would do if I was a witness to a crime years ago and I quickly replied that I would report what I saw. I reasoned that I would report the crime to police because it was the right thing to do, even if it meant moving to a different place to protect myself. I argued that it was for the greater good, so I should be selfless. Of course, it’s hard to be selfless when your life is on the line.
One of the main characters in The Wire was committing a crime near the end of the season. I won’t ruin the show but let’s just say that it involved a police officer and his made up crime case. His friend and partner, knew about what he was doing and didn’t say anything.
While watching the show, I keeping thinking that he should just report his friend, but he doesn’t. He watches and makes snarky remarks as things get out of hand. Yet, it’s difficult to decide how I feel about it. What would I do? He is doing it for the greater good but he’s also causing unnecessary problems.
Likewise, other characters in the show are often witness to murders and vicious crime but they don’t report them to the police. They even get angry when they are questioned by the police, because if anyone assumes that they are snitching, they could be killed.
I heard a lot about snitching from rap music and even in school. However, I never really thought about the impact of snitching and the courageous few who decide to speak on a crime they saw. I think it’s very admirable.
I have greater insight about the hardship of the ghetto life because of this show. Realistically, I don’t know a lot but the show really showed me the importance of not assuming. With all that said, I don’t think I would be able to snitch on someone if I knew that my life was on the line. I guess I’m too selfish.
Or perhaps I may discover that I have a gallant soul, but that’s if I am ever unfortunate enough to be in that position.
What do you think about snitching? Don't be stingy with your thoughts!