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What a crime show taught me about the truth


Here’s the set-up: our narrator Ashley Kemp – who happens to be dead – has a tattoo of the word “Truth” laid out in flowery black letters on her inside upper arm. It was inked there to cover up the scar from a bullet hole sustained years earlier during a robbery where her best friend was murdered by the thief. Ashley identifies the perpetrator in a police line-up because of a date (as in 1/10/01) inked on his arm. He goes to jail. Happy ending… except that it’s the wrong guy. It’s the brother of the guy who’s now in prison who actually did the crime. Ashley figures this out and when she goes to set things right, she is killed once and for all.

This got me to thinking about truth, a word Ashley used as a cover-up of sorts & a talisman to keep her focused on springing the innocent and catching the guilty:

1. The truth can get you killed. Especially when you refer to it in front of bad guys.

2. It’s almost impossible to know the truth when you’re looking at a police line-up after you’ve been shot & your best friend has been killed and you want someone – anyone – to pay.

3. A tattoo can serve as bread crumbs to a crime.

4. Trying to reconstruct the truth of the past is even more difficult than figuring out the truth of the present. Time warps even the best memory.

5. Television is not the truth. The people are way too good-looking and clues always turn up just when you need them.

6. Advertising is definitely not the truth.

7. The truth may or may not set you free. It set free the innocent man in this story line, but got Ashley killed (and in the end, I’m sure that it didn’t matter one whit to her dead best friend). Dead Ashley seemed rather nonplussed by the entire turn of events (she was the narrator, don’t forget), but that doesn’t seem right to me. Or truthful.

8. Where human beings are concerned, there’s no such thing as objective truth. Even something as simple as “the tattoo was black” can run into problems. It was dark blue, for starters.

9. There are always consequences to truth.

10. The more you know, the more the truth changes its once solid shape.

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