Narks, rats, grasses, snitches and canaries are all slang terms for informers or ‘tell tales’ as we termed them in primary school. Such have been reviled long before Judas dobbed in Jesus for loose change. In the hierarchy of the criminal world they are on the lowest rung, down there with granny bashers.
But things, as I am fond of pointing out, have changed. Informing on your neighbour has become the civic duty of every solid citizen. There is no need to test your strength of character by personally attending to problems with others’ behaviour. There are appropriate channels for such things.
On the notice board at the Wellsford Community Centre is a bold poster encouraging, in the name of Crimestoppers, members of the community to report on baddies. I decided to do my civic duty and rang this number to report that I have long been the victim of extortion by an organised criminal gang. Fronting as a legitimate organisation they made promises and threats, took thousands of my dollars, but reneged on their promises. They have, I said, lately begun demanding ever-larger amounts from me and I simply can‘t afford it any more. I divulged their identity and the whereabouts of their gang headquarters.
Having done my civic duty I expected a large contingent of police and a helicopter or two to descend upon the council buildings in Dargaville. I felt sure that, for a taxpaying New Zealand citizen who had been a victim of fraud and extortion, they would really pull out the stops. I am still waiting. To date no arrests have been made, no charges laid.
Likewise I felt compelled to report suspicious activity observed on the north side of the Brynderwyns. I noticed a late model van parked on the road shoulder in obvious and flagrant contravention of our freedom camping laws. I decided to investigate further and found that not only were the van’s windows darkened but some sick puppy had mounted a camera inside to photograph unsuspecting motorists. I think you’ll agree that for public safety I was right to report this. This sort of weird voyeurism should not be tolerated in a civilised democratic society.
Again there has been no response from our public service agencies. I’ve noticed similar vans doing exactly the same thing at other locations. Could there be an organised ring of perverse voyeurs out there, working in concert?
A little confused as to why none of my complaints had been acted upon I began to have some concerns regarding our law enforcement. I then found out that although it is illegal to use a cell phone whilst driving it is okay if you are dobbing in another motorist. Yes *555 callers are exempt from the law. It must be that calls to relatives, friends, takeaway bars or the talking clock are dangerous but calls to rat on your neighbour are not. If you do happen upon an unsafe driver and phone the nark number, there are now two unsafe drivers on the road.
We live in an enlightened age indeed, clearly the result of all this progress stuff I’ve heard so much about. If you have a problem with someone there is no longer any need to meet with them and discuss the issues. If your neighbour is noisy, there is noise control; If they smack their children CYFS will welcome your call. From cars with dope smokers to dopes with smokey cars, the police and the transport agency are there to help. The IRD, WINZ, ACC, MAF, FSA, SFO, and just about every other acronym have trained staff awaiting your call of casual treachery – recorded for training purposes of course. For any and every offence, real or imagined, somewhere a state agency wants your information so they can make things better. I wonder why they never do?
As for my own acts of civic duty? No good has come from them and I have still not received my thirty pieces of silver.