Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Ain't Life A Snitch?????
"Jose Canseco just snitchin because he finish"
Hustlin by Rick Ross
Since we were kids, we were always told that "nobody likes a tattle tale". In 2004, that was taken to a new level. In Baltimore, Maryland, a dvd entitled "Stop Snitchin" was released. In it, local drug dealers, and even then rookie NBA player Carmelo Anthony, railed against individuals who cooperated with authorities. (Anthony later renounced his involvement and claimed that it was all just a joke). Though the "Stop Snitchin" campaign has remained controversial, the undercurrents of it are still present in our society. I have never "snitched" to the police, however I am conflicted on the whole process. In this blog, I want to debate the merits of snitchin. For both the snitch, and those who have been snitched on.
Jose Canseco was a great baseball player who burst onto the scene in 1986, winning the Rookie of the Year award. In 1989, with his fellow "Bash Brother" Mark McGwire, Jose Canseco helped lead his Oakland A's to a World Series title. He was also the first person in Major League Baseball history to hit 40 homeruns, and steal 40 bases in the same major league season. (The feat for which Jay-Z's 40/40 club is named). Canseco was on top of the world. But as his superstar status turned into mediocre status, Canseco bounced around from team to team. Finally in 2001, Canseco called it a career. Not so much because he no longer had the ability to play Major League Baseball, but in his opinion he was being blacklisted. See Jose had a secret. And he believed that Owners and Major League Baseball officials didn't want him to reach certain milestones that would enhance his chances of being enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Canseco decided that he would exact his revenge against Major League Baseball by outing those players in the league whom he either did steroids with, saw doing steroids, or in some cases introduced steroids to. In his book "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big", Canseco tells of personally injecting with steroids such Major Leaguers as the afore mentioned Mark McGwire, Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, and Rafael Palmeiro. He also speculated on probable steroid use by Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds. This book was a revelation for some, and just confirmation for others. Either way, Canseco solidified himself as a pariah within the Major League Baseball community. Canseco's book even lead to Congressional hearings on the Steroid matter.
As a huge baseball fan, I actually supported Jose Canseco "snitchin". Not so much that I felt Steroids were ruining baseball, hell I rooted with half of America for Sammy Sosa to break the single season homerun record. So for me to get on my moral high horse now would be disingenuous. The part about Canseco snitchin that bothered me was that it came purely from a place of revenge. If Canseco just felt compelled to do the right thing, I could understand much better. But Canseco was after blood, and it appeared that he would have sold out his mother in order to achieve vindication.
Now three years after his book release, Canseco seems to have had a change of heart. In a one hour documentary shown on the A&E network, Canseco says that he regrets naming individuals as steroid users. He says that the fire that his book started went way beyond what he ever expected. In my opinion, that's crap. Canseco knew exactly what he was doing. He knew just where his book would lead. Major League Baseball banned Pete Rose for gambling on baseball, and the members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox, or Black Sox as they are known, are still considered banned from Baseball for throwing the 1919 World Series. So where as I could give Canseco some credit for having the guts to come out and speak about rampant steroid use, even if with ulterior motives, I can give him zero credit for going back on it and saying that he had no idea it would lead to this kind of reaction.
What can be said about O.J. Simpson that hasn't already been said? Probably nothing, but I won't let that stop me from speaking my two cents. I found the most recent Simpson trial to be absolutely hilarious. Partly because of the fact that this fool gave the authorities a second chance to fry him, but mostly because of the way he was taken down. In case you've been in a coma for the past year, let me give you a quick recap of the events that took place. O.J., and several other men burst into a room at the Palace Station Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, in order to retrieve memorabilia that O.J. felt was stolen from him. Within hours of the "heist", all the participants were taken into custody. And that's when the fun really began.
In a high stakes game of CYA, O.J.'s co-defendants began cutting deals with the Clark County prosecutors to testify. One of those considered particularly damning to O.J. was Walter Alexander. As stated in this CBS interview, Walter Alexander was a golfing buddy and friend of O.J.'s. As Alexander states, he met O.J. in 1995. Now that is peculiar to me given that O.J. spent the majority of 1995 in the Los Angeles County Jail. My first question is, who befriends an alleged killer fresh out of jail? Well that friendship was quickly abandoned once Walter realized he was potentially facing life in prison for his involvement in the heist in Vegas. Walter testified on behalf the prosecution.
This particular example of snitchin is probably the most common. Its someone who looks at the given situation and says, "shit, I'm not going to jail for him." Much more than in the Jose Canseco situation, I can understand why Walter made the choice he did. While I have some serious questions as to why he would even involve himself with an individual such as O.J., he figured that self preservation was his best choice. I'm sure that given his life as an "alleged pimp," as described by the Associated Press, Walter will have plenty of explaining to do with some individuals from his past. The AP also reported that Walter got a revelation from God telling him to take the plea. Now I'm not one to question anyone's personal relationship with God, but I have to wonder if that was really God speaking to him, or his common sense kicking in? I mean, wouldn't God have gotten in his ear long before Walter was faced with the "difficult" choice of to snitch or not to snitch? (That is the question). I'm guessing God maybe would have spoken to him in 1995 and said "This guy is bad news. Stay as far away from him as you can". Or hell, maybe even further back and said "Pimping is not the way".
To anyone who reads this, and still doesn't quite understand the dilemma some individuals face when it comes to snitchin, there is a television show that will put it in blunt terms for you. Its the First 48, shown on A&E. This show follows detectives in the homicide division as they try to solve murders in cities such as Memphis, Miami, and Dallas. I'd say that this show shines a spotlight, no, make that a flood light on two major components of life. Number one, some crimes are even more senseless than we could ever imagine, and number two, to me, is that the whole "Stop Snitchin" campaign is an abject failure. Why do I say that? Well once an individual gets inside that interrogation room, it takes a strong man, or woman, to ignore the reality of the circumstances he or she is facing. I've seen a lot of episodes of this show, and if there's 25 percent of people who come into that room and don't do some form of snitchin, I'd be surprised.
Most times it seems to be people who want to tell about their minuscule role in the crime, and lay blame at the feet of some friend of theirs. The interesting part they fail to realize is that while telling on their friend, they're sealing their own fate in the process. I recall an episode from Dallas in which a coach of some kind was murdered. The detectives had finally caught someone that they felt was involved in the crime. After some coaxing, the detectives asked the young man, somewhere between 16-19 as I recall, to admit that their intent was to rob the individual, and name the person who did the actual shooting. The young man thought about it, and admitted that he was only there to help with the robbery. The other individual was the one who pulled the trigger. Well at that very instant, this young man sealed his fate. See, in the state of Texas, a murder during the commission of another crime such as kidnapping or robbery, is automatic grounds for the death penalty. (Its what they call special circumstances in some places). Even though this particular young man didn't pull the trigger, had no knowledge that his friend was going to kill this man, his mere involvement in the robbery made him just as culpable. The moral is that when you're snitchin, you might want to have a lawyer present to protect you interests. The police have a job to do, and they don't really distinguish between those who are only 25% at fault versus 100% at fault.
Snitchin has been going on forever. Wherever there is an advantage to be had, an individual will tell all he knows in the interest of self preservation. The code of silence is not as hard to break as it once was. People have too much to lose these days. So if you want to get away with murder, probably literally and figuratively, you might not want to involve the Walter Alexander's of the world in your cockamamie schemes. Because as the GZA put it "I got ya back, so you best to watch your front, cause its the niggaz who front who be pullin stunts".