Quote of the day—Quinn Norton

in the wild, in really dangerous situations — even when people are being hunted by men with guns — when encryption and security fails, no one stops talking. They just hope they don’t get caught.

Quinn Norton
May 20, 2014
Everything Is Broken
[It appears this is true or at least very close to being true. I’ve heard it said that most criminals only go to jail because they talked. The TV shows and movies where some super smart detective or reporter figures things out are fiction. In real life the bad guy got unlucky, the good guys got lucky, or the bad guy talked.

Norton isn’t talking about bad guys in the usual sense. She is talking about political activists and reporters trying to take down corrupt (at least in their world view) governments. But still, people have a very difficult time keeping quiet even when their life depends on it. They want to share exciting information. They want acknowledgement and praise for accomplishing some difficult task. They want the status that comes from contributing to the fall of a powerful opponent.

This is something to remember if you ever get into such a situation. Almost for certain, you will want to talk about things that could get yourself and others thrown in jail or killed. If you have to talk then only talk face-to-face with people that already know what you know and keep in mind they may be recording the conversation so they will get an lighter sentence.—Joe]


5 thoughts on “Quote of the day—Quinn Norton

  1. There are two kinds of “incrimination” though, of course. One kind results from doing something wrong. The other kind results from doing or saying something the “authorities” don’t like, which may or may not be illegal.

    Not all things which are wrong are “illegal” (according to Rome), and not all things which are “illegal” (according to Rome) are wrong. People may want to fine, imprison or kill you for doing what is wrong, but they’re just as likely to want to fine, imprison or kill you for doing what is right.

    And so we must endeavor to understand fully the distinctions. Where do you want to go from there?

    • Your observation is completely beside the point. The point is that the urge to talk about accomplishments is very strong. This is true even when the penalty for talking could be your and/or your accomplice’s death. Keep this in mind when you pick your teammates and choose your deeds.

      • The urge to brag is almost unstoppable. The urge to blab for street cred, or a reward, or a lighter sentence is strong. People believe that criminals talk about the crimes they committed to strangers in jail, hence the “jailhouse snitch.”

        At the time the Miranda case was decided, a defense attorney said that most criminal cases would go unpunished if they would only shut up and not respond to the manipulation and wheedling of the police.

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