Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Achilles Heel of Outlaw MC's-the Prisoner Dilemma


News agencies report regularly on law enforcement infiltraiton of MC's across the country, across the globe, in fact.  Time and again these stories reveal that somebody within the cherished brotherhood of the MC has ultimately flipped and ratted out his comrades.  You see their blacked out faces on TV series like Gangland, where the former MC member has turned on his brothers and is now working as a CI (Confidential Informant), typically paid by LE for his/her information and cooperation. 

If the bond of the so-called "brotherhood," arguably the greatest benefit to being an MC member, is so sacrosanct why is it that we see this story of betrayal repeat itself so often?  And why is it that "brothers" continue to fail to see this Achilles Heel for themsleves and their clubs, while the antidote to this dilemma in many cases is to just "Shut the Fuck Up!"  But what prevents that from happening again and again?

Game theorists and cops understand why; it's call the Prisoner Dilemma.  Here's how it works (extracted from Wikipedia website).

Two men are arrested, but the police do not have enough information for a conviction. The police separate the two men, and offer both the same deal: if one testifies against his partner (defects/betrays), and the other remains silent (cooperates with/assists his partner), the betrayer goes free and the one that remains silent gets a one-year sentence. If both remain silent, both are sentenced to only one month in jail on a minor charge. If each 'rats out' the other, each receives a three-month sentence. Each prisoner must choose either to betray or remain silent; the decision of each is kept secret from his partner. What should they do? If it is assumed that each player is only concerned with lessening his own time in jail, the game becomes a non-zero sum game where the two players may either assist or betray the other. The sole concern of the prisoners seems to be increasing his own reward. The interesting symmetry of this problem is that the optimal decision for each is to betray the other, even though they would be better off if they both cooperated.

Now imagine what happens when the stakes are so much higher.  20-30 years in prison.

Unless you are criminaly psychotic, insane, or totally delusional, you are mostly human, therefore experience a wide cross range of emotions, including fear, love, hope, anger, etc.  But mostly, you are controlled by your Ego, which screams with all its might that above all else you must survive!

Look over at your brother.  Study him for a minute.  And ask yourself this question:  If he were facing the choice of spending 20 years of his life behind bars, losing his Old Lady, kids, income, his ride, the ride, would he sell me out for keeping his life that he likes so much?  Then ask yourself, would I sell out my brothers if I were in that dilemma?  Remember that even Jesus was betrayed, sold out by Judas, and Cain killed his brother Abel.

What choice would you make?

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