On a Tuesday afternoon with not a lot to do...
Most afternoons are not exactly action packed for me at work, but today will take it to the extreme. That's because I am going to stay on at work until 8pm, in order to meet Ben and head back on the train together. It's now 2.50pm ish and already the fingers of lethargy are seeking limbs. My dilemma is simple... drink coffee but risk getting that bitter-mouth-and-tense-energy-rush or don't drink coffee and have a cat nap. Usually I'd choose the latter, but the President and the Principal have both paid a few visits to the office today, and I don't want to appear to be a loafing foreigner (even though I am).
So, what I thought I would do is sit here, and in a kind of stream of consciousness thing, try to think of the perfect crime. Actually, is there such a thing? I'll be content to come up with a crime that baffles Columbo for a time. So here goes...
I'm thinking that there's no such thing as a perfect crime, firstly as humans are not perfect themselves, and even if someone was, the kind of crime that would warrant staging and risking imprisonment for would likely be the sort of crime that would also warrant more than one person being in on it, and as we all know, when it comes down to the wire, we can only rely on ourselves.
That said though, many of the so called perfect crimes that are used - and thwarted - on TV are simplistic, and often ingenious. The example that springs to mind is the old chestnut of the victim being clubbed to death with some kind of root vegetable, only for the police to arrive and be served it as part of a stew, thus eliminating the evidence. Using murder as an example (because it would be rather easy to do a smaller perfect crime - say stealing a packet of sweets from a shop), how would I kill someone and get away with it?
Obviously, the first thing would be to work alone. Of course this would make it more difficult in many ways, but with only yourself involved there would be no unwanted wagging tongues. The second thing would be to kill someone you don't know. They say that the vast majority of murder victims knew their murderer, so this could be a way to get around that. Of course, the "benefit" of killing someone you know is that you know their routines, their habits, their weaknesses. To kill a stranger would mean that you would have to study their routines unseen for a while until you saw an opportunity.
Most people are murdered for a reason. Very few are murdered on a whim, but if we want to get away with it, maybe we should do just that (or at least make it appear that that is what we are doing). Ok, so we'll kill a stranger. And we'll work alone. This is where things start to get more tricky. First of all, we'd need to choose a victim. Too much reconnaisance and we'd leave a trail from the victim (unless we took measures, such as not doing the deed close to home, not looking in places that we know) and too little it could easily backfire (the victim could be a martial arts expert, or a suicide bomber on their mission).
Any kind of choice that has to be made decreases the chance of success, as we are trusting our intelligence, and as is the way of the world, there is always someone smarter than you. Whatever we decide to do, we would be restricted by the limitations of our brains. I have no evidence for what I am about to say, but something in the back of my head is telling me that most unsolved crimes are due to ineptness or oversight on the part of the good guys rather than devillish intelligence on the part of the bad. Herein is another problem... if we start making plans that are dependant on the mistakes of others, our chances decrease even further.
Ok, so here is the idea I've just had. How about strangling someone with their own hair? This way, you could cut it off afterwards, and there would be no clear evidence (although experts would be able to tell that their hair had recently been cut). I say clear evidence, because obviously there would be traces of DNA or micro fibres of hair on the body of the victim. Then there's the fact that such a victim would have to have had quite long hair in order for strangulation to work, and anyone that knew them would immediately notice the hair cut.
Unless... what about if the victim was killed by their hairdresser? Having somehow persuaded them to have their hair cut short, they could keep the locks and then fashion a noose or a strangulation device of some sort. But how realistic would it be to be able to get someone with long hair to cut it off just because you asked them to?
Well, I'm not sure this is going anywhere... surely the idea of the perfect crime appeals to us because life isn't perfect. We realise that our time on earth is short, and that in the grand scheme of things, even the famous figures of history won't live forever. Perhaps the idea of committing the perfect crime is our way of trying to leave some sort of perfection as our legac, in a world that is far from perfect?...