Most people, especially males, are instinctively opposed to snitching.  Snitching or "ratting someone out" is seen as a low, traitorous, despicable act.  Anyone with integrity or self-respect will never snitch on someone.  Or so it is claimed.

First, what is snitching?  To snitch means to tell the truth about something questionable or forbidden to authority.  Whether it's children snitching on each other to their parents, or informants snitching on criminals to the cops, the idea is that one person exposes the forbidden actions or plans of another to some authority, who will then punish the offender.

I don't think snitching is always bad.  For example, a father is at a playground with his children. The father notices a man who is trying to lure his children with candy into a windowless van.  What can the father do?  He has several choices:  He can confront this man and tell him to go away, to which the man can easily respond with "No."  The father can physically assault him somehow, at which point the man can call the police and have the father arrested for assault.  And finally, the father can call the police and report a suspicious person at a playground, a potential pedophile luring children into his car.  In other words, the father can snitch on the man to the cops. Would that be a bad, immoral act?   I doubt it.  Even a hardened gang-member who has children will agree that reporting this man to police is not a bad thing, yet it is clearly snitching.  The reader may suggest a fourth alternative:  Tell the man that unless he leaves, police will be called.  It's not snitching because it's not done in secret.  I think that is a horrible idea because the potential child predator will simply move to another playground.  The responsible thing to do is to apprehend this individual, not make him go away.  If he goes away, he'll just find some other playground with children to victimize.

What if you overhear a couple of men discussing a plot to fly planes into buildings?  Will you snitch on them to the police or will you allow them to carry out their plans?  What if you're in a bar and you overhear a man bragging to his buddy about how he raped and murdered a girl for fun?  Will you rat this man out to the cops, or will you keep your mouth shut and allow this murderous psychopath to roam about freely in your neighborhood?  What if you overhear two boys discussing their plans to shoot up their school?   The point is, not all snitching is bad.  In fact, I think in certain cases if you don't snitch on someone, you'd be committing an immoral act.

When asked "Is snitching a bad thing?" the knee-jerk reaction of most young men is "Hell's yeah! Snitches are the lowest form of life!" but I wonder how these men would behave in the scenarios I outlined above.