Clarence Darrow: “Most men haven’t killed anybody but they have read obituaries with pleasure.”

I like to read and write about people implicated in crime.

Say you see in your small town weekly that your 60-year-old lesbian mother’s friend Clara, an electrician, died in a work-related accident. You wonder why your mother didn’t tell you when you dropped by her house last night. She was obviously upset about something, but snapped at you when you asked what.

You feel guilty because, while you’ve adjusted to the fact that your mother is a lesbian, you’ve never liked Clara. You drop by your mother’s house on your way home from work today, and she tells you that Clara’s accident happened when Clara was rewiring the light in your mother’s lawnmower shed. Your mother breaks down and tells you that Clara had sent her to throw the breaker switch, and your mother had thrown a breaker switch, although she wasn’t sure if she had thrown the right one. “She was seeing a younger woman. I was losing her. So I left it in God’s hands.”

The younger woman tells the police that Clara had said your mother threatened to kill her. The police come to you.

(The Clarence Darrow quote is from Newsweek, May 9, 1949, p. 51.)

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