Years ago, when I first became a cop, I started a handwritten composition book with the above title of this post. Anyone who I arrested for a serious crime or otherwise caught my attention was put in that book. It took quite a bit to get you in there. I arrested hundreds of people that never made it into the book. The book contained those that for some reason my gut told me I would see again someday. When I logged them in I made note of many things including girlfriends, family members, and known friends and all kinds of other known identifiers. Things that would help me find them if I needed to find them.
No one else did this where I worked (or any other place that I knew of). Me doing this was just me being me. I am built that way. I have always been of the belief that the best predictor of human behavior is the past. People will do what people will do and it takes a lot to stop them from being themselves. It’s just the way things are. So me keeping this book was just my way of telling myself that.
Many officers who knew I was doing it thought it was a waste of time. Many thought it weird or laughed about it behind my back. I wasn’t a detective at the time so I had no business needing to do anything beyond what I was assigned to do. And they were right about that. What I did was just to satisfy my own strange way of seeing the world out of my patrol car window the way it was, not the way I wished it was.
Over the years of keeping that book, it served me well. All the usual suspects (and a few unusual ones) were in there. On more than one occasion, some of the cops and detectives who once laughed at me for keeping it this type of book asked to use it when their leads ran dry. And more often than not, the person they ended up arresting was in there, as was the way to best way to locate them.
But after I was no longer a detective I wondered about that book. I thought about it a lot. Here I had this book with hundreds of names of people that I had somehow profiled into this group of people destined to commit crimes. It was about their destiny, and I did not do anything to perpetuate it either that I know of, but it bothered me that I had this book now.
I don’t know what happened to everyone in that book. Many were jailed again and again. Some were likely dead. But I am sure many also never got in trouble again, perhaps having no business ever being in my book.
I wonder what they would think knowing I had put their name in it?
I don’t know where that book is now. Probably in a box in storage somewhere. Or maybe I got rid of it. I don’t remember.
But for now, today, I don’t like that it existed at all.