Sunday, February 05, 2012

Ratting out your relatives

Yesterday's newspaper advice column has two letters encouraging people to anonymously rat out their relatives to the cops:
Dear Annie: My brother lives 100 miles away from his job. He says he has a good job, but our family strongly suspects he is dealing drugs again. ...

Afterward, my brother phoned, angry that I'd called the authorities before speaking to him. He said he'd inspected the house prior to sending the kids there and was assured it was being cleaned up. Annie, I don't believe him. He has a history of dealing and using drugs. He's a liar and a manipulator. Meanwhile, the police did nothing, and now my brother won't speak to me. Even my niece is angry.

I'm beginning to feel I did the wrong thing. How do I fix this? — Hurt in California

Dear Hurt: You did nothing wrong. Your brother cannot be trusted, and the mother of these children is not capable of caring for them. Everyone may be doing the best they can, but it is simply not adequate. Could you or someone in your family take these children into your home? Your brother might be relieved to know they are with a responsible caregiver.

Or, if you still feel the children are in danger, report the conditions anonymously to Child Protective Services and ask them to investigate. If the situation warrants the children's removal from the home, they will handle it.

Dear Annie: "Road Worrier" should check to see whether her state has a Drivers Safety Division. Some have forms online to recommend that a particular driver be tested. Of course, valid reasons have to be stated. The driver in question is then summoned to take a driving test. I had to do this for my father. — Been Down hat Road

Dear Been: Concerned friends and relatives can look online or check their state DMV, local police or department of transportation to see whether such forms are available.
The California busybody is beginning to feel that she did the wrong thing, because she did do the wrong thing. No crime was committed. No one was hurt. She obviously has some long-standing issues with her brother. Maybe he has a history of drug use, but she is a back-stabber.

We have become a nation of spineless snitches. If you don't approve of how your brother is rearing his kids, then go ahead and give him suggestions. If someone's life is threatened, then go ahead and intervene. But don't make anonymous reports to state agencies on your own friends and relatives. Only scumbags do that.

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