Monday, December 29, 2003



your chances of making an arrest in a new murder case fall off drastically after the first 24 hours.

that's why, in mdpd, when your team's up for the next homicide and one comes in, you work around the clock that first day. there's a frisson to the work with everyone aware that the cosmological clock is ticking on them. breaks in the work are few, fewer for some than others.

the homicide prosecutor's job description at such scenes is to consult and advise the detectives on any legal issues that come up, to take the long view toward trial when they might take the more immediate view.

i was on homicide duty one week and got called out to a scene at some guy's house. i forget the context. the body was in the living room.

i was standing next to the lead detective, a big, intense, florid-faced cop who i'd known for years. he was taking notes feverishly. a few streams of perspiration ran down his cheeks.

the most horrid smell wafted to my nostrils. homicide scenes are not for the easily offended of sights and smells but this was unusual. it wasn't decomposition, it wasn't anything i could associate with the crime.

"what the fuck's that smell?", i said to jim.

"i just took a shit in my pants," he said, not raising his pen or eyes from his notepad.

"are you kidding me?"

now he looked at me. "i had to take a shit but we're busy."

-benjamin harris

Sunday, December 14, 2003

the capture of saddam hussein needn't mean it's over for the democrats. it IS over, because howard dean will be the nominee but imagine if lieberman or edwards or even kerry would be? the democrats would be innoculated against attacks that they are soft on foreign policy and would have been free to hammer bush on economics.

imagine if the nominee were clinton. he would do the next best thing. "the war's over. bush wants to live in the past. don't stop thinkin' about tomorrow. it's the economy stupid."

but no, we get dean. "let's refight the war politically. i was/am/always will be against it. DOES EVERYBODY HEAR ME? I WANT EVERYONE TO HEAR THAT. but i'm in favor of us staying there. to finish the job. getting hussein doesn't mean the job's finished. i don't know what 'the job's finished' means. i'll let you know. what i do know is that bush doesn't understand foreign policy. i do. i had to negotiate sensitive maple syrup tariff issues with the canadians. tough negotiators, those canadians."

-benjamin harris