The Human Cost

Someone’s coat is in the middle of the floor, which indicates the owner is probably dead by now. We think it’s a ladies’ coat as it is small and form-fitting, or rather it looks small and form-fitting. We haven’t picked the coat up off the floor and we aren’t planning to, either. The coat is evidence and shouldn’t be disturbed. We aren’t sure why the coat shouldn’t be disturbed but this is what we’ve been told. It probably has to do with the investigation and future criminal prosecution. We don’t want anyone to get off on a technicality, that much we do know. We also know the coat’s owner is probably dead by now, this much seems certain, though everything else remains a question. We think it’s a ladies’ coat due to the size and style but it could easily be a men’s coat. We’ve all seen men dressed in small form-fitting coats, so it is not unusual and because of this we are not assuming it’s a woman that has been killed for her coat because it can easily be a man, particularly the kind of man who would wear this kind of small form-fitting coat. This is not to say that a man who wears this kind of small form-fitting coat deserved what happened to him or had it coming. This man didn’t have it coming any more than the rest of us do. But it stands to reason that the kind of man who might wear this kind of small form-fitting coat would be targeted for such and an easy mark. There are no indications of a struggle. Everything seems exactly as it should be and there are no blood stains or splatters, nothing is broken. We have had a thorough look around and have been careful so as not to disturb anything. For instance, no one has picked the coat up off the floor and tried it on for size to determine just how small and form-fitting this coat is. We aren’t doing this so as not to hinder the investigation. We’ve been told that we must never tamper with evidence. We keep this in mind whenever we happen upon a crime scene, which is about four or five times a week now. So what’s important isn’t the coat or who owned it, if it was a man or a woman or what. It’s not even important that we apprehend whomever it was that perpetrated this particular crime or bringing this criminal to justice. Now we must remember the victim. This was a human person who lived in the world like the rest of us. They ate food and drank water and breathed air and showered daily, maintained personal relationships, exercised regularly, voted in most elections, both local and national. We cannot lose sight of this part of it, the human cost, the loss of life. We tell each other this as often as possible. We say we have to do better next time and while we are resolute and determined, it seems we are always too late and for this we are sorry.

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