RARA-AVIS: The banality of evil

From: Brian Thornton ( tieresias@worldnet.att.net)
Date: 08 Apr 2007

Nathan Cain wrote:

"And most people who are in prison are in for mundane things like selling dope or stealing. It's generally economically motivated crime. Hard to call them crazy. For every serial killer there are probably 500 murderers who killed for entirely mundane reasons. The horrible truth about most crime is that it's boring."

Back in another lifetime, I spent a summer clerking for the Spokane County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. It gave new meaning to the phrase "the banality of evil." I absolutely agree with Nathan's assessment here. Had a cop talk to me once (very nonchalantly) about a stop and drop he did on a guy riding his bicycle along a city street.

Turned out he was holding with intent to deal. I asked him how he knew. At first the cop tried to make it sound like it was just great cop instincts. "I knew him from around, and I knew he was guilty of something."

When I asked about probable cause (I was such an idealist during my one year in law school), the cop said, "He was sitting funny."

Turned out the guy had his meth rolled up in a baggy and stuffed up his ass.

If any of you decide to use that in one of your books, I want an acknowledgement.


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