mercredi 30 mai 2012

A Childhood dream

"What are you gonna be when you grow up?"
asked my parents, my friends,
"I'm going to be part of a police lineup."
I replied, standing upright and fixing my look into the void
chin pointing like a torpedo.

Like many kids I loved cops and robbers, but what fascinated me
was the idea of standing in a line
and in that line
a criminal, real, in flesh and blood
held his blank gaze towards a two-way mirror
sharing his vibes amongst us motley lot.

There is something seductive about a gangster face
Out on a limb

exasperated
lips tied shut
and ready to devour
the first
victim
in
sight



I went to school where studies in literature always led me back to the scene of the crime
And then I started volunteering for police lineup work.
At first it gave me the chills
but after some convictions the feeling morphed into a state of excitement.
I was like being an emergency doctor:
no long trails with painstaking juries 
Here, I stood in the line and painted the meanest face I could as I looked into the mirror
often feeling solidarity -for behind that reflective shadow we could make out a moving,
 accuser, a man, a woman pacing back and forth and ready to raise his or her finger and say "that one!"


More and more rarely would I go home to visit my dear parents
Oddly I grew afraid they would look at me; judge me in a funny way.
One day when my little brother was standing on his toy zebra


I had a clear vision of the perfect police lineup
Where everyone was a criminal hence everyone was a suspect
So the aim was to pick out the most criminal of the criminals
and if you did
you
won.

My heart started beating because when I get a good idea I know I have to pounce on it
Like Pinocchio going after the grasshopper
I sprung into action


In America with over 3 million prisoners we need more lineups
We need to build them like airport strips allowing for 
easy suspect mobility and easy identification


Some say lineups are a pain in the ass because there are lots of crackpots out there
Making it all the harder for a hapless victim who, after all, while under duress, cannot probably remember if the assailant was wearing a back or a brown shoe.



Thank God we have institutions like MIT and a criminal justice system that
can fork over a little R&D to work out this equation
But seriously, why put out so much effort when the NRA has its own solution to rising crime?





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