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Learning the Hard Way

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Learning the Hard Way

Life in state prison for a known snitch can be measured with an egg timer.

In December 2008 Scott Thorson made a plea deal with the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office in California. He admitted to possessing methamphetamine and driving under the influence in August 2008, and possessing methamphetamine for sale in March of 2008. He also pled guilty to multiple theft charges: $827.60 in groceries from an Albertson’s Market in Palm Springs in April 2007; $171.21 in groceries from a Stater Brothers store in La Quinta in July 2007; and a theft from a La Quinta Target store in December 2006.

In exchange for his plea, the Riverside D.A.’s Office reduced the charges to meth possession with intent to sell and one charge of theft from a hardware store incident in California’s Coachella Valley. He will serve two years in California state prison.

Scott Thorson learned the hard way that some days a guy can’t win.

cover art

Snitch Jacket

Christopher Goffard

(Penguin; US: Sep 2008)

Life in prison will not be easy for Scott, not with a lifelong reputation as a seller of secrets, a man who trades intimacies for whatever he can get; that is Scott’s survival instinct, it’s all he knows. In the novel Snitch Jacket by L.A. Times reporter Christopher Goffard, the author points out that life in state prison for a known snitch can be measured with an egg timer.

“First they push you into a broom closet,” Goffard writes. “Then they bust out your teeth and take turns while you kneel. Then they cut out your tongue and say, ‘You won’t talk to pigs no more, not even in hell.’ Then they slip the shank, and by then, you’re glad to say: So long.”

In September 2001 Eddie Nash agreed to a plea bargain arrangement on Federal charges under the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act for running a drug dealing and money laundering operation. Nash also admitted to jury tampering in the 1990 trial that had been bolstered by Thorson’s testimony against him, and to ordering his associates to retrieve his stolen property from the Wonderland drug den in 1981, but he denied planning the murders that occurred that night. He received a four and a half year prison sentence with credit for time already served and a $250,000 fine.

Eddie Nash was released in 2002 and today is a free man in Los Angeles.

One Last Question
Historically, I said to Cletus Nelson, freelancers and independent contractors are usually the first to feel the pinch of an economic decline. Wouldn’t it behoove the U.S. Labor Department, I wondered, as well as statisticians in other nations, to track trends within this labor sector as a harbinger of a looming economic crisis?

Nelson considered my proposition carefully before answering.

“I think that’s an excellent suggestion and a good way to detect outlying economic trends,” the author of Depression 2.0 said. “Unfortunately, as cynical as this may sound, I’ve really started to question whether the federal government is all that interested in maintaining statistics that accurately reflect the state of the economy. 

“We simply don’t measure inflation or Gross Domestic Product (GDP) like we did in the past. Government statisticians use hedonic pricing formulas, geometric weighting, and other questionable methods to artificially lower the rate of inflation or pump up the GDP.  The same goes for the Federal Reserve—it’s become an altogether political institution.  Moreover, I also wonder if the IRS won’t be taking a more aggressive stance towards freelancers as tax revenues dry up. So long as there is a climate of suspicion towards the self-employed, I doubt this kind of information sharing will be feasible at this time.”

Rodger Jacobs has won multiple awards and grants for his work as a journalist, documentary writer and producer, screenwriter, playwright, magazine editor, true crime writer, book critic, columnist, and live event producer. He provided the preface and original inspiration for Jack London: San Francisco Stories (Sydney Samizdat Press) in 2010.

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