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the morality of tattle-taling

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James Bond
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I was watching a documentary on gangs in urban areas...and one of them made the remark that part of the reason they were in a gang was that "working at McDonalds wasn't going to cut it." Well, a fast food worker isn't risking his freedom or life every day. Besides, he could just report to the police that the thug driving the stolen Mercedes is a criminal, and effectively put him behind bars. In that way, criminals are staking everything on the non-snitching nature of others. Thoughts?

Edited by James Bond
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Well, I would say that gang activity is immoral not because gangsters risk their lives or freedom (soldiers do the same thing), but because they are rights violators.

I'm not sure what you mean by "the non-snitching nature of others." Do you mean that criminals count on their crimes not being reported by other criminals?

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I was watching a documentary on gangs in urban areas...and one of them made the remark that part of the reason they were in a gang was that "working at McDonalds wasn't going to cut it." Well, a fast food worker isn't risking his freedom or life every day. Besides, he could just report to the police that the thug driving the stolen Mercedes is a criminal, and effectively put him behind bars. In that way, criminals are staking everything on the non-snitching nature of others. Thoughts?

They are rights violators, vile thugs staking everything on innocent people being too scared and intimidated by them to report them (and other criminals being equally implicated).

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whether or not a person should turn in criminals or just keep to themselves

If you live in a society and derive benefits from it (as we all do), of course you should be interested in seeing justice upheld in that society, and putting rights-violators behind bars ought to be a value to you. However, many of these gangs operate through tactics such as intimidating or threatening witnesses, and if those threats are credible, you have no obligation to some reified concept of "justice" or "civic duty" to turn these people in no matter the cost to you or your family. That would be sacrificing yourself and your values. Thus, in the end it comes down to your personal value structure, and the severity and credibility of the threats made against witnesses.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Consider a scenario which clearly isn't life-threatening:

You're in school taking a test, and you become aware that a student is cheating off your test. Clearly, you are not being harmed directly in any way, or are you? Do you tell the teacher? Why?

Assuming you do not care more about your reputation with that specific student than you do justice, you should tell the teacher. Am I wrong?

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You're in school taking a test, and you become aware that a student is cheating off your test. Clearly, you are not being harmed directly in any way, or are you? Do you tell the teacher? Why?

Assuming you do not care more about your reputation with that specific student than you do justice, you should tell the teacher. Am I wrong?

- First off I would obviously find such behaviour quite amusing as it certainly would not help him pass the actual test, but assuming it would, I see no reason to make a scene of it.

Its not really an issue of "justice" if someone cheats on a test or not. I would not personally do it, but could not care less if others did it unless it explicitly effected me personally.

For example if it was a qualifing test for some specific amount of limited jobs/etc.

Or in cases where the teachers would compare answers, conclude that one of you had to be cheating (if you both got identical answers wrong several times) and arbitrarily make assumptions that could end with you getting the blame.

But aside from that it hardly seems necessary to make a big deal about something that really is not your concern.

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