Duke Southard

Author, Educator, Lecturer

Committing an injustice

“A policeman seldom finds what he’s already convinced can’t be found.”

As has happened a few times recently, my reading inspires a blog post. The above thought comes out of the head of Inspector Ian Rutledge in Charles Todd’s Search the Dark. The thought is followed by a brief exposition of one of the “faults of the profession,” the profession being a detective or law enforcement. Not meaning to be critical of those who investigated the murder of Stacey Burns but I found this commentary thought-provoking since we are now in the eighth year since Stacey’s murder.

The fault mentioned is the “ease of making up the mind when the most obvious facts seem to point in one direction.” The most important point raised in this fictional murder mystery is the danger that this fault, when applied to a homicide investigation, may lead a policeman to “committing an injustice.” The reason this may happen, and no one knows if it did or did not in the Burns case, is that a murder presents so many complexities in human nature that the investigation could take many different directions. As the inspector indicates, “If he isn’t prepared to follow the unlikely possibilities as well as the most likely, a policeman runs the risk of committing an injustice.”

We can be certain that this has not happened in the Stacey Burns murder case, right? All “unlikely possibilities” have been thoroughly explored, right? However, there will never be a risk of committing an injustice if no one is ever charged with this crime.

Just thinking how sad it is that her murderer still is free . . .

Duke

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I'm Duke Southard, author, educator, and lecturer.

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