A Year on the Killing Streets
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Beyond those worldly concerns, this same detective—if he knows his business—is obligated to arrive in the legal arena with a mind clouded by something other than transcendent visions of moral victory. In his heart of hearts, a veteran detective is inspired not by the glories of the courthouse, but by Rule Number Nine in the lexicon, to wit: 9A. To a jury, any doubt is reasonable. 9B. The better the case, the worse the jury. And, in addition to rules 9A and 9B: 9C. A good man is hard to find, but twelve of them, gathered together in one place, is a miracle.
“You shoot a guy, hey,” the sergeant adds with a shrug. “You shoot another guy—well, okay, this is Baltimore. You shoot three guys, it’s time to admit you have a problem.”
Only one scenario, in fact, offers less hope than a body in an alley. When a Baltimore homicide detective is called to the woods and brambles along the far western edge of the city, it can only mean that one of the city’s inhabitants has done a very bad thing and done it very, very well. For two generations, Leakin Park has been Baltimore’s favored dumping ground for those who depart this vale by bullet or blade. . . . Police department legend includes one story, apocryphal perhaps, in which a class of trainees searching one quadrant of the park for a missing person was reminded by a Southwestern District shift commander, with tongue planted in cheek, that they were looking for one body in particular: “If you go grabbing at every one you find, we’ll be here all day.”
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