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Sunday, December 26, 2021

Magical Thinking and the American Detective

     Successful criminal investigators are intelligent, analytical people who like to solve problems and get to the bottom of mysteries. They are also curious, competitive, and well-organized in their work habits. They are unafraid of complexity, pay attention to detail, are articulate, and can express themselves well on paper. Dedicated crime investigators are lifelong students of their craft, people who embrace new challenges and tough assignments. They are not only intelligent, they train themselves to think clearly, draw relevant conclusions, and keep personal bias out of their calculations. They are people of integrity and intellectual courage.

     The history of American criminal investigation shows that men and women who possess these qualities are few and far between, even in our top investigative agencies. And, unfortunately, there is no indication that this will change any time soon. In fact, criminal investigation, performed at the highest levels, may soon be a lost art, a dead profession. We are now living in a time when what is true and not true, what is fact and not fact, is irrelevant. Moreover, it's not what we know that counts, it's what we believe. America has become a land of magical thinkers, and magical thinking does not solve crimes.

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