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)
Since the high school shootings in Littleton, Colorado, parents and teachers are looking for warning signs that the children in their lives might suddenly strike out. But the dividing line between normal childhood aggression and social pathology can be hard to spot.
For 17 months, New York police officer Adrian Schoolcraft recorded himself and his fellow officers on the job, including their supervisors ordering them to do all sorts of things that police aren't supposed to do. For example, downgrading real crimes into lesser ones, so they wouldn't show up in the crime statistics and make their precinct look bad.