17 May 2012

A Word About Crime

by Robert Lopresti

A few years ago I showed you a list of some of my favorite quotes from mystery writers.  Here are some quotes more or less about crime, but not from crime writers.

St. George, patron saint of police officers
"If the bad guys don't get you, baby, then the good guys will." -Buffe Saint-Marie

 "How dare you stand there with every evidence of a criminal nature showing in your attitude and demeanor and conceal from the authorities the reason for your arrest?" -Don Marquis

 "If a man stopped me in the street and demanded of me my watch, I should refuse to give it to him. If he threatened to take it by force, I feel I should, though not a fighting man, do my best to protect it. If, on the other hand, he should assert his intention of trying to obtain it by means of an action in any court of law, I should take it out of my pocket and hand it to him, and think I had got off cheaply." -Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men On The Bummel

"There is no emissary for an evil deed." -David Twersky

"Drug conspiracy cases may be just the answer for budget-conscious (government) agencies." -Gregory D. Lee, FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, 10/94

"Hate-on-the-highway is an institution occupying a high place in our modern civilization....The godawful glares that drivers exchange as they pass each other, the mutual hatred between motorist and pedestrian, these manifestations seem to constitute the ultimate in righteous wrath." -H. Allen Smith, 1947
"Murder, robbery, rape, adultery and incest will openly be taught and practiced." -The Connecticut Courant reacting to Thomas Jefferson's election to the presidency

" The law is like rope...useful, necessary, strong, but it can be bent and twisted into all kinds of shapes depending on the occasion." - W.P. Kinsella

"Clowns were humanity's first 'policemen.'" -Joy Thompson

"Sometimes we may rely too much on law and Constitution and statutes." -Robert Ray, special prosecutor

"The heavens may fall, the earth may be consumed, but the right of a congressman to lie and defame remains inviolate." -George Creel, 1920

"(Librarians have) got their radical factions, like the Ruby Ridge or Waco types." -Judith Platt, spokesperson for the Association of American Publishers, 2001

"If any person has sung or composed against another person a song which is slanderous and insulting he shall be clubbed to death." -The Twelve Tables (first laws of Rome, 494 B.C.)

"Monsters work seven days a week and don't take vacations." -Geoffrey Canada

"Did it ever occur to anyone that if you put nice libraries in public schools you wouldn't have to put them in prisons?" -Fran Lebowitz

My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building." - Ann Coulter

"The FBI, however well-intentioned, is not in the business of providing emergency road services, and might well have better things to do when listening in than respond with such services..." -Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturning an FBI request to eavesdrop via cars' onboard navigational systems.

"This particular American view of 'success' ...as near as I can make it out, is the ability to keep out of jail." -Charles Dudley Warner, 1896

"Let Lawyers, Parsons, and Physicians loose, to rob, impose on, and to kill the World." -Henry Fielding, in Tom Thumb, 1730

"Some days I don't know if I should laugh or call the police." -Cecil Adams


  1. Ah, crime, where would we mystery writers be without it?

    PS~ I notice you spell your last name with a small "p" but your brother's last name (in the previous article) has a capital "P". Anything we ought to know?

  2. "If any person has sung or composed against another person a song which is slanderous and insulting he shall be clubbed to death." -The Twelve Tables (first laws of Rome, 494 B.C.)

    WOW! Glad that one's not still on the books. I'd have been clubbed to death fifty times over! And probably decades ago. It's one of the ways I sooth my savage inner beast, when feeling slighted by some one. Singing a derogatory song always seems a better road than getting tossed in the can for decking somebody -- something I have gratefully managed to avoid so far.

  3. Rob, I really enjoyed these. They give lots to think about and also led to knowledge that Dixon is another songwriter among us. Anyone else out there write songs besides,Rob, Liz, Dixon and Fran?
    I used to just murder off people whom I felt had slighted me (on paper, of course.) Since I've given that up (at least for the time being), I'll try writing songs about them.

  4. R.T., Tom uses the pre-Ellis Island spelling.

    Dixon and Fran, yes, if that Roman law was still in effect a lot of my favorite songwriters would be in BIG trouble.

  5. Hate to tell ya', Fran, but . . . unless you consider a limerick-writer to be a poet, I don't think you'd consider my songs to make me a songwriter. LOL

    Sorry to chime back in so late, but I had to go watch my 9-year-old be a flying monkey in his school Wizard of Oz play.


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