I imagine that some people get through their entire lives without seeing a dead body. I would think many people reach reasonably old age before doing so.
Probably sounds like an odd thing to say, but I'm glad Danger has. We have a sort of point of reference. We've both seen violence of the most extreme sort. We can sort of understand each other, a bit.
I mean, I imagine it's very different to see casualties of war than murder victims. I don't know why. I suppose I feel like if you're involved in a war, then in some ways you know what you're getting into. But then that doesn't hold true for the innocent bystanders - the people who find themselves living in a war zone. Even then, though, there's that sort of... knowledge, the fact that you must live fearing the worst, being surrounded by violence in such an over way.
Murder, generally, is very personal. I think that's the difference, really. It's not just killing - not normally. It's targeted, it's not killing at random, it's picking a victim and planning. It is almost always someone the victim knows and usually trusts. It is frequently someone they're related to. It wrenches families apart. Sometimes irreparably.
It happens in personal spaces, too. Often in the victim's home.
Sometimes you find yourself looking through people's belongings, seeing things that perhaps no one else ever has. It's odd, that my job involves getting to know people very well, but only after they've died.
There are cases that are simple, and cases that are difficult. There are ones where the suspects give themselves up, and those that you never solve.
There's no pattern to which ones you remember, though. Sometimes it's the victim, sometimes the murderer. Sometimes it's the weapon, or the location, or the family left behind. Sometimes it's the oddest things, in their possessions.
Sometimes it's all of the above.
You get hardened to it. You learn to cope, you stop feeling squeamish or sick when the body isn't as fresh as you'd like. The smell of blood becomes another everyday thing. Murder scenes stop being gore and start being evidence.
Don't get me wrong, they still stick in your mind, but they lose the punch they have at first.
Part of what's brought this on is thinking about cases while I haven't been sleeping recently.
Part of it is the dismissal of a jury the other week, after a case that was particularly brutal and disturbing, where the judge not only reminded the jury that they had counselling available to them, but he also discharged them from jury duty for the rest of their lives... Which just, never happens.
And it brought it home, how those people had been pulled from their everyday lives and thrown into the world of murders and court cases, shown and heard horrific evidence, and afterward, would go back to their homes and families and jobs different people. Those weeks they spent in court will be in their minds like a beacon in the dark, they will never forget them.
Whereas me and my team...we've dealt with many more bodies and deaths since then. Yes, it stood out, but it's also dulled by the sheer number of things we see. Is that a good thing? I couldn't say. Necessary, definitely.
I've never been in a war, I've no idea what it's like.
I know one of the differences John mentions is that you come home. Whereas we are home. The families - they walk the same streets, live in the same house - and if we can't catch the killer, they have no idea if they see that person every day. I suppose it's more of a constant background noise, rather than a specific sound. Or something.
I feel very lucky that I have John to share such thoughts with, late at night, when sleep seems far away.
Anyway, don't exactly know where all that came from. Be nice to each other, folks. There are bigger things in life to worry about.
In other fantastic news, John passed his bike test. I'm now going out with a biker!