In Washington, DC, undercover police are concocting elaborate fake robbery plots, and then arresting anyone they can convince to say they will join in. If you mixed the concepts of entrapment and Minority Report-style futurecrimes together, this is what would emerge.

Ann Marimow's Washington Post story on this repugnant police practice is shocking, and we can only hope that something changes because of it. She tells of repeated sting operations (involving completely fictional robbery plans dreamed up by the police themselves) "in which undercover officers recruit people they think are likely to commit armed robberies."

It is not hard to imagine what type of people the police "think are likely" to commit armed robberies.

It must be hard to catch people who have actually committed armed robberies. Much easier to lure in people who have not committed armed robberies with promises of easy paydays, arrest them, and then claim to have prevented a robbery. Consider this fine example of crime-fighting:

A similar scene played out in June 2012, when three men were recruited to lift cash and jewelry from a liquor store in Adams Morgan. The [undercover] officers agreed to provide semiautomatic pistols and an assault rifle. Police also bought two of the men — ages 18 and 19 — alcohol and tried unsuccessfully to get at least one of them into a strip club, according to court papers.

I would wager that an enormous percentage of 18-year-old males could be tempted into agreeing to commit a crime if you got them drunk, took them to a strip club, and promised them that you'd give them a gun to play with. This is not "solving crimes." This is making up crimes as a pretext for putting certain types of people in jail. And it's not how America is supposed to work.

[Photo: Flickr]