The Myth Of "Stop Snitching"

Marc Fisher, commenting on PG County CO's refusal to talk about a case in which a suspect was murdered:

...why should bad guys and ordinary citizens pay heed when police and prosecutors lecture them about how it's their civic duty to come forward with information about crimes? If law enforcement officers won't think of themselves as righteous whistle-blowers rather than as rats or snitches, how can a system that depends on witness testimony possibly function?

I've always loved watching cops, politicians, and moral arbiters invoke the "Stop Snitching" phenomenon as some sort of newly minted explanation for violent crime in the black community. Heavy on nostalgia, advocates of the "Stop Snitching" explanation proffer a mythical, fantastical ghetto where in the halcyon days of yore, it was easy to get witnesses to squeal on the thugs who lived next door. But now we live in the fallen era of black pathology, where criminals tend to act like, you know, criminals and threaten people whose words might send them to jail. When its black people refusing to testify against their neighbors, it's evidence of cultural collapse. But when its cops or correctional officers--people sworn to uphold justice--refusing to rat on each other in a murder case, well it's just following union advice.