Reporter Mark Arax spent three years investigating the murder of his father and yet he's still not at peace when he thinks of his dad's death. (His book is called In My Father's Name: A Family, a Town, a Murder.) This is how it goes sometimes.
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Host Ira Glass with former Congressman Daniel Rostenkowski. When Rostenkowski began a term in federal prison, he met for the first time people who'd been locked up under harsh drug laws that he'd voted for himself. "The whole thing's a sham," he declares.
The story of how a person could be sentenced to 19 years for drug possession—even if police found no drugs, drug money, residue or paraphrenalia—even if it's a first offense. Dorothy Gaines was an Alabama nurse with no prior record and no physical evidence of any drugs who was sentenced to 19 years.
Judges give their opinions of the drug sentencing laws. Terry Hatter is the Chief U.S.
Before this show ended we wanted to know—how typical are the horror stories? What happens in a typical drug case? To find out, reporter Nancy Updike spent nine hours in Night Narcotics Court in Chicago. What she discovers is that the system is working as fairly as one could hope or expect, with one caveat: Nearly all the defendants are African-American, even though the jurisdiction contains an equal number of white drug users.
The story of Jug Burkett, a businessman in Dallas and a Vietnam vet, who years ago routinely started checking the bona fides of anyone in the news who claimed to have served in the Vietnam war. He says he's found hundreds of fakers, and he says that one of the tricky things about the fakers is that they often seem more like The Real Thing than real vets do.
The story of someone trying and trying to get close to The Real Thing, and why it was so difficult. Kelly McEvers was a newspaper writer here in Chicago and started to get interested in stories she was hearing about girl gang members.
A survey of local crime blotters from the Anacortes American (by John Bauer; thanks also to Gail Mann and Duncan Frazier) in Anacortes, Washington; the Pueblo Chieftain (by Juan Espinosa) in Pueblo, Colorado; and the Athens Daily News (by Ben Deck, Stephen Gurr and Joan Stroer; thanks also to Jim Thompson and Greg Martin) in Athens, Georgia. Actor Matt Malloy reads.
When she was 21, Julia Sweeney got a job as a bartender's assistant and stole between ten and fifteen thousand dollars in cash. She describes the thrill of stealing, and how she justified her thefts to herself, and—oddest of all—how she became a more religious Roman Catholic during her crime spree.
Some criminals do not see themselves as basically good people getting away with something bad. Some people do not believe God is on their side when they commit their crimes.
No one knows how much theft is committed each year by senior citizens. One study found that seniors comprise 15 percent of people apprehended for shoplifting.
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.
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.
Twenty-six-year-old Jose William Huezo Soriano—a.k.a. Weasel—grew up in Los Angeles.
Ira talks about the classic biography of an American pimp, Iceberg Slim's Pimp: The Story of My Life, and explains today's show. He warns listeners that although there's no sex in the show at all, there is a scene or two in which men hit women.
Modern-day fables of two different kinds of do-gooders during and after the 1994 genocide in the African country of Rwanda. Philip Gourevich, author of the book We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, tells first about international relief workers who served as "caterers" to some of the Hutu powers as they continued their policy of ethnic cleansing after fleeing to refugee camps.
When Anne Staggs started to fall for an inmate named Charles in the Texas prison system, she was up against odds as daunting as they ever get for two people. It was against the rules, possibly dangerous, and could have gotten her fired.
Host Ira Glass with jazz musician Ed Ryder, who was in prison in Pennsylvania for twenty years for a murder it was later proven he did not commit. Ryder played jazz in the pen and out of the pen.