Like a lot of Mexican towns, Florencia has had its share of problems dealing with drug gangs. That is until recently, when new narcos rolled into
town telling residents that they were there to liberate them. They promised that people would live in peace and tranquility. And so far, it's working. As long as the narcos are on the streets with guns, people feel safe. That and other stories of thugs.
Host Ira Glass tells the story of Florencia de Benito Juarez, a small town in Mexico where a new drug gang recently took over. They promised peace and tranquility, and for the most part, they're making good on those promises. Thugs: keeping order. (7 minutes)
"Thug" is a very imprecise word. And as producer Nancy Updike explains, the subjectivity of its meaning has been particularly apparent during the recent revolution in Egypt. Translations in this story are read by actor Michael Chernus. (17 minutes)
Reporter Laura Beil tells the story of a kid named Kenneth Williams and an adult named Ton'Nea Williams (who share a last name but are not related). Ton'Nea has been stuck with this question: is Kenneth a thug or not? (30 minutes)
Producer Blue Chevigny tells more of the story from Bristol County, where the immigration law of 1996 has a community of non-political people reluctantly going to protests, attending meetings at night, talking to politicians, and doing all sorts of other things most of us would do anything to avoid.
Journalist Steve Bogira tells the story of Vincent Bogan, who said "no" to something once—a decade ago, when he was 21—and now has to live with that one decisive act. Bogan was arrested and charged with 17 counts of armed robbery.