What You Can’t Tell By Looking

I’ve been thinking about criminals, lately.

The very first rule I ever learned… way back in AP psychology (That’s high school. Sixteen or seventeen years old, but I was the only minor in the class.) Was that you can’t tell by looking at someone, or even by talking to them what they did. The entire class (minus me, of course, because I was still a minor) went on a field trip to the local “correctional facility.” And while they were there, they met a volunteer inmate who gave them the standard what prison life is like, and stay-in-school lecture.

When they got back, the most memorable part of the classroom discussion centered around one question:

What do you think he did?

And most of the speculation centered around white-collar crimes. Bad checks. Insurance fraud. Maybe a few minor drug offenses.

Nope. The correct answer was multiple counts of 1st degree aggravated murder.

You know… the stuff you hear about in horror movies.

And nobody even suggested violence.

And that’s where my thoughts turn toward people who are just suspected of crimes, and the miracle of due process.

Yup. To my mind, it is a miracle that we’ve ever gotten past I don’t like you, therefore you must’a raped my daughter.

Because if you can’t tell what someone did do by talking to them, you sure as heck can’t tell what they didn’t do.

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