A Lesson from a Homicide Detective

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My friend John the homicide detective has a low opinion of people’s ability to keep a secret.

“Most of these crimes,” he says, “I have to do hardly any detecting at all. These murderers, they just can’t help themselves–they have to tell somebody what they did! They have to brag about it. And sooner or later he tells someone who turns around and tells us. And we’ve got him.”

As a reporter, I found this to be largely true. People just can’t keep secrets, even when it’s very much in their interest to do so. If they’ll brag about committing murder, they’ll surely brag about fiddling the zoning board.

Do they sometimes admit to crimes they haven’t actually done?

“Yeah, they do,” John says. “Those are the hardest ones to work out.”

Anyway, it’s worth remembering: a lot of people very seldom tell the truth.


12 comments on “A Lesson from a Homicide Detective

  1. It seems I often read about thieves who post videos of their crimes to YouTube or TikTok, or who leave behind identifying material, or who rob in pairs and call each other by name during the theft.

  2. It is astounding, just how dumb people can be. The relative handful whom are able to conceal their crimes, tend to be people that have no conscience. I have heard numerous accounts of criminals that seemed to be consumed with a moral darkness that is frightening to behold.

    Years ago, I worked with a man who was a mild case of this. He could look someone in the eye and lie to their face, without a shred of remorse. I actually ran into him, some years later, and he was still that same, amoral character, totally consumed in his own selfishness. Such persons seem to have no regret. and evade justice, because there is no right or wrong, to them, but only expedience.

    1. I’ve met a handful, and to a person, they were the most miserable humans I’ve ever met. On at least three occasions, I have worked with someone who was obviously cheating on their wife, and all three of these men were difficult to be around.

      I’ve never known any hardened criminals, although I once was introduced to a very unpleasant man, whom I later found out was suspected of having committed serious crimes, none of which could be proven. All I can say is that meeting him, just once, was unsettling. That was many years ago, and the person in question probably died years ago, but I vividly remember meeting him, because he was a disturbing character to be around.

      He was part of a group of local characters in a small town, where I once worked. One of my coworkers (as mentioned above as a mild case) was at the center of this group. These people seemed bound together by one common trait, which was amorality. They lived lives of sexually libertine behavior and bragged about their parties, which were basically orgies.

      I was exposed to this, only because of my workplace, and kept my distance, but over the years, I saw the fruit born of this behavior. Children with unknown fathers, lives lived on emotional roller coasters and brushes with the law. I was quite young, just getting started as an adult, and I knew to avoid this, in spite of attempts by some of these people to draw me into their behavior. A little mental math would tell me that many of these people are long dead, and I can’t imagine that their lives were fulfilling. One person is known to still be alive, and from what I’ve heard, he is the same miserable liar that he was, all those years ago.

    2. These days, they probably would have run.

      These were wannbe Damon Runyon characters, pretending to be big fish, in a tiny pond. At the end of the day, these were losers, trading on their lack of moral boundaries, which is always a poor trade.

  3. R.J. Rushdoony, who saw all things through the lens of the atonement, often commented on how sinners can’t help but confess their crimes – they are compelled by guilt. There used to be a show on TV “America’s Dumbest Criminals” that was hilarious.

    1. … and at least some of them will even post their crimes on Facebook. Calling such people fools is a compliment that their behavior and intellect does not deserve. They’d have to grow mightily, just to attain the status of being a fool.

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