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The Ultimate Ethical Dilemma

I don’t mean to give the impression that I’m the kind of guy who spends a Wednesday night home alone reading the Onion AV Club, but last night I happened to be at home alone reading the Onion AV Club and I stumbled across what could very well be the ultimate ethical dilemma.

I was reading a review of the new book Mr. Untouchable by the legendary Harlem drug kingpin Leroy “Nicky” Barnes[1]. I probably won’t actually read the book itself, because I feel like I’ve already wasted enough of my life reading these damn “as told to” memoirs, but damn it if the guy’s story – or what I could gather of it from the world’s most accurate encyclopedia – isn’t tres interesting.

Along with a guy named, uggh… Guy Fisher, Nicky Barnes was one of the two biggest heroin dealers in all of New York. He made a shiteload of money, and he considered himself untouchable – hence the name of his memoir. But he ended up getting caught for driving without a license and the state threw the book at him – life in prison without the possibility of parole. Damn.

While he was in the joint, the guys from his drug gang began stealing all of his money and banging his wife, which is where the ethical dilemma comes in. You see, Nicky Barnes felt that this betrayal justified him to become an informant, and he ended up ratting out a shiteload of drug dealers, including most of his crew as well as his wife, the whore. In return, his sentence was significantly shortened, and he was released into the witness protection program in 2004.

Which brings me to my point: In an ethical dilemma such as the one Nicky Barnes faced, complicated by issues having to do with a woman’s infidelity, should the time-honored tradition of bros before hoes take precedence over the sacred code of the streets, i.e. thou shalt not snitch? In other words, is the implicit agreement between thieves not to rat one another out rendered invalid if one thief sleeps with another one’s wife?

I’m not sure if there’s an official rule about this one way or the other, but here’s a few things to consider:

1) If you’re in prison for life without the possibility of parole anyway, it’s not like your wife is going to be of much use to you anymore.

2) But at the same time, that is your wife. Think about how much money he must have spent on that tramp just to have her banging his partner as soon as he got locked up.

3) And as the situation with Nas’ baby’s mother and Jay-Z proved, there’s just no accounting for a woman’s unique sense of morality. It’s likely Nicky Barnes’ crew wasn’t left with much of a choice in the matter.

What do you ‘bags think?

[1] Supposedly, the Jim Croce song “Bad, Bad Leroy Brown” was about Nicky Barnes. He was also the basis for Wesley Snipes’ Nino Brown character in the film New Jack City.

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