This is Why Lawyers Say the Courtroom is Too Real for Reality

courtrooms too real for realityPeople who work in the criminal field, whether as law enforcement or in the courtroom end of things, always say, “You couldn’t make a reality show about this stuff–it’s too real!”

The endless turning of human behavior is so unusual, it’s sometimes unbelievable. For people who work in the criminal field, we know it’s not a TV show, so when something truly odd occurs, we’re amazed by it.

I was involved with a case of a large family who all lived together, although they lived in shifts, in a two-story home. Adults and children occupied the house and some of the adults worked real jobs to support the group. Others used government programs for support and others used criminal means to pay their share.

One uncle sold drugs to make ends meet. He’d often do the deals in the back porch while the family ate dinner, for instance.

A particular evening, he invited the buyer into the house. They moved into a bedroom upstairs to do their business. Family members who were home told police, they heard a loud “pop” from upstairs and a few minutes later, the buyer came down and left. No one seemed to notice that the uncle disappeared for the next three days.

They discovered him upstairs in the back bedroom, dead from a gunshot wound. Apparently, no one, including the children, ever thought to look for him or to see what happened in the bedroom.

True story.

Another case involved a father who had unusual ideas for disciplining his children. When they wouldn’t clean their bedrooms as instructed, he went into each one and removed their pet gerbils from the drawers where the children kept them.

In order to teach them a lesson, he took the little animals outside and called for the children to come out with him. When they stepped into the back yard, the father pulled out an air gun with a wide barrel. He loaded the gerbils into the air gun and shot them across the back fence into the neighbor’s yard. The neighbor, as you can imagine, became upset when two rat-like animals flew into his yard unexpectedly.

The neighbor returned the stunned critters. The father was so mad, he took the dazed gerbils and drowned each of them in a pail of water before the kids.

True story.

For a writer, it’s wonderful to transfer these stories into novels. My only problem is I’m afraid no one will believe they really happened!

Do you have weird or unusal stories that could make good plot lines in a book? Please let me know.

This entry was posted in criminal behavior, reality, Writing and tagged , , by Colin Nelson. Bookmark the permalink.

About Colin Nelson

Colin T. Nelson worked for 40 years as a prosecutor and criminal defense lawyer in Minneapolis. He tried everything from speeding tickets to first degree murder. His writing about the courtroom and the legal system give the reader a "back door" view of what goes on, what's funny, and what's a good story. He has also traveled extensively and includes those locations in his mysteries. Some are set in Southeast Asia, Ecuador,Peru, and South Africa. Readers get a suspenseful tale while learning about new places on the planet. Colin is married, has two adult children, and plays the saxophone in various bands.

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