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Dunphy Flashback


Here’s our man Dunphy on profiling back in 2001. It’s a great read. My favorite part:

And so we may well ask, What will be the harvest of such a policy? Let us examine this utopian future as it may be experienced by two ordinary police officers, whom we’ll call Archibald and Basil. They are on patrol one day when they are summoned to the scene of a purse-snatching. A distraught woman describes for them the harrowing details of her encounter with two villainous creatures who have only moments before set upon her and threatened her with a hiding if she failed to turn over her handbag. Fearing for her safety she has of course done so, leading Archibald and Basil to conclude that what they have here is a case of robbery, pure and simple, viz. the taking of another’s property by means of force or fear.

The woman describes the devils as being 20 years old, blond and blue-eyed, and driving a gray Volvo sedan. She then adds an important clue.

“Their breath,” she says, “smelled distinctly of fish.”

No words are necessary as Archibald and Basil exchange knowing glances. “Might it have been the aroma of herring?” says Basil.

“It might well have been,” says the woman. “If forced to offer a guess, I’m certain herring would be my first.”

There is a silent nod between Archibald and Basil: The Swedes, again.


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