Roy Exum: The Snitch Amongst Us

Tuesday, August 6, 2019 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

There is a bundle of practical wisdom that can be spun from the ages-old saying, “In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” Man, that can be used in a universe of everyday applications and, if you’ll grant me a moment, allow me to let you on to a secret that may be fun to watch. You need to understand about our Department of Education “snitch” because I’m thinking this will be a fun show as it plays out.

But, first, you need to understand two things: In every large prison there is a “code” among the inmates. It is such the same as our society, where we either consciously or subconsciously separate the good people from the bad people. In prison there are levels of a jailhouse pecking order. The second thing is that the lowest of the low is a snitch. The absolute worst thing a person can do is “rat out” another con, turn in their neighbor because his grass is too high, or – in this particular set of circumstance, use Facebook or another of the social network tools to cause harm or disarray.

Tom Dees, a criminologist who attended Alabama before becoming a well-versed lawman in Reno, explains the pecking order in prisons and, to me, it is a fascinating replica of life in a factory, a high school, a church (!) or a sports team:

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(Written by Tim Dees, a criminal justice professor who retired from the Reno Police Department. This appeared on the Quora webside May 20, 2015.)

Mr. Dees writes: “At the top of the heap would be high-ranking members of crime organizations. Old-style Mafia first come to mind. These guys are still powerful, but maybe not as much as they used to be. More likely you'll find people in what are usually called "gangs," e.g. Crips, Bloods, Black Guerrilla Family, Latin Kings, MS-13, etc. There are also gangs that operate mainly within prisons, such as the Mexican Mafia, Aryan Brotherhood, United Blood Nation, etc. Most established prison gangs have alliances with "free world" gangs.

“Members of these gangs, the "soldiers," are the next level down. They are protected by other gang members, as an insult or assault on any gang member is viewed as an act against the entire gang. The origin of prison gangs was for mutual protection, usually against other ethnic/racial factions. Prison and street crime gangs don't have much of an equal opportunity program.

“Below this level are run-of-the-mill prisoners who have no gang alliance. This is the largest group of prisoners. They do their best to stay out of gang politics and disputes. Barring some complications where one runs afoul of a gang member, it's easily possible for an inmate to quietly do their time. Prison etiquette must be observed, e.g. don't disrespect others, don't help the staff with investigations, remain in your own area, etc., but most will not be pressured to join a gang.

“Some prisoners are called out for their lack of confidence and backbone, and made "wives" of other inmates. Some of their duties are housekeeping and other menial chores, and some are sexual in nature. Assuming this role means you have a protector, so you're safe from other inmates (as long as your "owner" remains powerful, anyway), but you're essentially the slave of the inmate who co-opts you. This happens, but not as often as prison movies might have you believe.

“Below this are inmates who are incarcerated for crimes even other inmates find reprehensible. Crimes where the victims could be another inmate's loved ones are targeted. These include rape and sexual offenses against children. Inmates will victimize these people just to act out rage gathered from other sources, because they have no relevant social status. They are throw-away people.

“Ironically, these inmates can be the easiest ones for the staff to manage. They are often more intelligent and well-educated than the average inmate, and they don't want to make enemies among the staff. They might get prison jobs where their intellect is useful, like clerking or assisting with educational programs.

“At the bottom of the stack, lower than low, are informants, or 'snitches.' You don't have to participate in another inmate's rule-breaking or crime, but you never tell staff what another inmate is up to. Doing so often means a semi-permanent assignment to administrative segregation, where you spend most of your time in your cell and have few privileges or diversions. Even if the inmate you informed on is released, goes to another institution, or dies, he likely still has friends on the inside who will waste no time in reminding you that you violated the inmate code of conduct."

* * *

During mandatory in-service training for Hamilton County teachers last week, a black lecturer most unwisely included a segment on “white privilege,” which most white people – including the vast majority of Chattanooga’s teachers – find as repulsive and idiotic and the newest nonsense craze in a disgusting stream of race-baiting.

Taught by a man who claims to have played with pro football’s Minnesota Vikings as a “ghost”; there is no mention of “Robert Jackson” on the Vikings’ website, nor is he listed on either the club’s or the NFL’s exhaustive alumni list, but that is of little consequence.  His biggest falsehood is that he portends to be an expert on why “white privilege,” for example, has caused 40 percent of Hamilton County’s 43,000 students to be unable to read at grade level.

And while the embarrassed Department of Education spokesman insisted the slides “have been taken out of context and misrepresented in Facebook posts,” the public comments renewed the belief the Hamilton County Department of Education is as inept as it is unmistakably wrong. The school’s superintendent, Bryan Johnson, has been unavailable to media outlets since the hoax was exposed to the public.

Seriously, what speaker Jackson has learned is how to make money going from city to city with his messages for minorities. His “white privilege” segment is a huge draw because he teaches minorities can’t be racists. He even has a number of photographic charts he uses that are so preposterous it is a wonder his mandatory audiences do not laugh him from any stage:

“White privilege is both a legacy and a cause of racism,” and, “White privilege means you are less likely to be followed, interrogated, or searched by law enforcement,” and, “Even when minorities express or practice prejudice against whites they are not racist.”

At first it was believed the “white privilege” catastrophe was exposed by black conservative Patrick Hampton, who categorized the slides as “Eternal Victimology 101.” Hampton wrote, "This is what Hamilton County employees and teachers had to sit through. This is called professional development. The liberal left is running the school system and pushing their agenda onto our children with our tax dollars. #GetOut"

But – no – over the weekend it was found a teacher within the HCDE faculties was so affronted by the audacity of school leadership who forced the staff to listen to such drivel the teacher shared the slides on a personal Facebook page and a number of  equally incredulous friends “shared” the slides on their Facebook pages. This is how Chattanooga’s news sites gained access to the caustic materials being forced on the Opportunity Zone schools.

By Saturday morning the HCDE’s embarrassed leaders were on an active search for the originator and along comes “The Snitch.” The teacher who posted the slides was quickly outed by the snitch and the school system has a quite effective way of dealing with what their officers call “problem employees.”

The teacher who shared the slides was mortified the “whiteness” debacle was by now attracting the national media and the affronted teacher was fearful her contract would be terminated because it is alleged the HCDE wouldn’t dare allow such an example of “swift retribution” to end without any blood on the floor.

Yesterday morning a Chattanooga lawyer actually laughed at such a notion. Not only would such a mistake of vengeance be a direct violation of the teacher’s rights to free speech, there are other laws that protect a whistleblower's rights, privacy and personal concerns. There are also limits that can be enforced against a “snitch” and – yes – both people in the justice community, the news media, and the huge army of principals and teachers who side with all that is right and good, as some of God’s chosen people, know exactly the name of the brave teacher who took a stand against a forced tutorial in racism.

Curiously, a lot of these same people know the name of the bully, the Snitch, and even what she had hoped to accomplish. If the tale is true, a bunch of folks think your time’s drawing nigh. And, for what it’s worth: Word has it there may be a teacher opening coming up before ‘first snow’ in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, but buy the best deep-snow boots you can. (If that job is taken, we hear the government is looking for teachers down around Juarez, Mexico’s border but, hey, you won’t need snow shoes).

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