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Topic: Crime and Punishment (not about the book) (07/21/11)
By Dave Walker
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It's not often that you get to witness a crime; at least, not the sort of crime that you see on TV. I'm not talking about jumping a red traffic light or deliberate littering or anything like that, although I know you shouldn't do that kind of thing. No, I'm talking about robbery or murder or kidnapping.
Well, I did. I saw something from my window the other night that left me wondering what to do. I was just standing there admiring the lights and thinking of well, nothing, really . letting my mind take a little wander through my brain picking at this and then that.
Then the car drew up. I half saw, through my wandering mind, two men get out, but when they pulled a sack out of the trunk I was all eyes. It looked heavy and I could swear it had the shape of a body. They carried it over to the river and, with a man at each end, swung it like a pendulum one, two, three and tossed it in with a splash. I tried to see the number of the car in the light of the streetlight, but could just see the last four numbers: 4965. Oh, and it had the lone star of a Texas registration. I noted that it was a black Cadillac. The men strolled back to the car as if they had not a care in the world and drove off.
The whole episode was over in less than ten minutes and it didn't look gripping. Not like on TV when they have all that tense background music while they're doing their dramatic crime. It almost looked ordinary. My emotions told me that it was ordinary, but my mind told me it was not.
But now I am left with a problem. What do I do about it? I know that people should be punished for what they do wrong, but I don't want to get involved. If I start telling my story, the police will be here; I'll probably have to spend hours at the station giving statements; the press will no doubt get hold of the story and I will have to contend with them. Who knows where it will lead probably being a witness in a court case or being taken out by the underworld before I could get to court, if the Mafia are involved. I am a quiet citizen who just wants to get on with my life without interruptions, but if I report it my life will be interrupted. It is almost as though if the criminals are to be punished then I have to be punished as well. What am I to do? That's what I'm asking you.
What's that? I must do what is right.
But what about me? It does not seem right that I am so inconvenienced. And put at risk.
What? I'm not an island ..I suppose I do have some kind of obligation to society.
What did you say about punishment? I cannot avoid it. If I report it I will have the temporary punishment of all the inconvenience, but if I keep quiet, I'll have the lifelong punishment of a guilty conscience, knowing that I let possible murderers get away to commit another crime.
Well, when you put it that way . I guess I have no choice.
"Hello, Police? I would like to report being witness to a suspicious act that could be a clue to a murder."
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