|Photo by Harlequeen|
When I think back to my time doing forensics, it's pretty apparent that facing evil is not a hot rush of adrenaline. It is a cold, empty ache in the belly. It's not a thrill ride, heart pounding as you wonder what's around the next corner. It's a dull, weepy mood as you realize that you know what's around the next corner for someone. Maybe you. Maybe a loved one. Maybe a stranger.
Despite all the wild, intriguing motivations we right about -- and which occasionally do exist in reality -- most murderers are a lot more boring. On one case we were involved with the murderer explained his motivation as, "They made me mad. When I get mad, I shoot people." On another case, the killer was too drunk to remember why he kicked a man's head in. On a cold case I was part of, we identified a woman as the victim of a serial killer who himself was long dead, and it all happened as if we were sorting mail.
Is there interesting psychology and human drama in these stories? Yes, to be sure. Is there adrenaline? Excitement? Not much, at least not the kind we usually write about or portray.
I suppose this isn't news, but it's something that weighs on me sometimes as I write. My stories are surreal and larger than life. I want them to be exciting. I want them to be compelling and memorable. I think, in some ways, they are effective because of that.
Sometimes, though, I wonder if I'm doing a disservice to real evil, or injustice to the people who confront or fall victim to real evil in the world. Their experiences aren't exciting. They're devastating. They're destructive. They're dramatic. But their lives aren't thrillers; they're just miserable.