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)
In a way, it's the most classic cat-and-mouse game of all: A nimble graffiti writer dashes out into the night to leave his mark. Watching and waiting for him are the stronger—if less agile—NYPD Vandal Squad, whose sole mission is their arrest.
An accountant, Bruce Wisan, is hired by the state of Utah to clean up a very complicated mess in a complicated place: Short Creek, home to hundreds of members of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints—or FLDS, which practices polygamy. The community had been run by the notorious Warren Jeffs, now in prison for rape.
Ira's quest continues. He calls his Uncle Lenny, who gets his news from Fox and the Wall Street Journal, and lives with an entirely different set of facts, and Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration expert at the CATO Institute, who explains that the central issue in Donald Trump’s candidacy is based on something that isn’t true.