Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Man, this is bull****
Cracked.com has an hee-larious post about the seven biggest bullshit police myths propagated by movies and television shows. This'n is my favorite:
#7. Forensic Science is Magic
There has been a murder. While the regular cops are all wasting time talking about "witnesses," "motives" and "evidence," the CSI team walks in and gets shit done. Within seconds they find a single hair, scan it with a green laser and discover the identity of the killer, saving countless lives with their ingenious magical science. Hell, the CSI team will even pack up their guns and go arrest the guy!
His one mistake was having hair.
Why it's Bullshit:
First, do you have any idea how much random DNA you are carrying on the soles of your shoes this very instant? A hair from that bank clerk across town, gum from a Pakistani cab driver and semen from an undetermined source are all probably crawling around down there, ready to be tracked through a crime scene.
Also, certain laboratory tests such as DNA samples, toxicology and blood reports can take weeks or even months to process, and when they do finally arrive, they are about as clear cut as the plot to The Phantom Menace.
Also, while DNA criminal databases do exist, less than 1/10th of all criminals are a part of it. Having a bit of DNA doesn't mean shit unless they have something to compare it to.
That means the CSI stuff is less about finding the killer and more about making sure they have enough evidence to convict the guy they've already pinpointed as a suspect through old-fashioned police work.
CSI is really just another victim of bad Hollywood science, kind of an extension of their "computers are magic" philosophy. It's appealing to think that any problem--even crime--can be stopped cold by nothing but the power of science and human intellect. Add a few dead hookers and an exploding car to the mix and you have the recipe for television success, baby.
I knew there was a reason I've watched a single minute of the 128 different CSI shows (CSI: Des Moines just doesn't appeal to me at all).