Sunday, May 3, 2015

Locked Van Mystery

The circumstances surrounding the tragic and violent recent events in Baltimore, are shrouded in a swirl of rumor, rhetoric, half-answers, prevarication, sheer invention, and mutually contradictory shreds of evidence, tossed this way and that by interested parties, compounded by a slothful media, and the incoherence of the mayor and the state attorney.   The ordinary news-junkie  is left simply at sea.

There was actually more publically-available hard evidence available early on  in the Michael Brown case:  
   (1)  The video of the robbery and beating in the minimarket.
   (2)   From the autopsy, a diagram of the entry-wounds.
These two together refuted a host of confabulations (which, however, continued to be embraced by the non-empirical).

But the Baltimore case is like a classic Locked Room Mystery.   Professor Plum was last seen sitting by the fireplace in his windowless library, reading Plutarch.  The solid oak door was locked and bolted from the inside.  Yet later -- after the police battered down the door -- he was found dead in his armchair:  protruding from his dressing-gown, a dagger of rare oriental design.   (“The murderer obviously came down the chimney!” someone interjects. -- But no, it was the depth of December, and the professor was as frileux as a house-cat;  there was a roaring fire upon the hearth.)

"I tell you, it's impossible !"

So now we have the case of a man shackled and locked into a large metal box.  The prosecutor alleges that whatever was responsible for his death, happened in there.  Yet by that time, the only person in any sort of proximity to the prisoner  was the driver, apart from another passenger who, however, is said to have been separated from the prisoner by a firm metal wall.
(Actually, that is what people are assuming, but I’ve yet to see the thing described.  Usually, partitions in paddy-wagons are grates, not hermetically sealed barriers.  And if so, then a lot of what people have been saying  is nonsense.)

The upshot:  With indecent haste, the ink barely dry on a preliminary report, the state attorney rushes forward and charges:
(1)  The driver -- who, however, is not actually alleged to have so much as laid a finger on the guy.  The result is:  Murder Two, moreover with a “depraved heart”.
(2)  Five other cops -- none of whom  were actually present during the supposedly crucial events in the unseen interior of that locked van -- are charged with a variety of crimes, some with manslaughter.

As a mystery story, that is very badly plotted.   As an application of the judicial system … taceo.

So why not read
some really good detective stories instead!
A distinct improvement upon real life.


No comments:

Post a Comment