by The Other Katherine Harris
The Other Katherine Harris’s blog
May 18, 2008
“Crime doesn’t pay, but we do,” advertise police in Jacksonville, Florida. This and similar campaigns from coast to coast have created a new cottage industry for the downtrodden: turning in their friends, neighbors and even family members. As Sgt, Zachary Self, who answers Crime Stoppers calls in Macon, Georgia, and recognizes the voices of those who’ve phoned before, observed, “Two or three arrests per week, you could make $700, $750 … better than a minimum-wage job.”
Actually, the take varies from market to market and can be as little as $50 per arrest, but there’s the possibility of a bonus, should a gun be recovered, and these pittances can add up for those who move in certain circles. The real profit, however, stands to be made by the corporate prison industry. No doubt they’re thrilled that tips are up from 25 to 44 percent for the first quarter of 2008, over the same period last year. It’s another blessing of recession for those who run our world. “We’re kind of banking on that, really,” admitted Trish Rouette, Crime Stoppers coordinator in Florida’s Lee County, site of our nation’s top home foreclosure rate in February and March and the recent loss of a vast number of construction jobs.
This shocking account, which evokes the glory days of Hitler Youth, is in today’s New York Times — an edition that also reported on a new crime museum in Washington, DC. Among the family attractions of this neocon freak show will be information on how to report crime, as well as opportunities to watch Fox TV’s John Walsh host “America’s Most Wanted” and to participate in the virtual shooting of a suspect. Its creator, John Morgan, owns various amusement parks and a Florida law firm and believes, ”We as Americans, we as people, have a deep, deep fascination with crime and punishment.”
Although I personally attribute the semblance of that sad obsession to a tedious superfluity of crime-based TV shows and films and would love to see them all vanish, the Times tells us a “somewhat similar National Law Enforcement Museum is slated to open” in the vicinity of Morgan’s venue.
Can anyone seriously doubt that all the crime hype is just another circus to distract us while the Masters of Universe continue to impoverish the public – even to such an extreme that many will spy for the police state to make their rent or keep the lights on? Mind you, I’m no apologist for those who commit serious offenses, but the bulk of this is bound to concern victimless, drug-oriented rubbish and we already have far too many non-criminals behind bars.