Compulsion by Meyer Levin
-01- p9: Certain crimes seem to epitomize the thinking of their era. Thus Crime and Punishment had to arise out of the feverish soul-searching of the Russia of Dostoevski’s period, and An American Tragedy had to arise from the sociological thinking of Dreiser’s time in America. In our time, the psychoanalytical; point of view has come to the fore.
-02- p14: For particularly where emotions must be dealt with, there is no finite reality; our idea of actuality always has to come through someone, and this is the reality through me.
-03- p16: ‘But granted that the law applies to the ordinary person in society,’ Judd said, ‘how would it apply in the case of the superman? The concept of an Ubermensch in itself means that he must be above ordinary society. If he abided by ordinary laws he could never produce the actions that might in the end prove of the greatest benefit to humanity—not that even benefit to humanity should be a criterion.’
McKinnon smiled patronizingly. ‘By a superman I suppose you mean a powerful historical personality like Napoleon.’
Judd was going to interrupt, to debate Napoleon, for wasn’t Napoleon’s failure a proof per se that he was not a true superman? But Milt Lewis, always eager to hitch on to someone else’s idea, had filled in for McKinnon. ‘Didn’t many of the great American pioneers and industrialists consider themselves above the law?’
‘Not exactly,’ said McKinnon. ‘Often such a powerful figure, a conqueror or a revolutionist, considered that he was bringing law to the lawless, or adapting old laws to newer human ways. But always you will find such persons at pains to justify their actions in terms of law, rather than by pretending to be above the law.’ And in the grand sweep of history, he pointed out, even these tremendous and commanding personalities were incorporated, for the general concept of right and wrong, of crime and punishment, remained organic with the social order, resisting individualistic innovations.
‘In fact that’s a case in point—Crime and Punishment. The hero considered himself a kind of superman, and yet he broke down and yielded to the law,’ parroted Milt Lewis, always ready to switch sides.
‘But that’s no superman! That’s not the conception!’ Judd cried. What was Raskolnikov after all but a weak sentimentalist, full of moral and religious drivel? What was his crime but a petty attempt at theft, motivated by abysmal poverty? Where was the superman conception? Raskolnikov’s was only a crime with a motive—his need for money. All he had done was to rationalize the murder by declaring that his need was greater than that of the miserly old female pawnbroker’s. To be above, beyond mundane conception, a crime had to be without need, without any of the emotional human drivers of lust, hatred, greed. It had to be like some force beyond the reach of gravity itself. Then it became a pure action, the action of an absolutely free being—a superman.
-04- p18: Judd didn’t inquire how Artie felt. In a sense they were like two medical experimenters who have injected themselves with an untried drug. In himself, it had perhaps produced a slight quickening, but he was holding it well, Judd was sure. In Artie, there was not the slightest sign of an effect. But then, had not Artie secretly tried a dose once or twice before?
-05- p28: I approached, and, with a sense of being a brazen newspaperman, drew back the cloth. For the truth is that until that moment I had never looked at a dead human being.
I noted, rather, with pride, that no feeling arose in me. Was this because of my role of observer, I asked myself, or was it because life had so little value in the modern world? We had shootings in the streets; we rather boasted of Chicago as a symbol of violence. And I thought of the 1918 war, when I had been a kid, and every day the headlines of the dead; the numbers had had no meaning.
-06- p36: Or now, sitting here in the railway station, watching Artie, with his easy smile, stooping to the ticket window, and knowing why. And only the two of them knowing! You could go through life carrying always your extraordinary deeds between you, sealed off from all the little people, and sealed together by your doing and your knowing!
-07- p36: Just as during the months of planning it had seemed as if the thing would never happen, so it seemed now as though it had not happened. The thought habit of those months was stronger than the occurrence of a single day. All yesterday was a void, an intrusion, for yesterday had been a part of the deed that they could not have rehearsed. And today was like a going back to before the thing was done, like another rehearsal.
-08- pp37-8: Judd sat down again. Now the machinery was in motion. The minute Artie, having planted the letter, slipped off the train, they would phone Kessler. Michigan 2505. Judd couldn’t quite picture the man. A skinny twerp, Artie had said. Until yesterday he had been Mr A, for Adversary. Now he had a name. That too had been wonderful, sitting and drinking the old man’s liquor whileplaying over names of possible victims. Anyone you had a hate on for a day, you could put down as the victim.
Evening after evening, playing the game, picking out victims discussing the size, the maximum weight of a victim practical to handle… Nobody too large—a struggle would be abhorrent. And then the long arguments—almost fights—he had had with Artie, trying to convince him that it should be a girl.
-09- p40: There was Artie, coming from the train, smiling, as if he were just stepping out to buy a magazine. Now was the time to make the phone call. Judd pictured Mr A by a phone, waiting. It was again a man like his own father. Still, it was better, purer, that nothing personal had guided them in their final choice. To have left blank the address on the ransom envelope, even as they prowled the street for the victim—that had been a superb affirmation. It proved destiny was accidental. Wouldn’t that settle forever the silly argument about any meaning in life? Concatenation of circumstances—admitted–but meaningless, meaningless…
Judd arose to the gladness of Artie coming toward him. Yesterday had been an intrusion. Now, the game was continuing.
-10- p43: In a sense, this impersonality of the victims seemed fitting; in the world as I was to come to know it, the victims mattered very little. The Kessler murder was the first to show us how the victim can be chosen at random.
-11- p48: But with a boy, I was in my own mind perplexed. For in that time, among those of us who carried around the purple-morocco-bound volumes of Oscar Wilde, there are more knowingness than knowing. Love between men or love of boys scarcely seemed to suggest a physical act. I associated such love rather with purity, love of beauty, and high-mindedness. Lines from Keats, fantasies of an elderly philosopher, a Socrates, walking with his hand on the shoulder of a stripling youth, images of an elegant Oscar Wilde exchanging epigrams with an elegant young lord, seemed to make such love simply an avoidance of the clumsy, sometimes disgusting physical part of the act that took place with women.
For at eighteen, and already a newspaper reporter in Chicago, the wicked city, I was innocent. At the frat house, I had taken part in the smut sessions, and in the gym I had taken part in the horseplay, and I could use the sex swear words as freely as the rest—so freely precisely because the words had for me no meaning in experience.
-12- p52: Charles Kessler had mastered himself so well that one could not have recognized, offhand, that he was the father of the slain boy. All his energy was available; grief had not drained him. Throughout the case this impressed me. It was not that I felt he lacked emotion; it was simply that his remarkable control seemed in some obscure way linked to a pattern that lay beneath the entire crime, a pattern of feelings pushed down so that nothing could show.
-13- p54: He had that inordinately clean, scrubbed look that certain people achieve; I half imagined a British accent when he spoke. Could this be a degenerate?
-14- p57: And why hadn’t they used the ether? To put the boy cleanly to sleep, and in his sleep to do as planned—in his deep sleep to slip the rope around his throat, Artie and he each holding an end of it—to pull, with equal force, equal participation, forever linked in that way, he and Artie.
-15- p58: And in that instant, in Artie’s anger, Judd suddenly felt the failure of the entire venture. It came over him blackly, fully—a grief, an anguish that nearly brought tears.
It was all closed now. They had turned in the car. The whole thing was a failure. The killing itself had been wasted. Even if the killing had been a necessary waste, an experiment, there remained the death of the thing itself. The whole thing had represented a plan, an entity, perhaps a poetic unity, a flower of evil, a union between Artie and himself. And it was dead.
-16- p60: Remembering the untried experiences from the list in Aretino’s Dialogues.
-17- p62: If the whole thing had gone off without a slip-up, it would have been perfection of a kind: a deed conceived and planned and carried out, like some intricate construction—a matchstick palace with even that last piece fitting perfectly into place.
But the glasses were an error, an error tearing down Artie and himself from their superhuman state as beings who could achieve an act of perfection. And in some centre of his self, Judd rejoiced that they were united in this error, united in their imperfect action; he rejoiced that Artie had committed his part of the flaw.
Now their action permitted a different kind of triumph, for they must try to retrieve their error and still emerge superior. And in their error they were united even more firmly than by a perfect deed. For had the adventure succeeded, though would have divided the ransom and been done. He would have gone on, in two weeks, to Europe.
Perhaps now he would never go. Even in this dread anticipation of being caught, Judd felt a subterranean satisfaction; he and Artie were entwined in what was still to come.
-18- p64: Indeed, in a superior society, no one capable of such a stupid oversight should have a right to live. Nietzsche would certainly have condemned him, for in the end it was his own fault for having the glasses in his pocket.
-19- p77: We sometimes said we had Weltschmerz, but it was more like a presentiment that everything would be vile in our time. On that day it was as though the crime had split open a small crack in the surface of the world, and we could see through into the evil that was yet to emerge.
-20- p79: What if the old man were told his Junior had achieved the greatest crime in th world? Could he ever understand such a conception? Could he comprehend that there was as much greatness on one side as on the other? Indeed, more. For the crime had to be created against the grain, a rebours, and law was with the grain.
-21- p86: And Maybe picking up one of these punks today would be a kind of revenge for his miserable years in this miserable school. Today’s flock, or the flock around him four years ago—all crowds were the same, raucous humanity, stupes….
But coolly, Judd checked himself. What he was doing today was not for revenge. He must have no feelings about those days. Even then, as a kid, he had known that he must not feel anything. That way, nothing could hurt.
Therefore, no revenge. No emotional connection. This was an exercise in itself, a deed like a theorem.
-22- p87: Boldly, Artie walked across to the lot. Judd sat staring, feeling a kind of awe. This was the way of a man entirely above normal fears and rules. So bold an impulse would never have occurred in himself, Judd knew.
-23- p88: Judd stood close to Artie. It was one of those moments, perhaps because of being safe together in the room, and yet in the midst of their wild game—one of those moments when he could almost groan with excitation.
Artie turned to let him use the binoculars. And from the look in Artie’s eyes, that almost mocking look, Judd knew that Artie knew.
-24- p88: They waited, the motor running. Judd felt Artie’s hand on his thigh, warm, tense, ready. Anything, anything to have times like this with Artie.
-25- p89: Judd’s father voice cut in, ‘Thinking about your exam?’ The memory images braked, halting sharply. Judd looked up.
-26- pp89-90: Judd tried to bone again, and then the sexual excitement came. Always, always when he sat trying to study. He was oversexed, he was sure. Images intruded: a slave, a slave rewarded by his master.
With a little gasp, almost a groan, Judd gave himself over to the fantasy. His master was extended on a stone couch, drinking from a silver cup. His splendid muscular torso was bare, the skin golden, glistening, not oily by luminous.
The slave was no common slave, but had been purchased because of his learning. He was crouched, reading to his master, and the master laughed at the tale, a witty account of an ass, making love to a woman.
As Judd read, he looked up to his master, and saw the half smile, the beginning of excitation. The master’s arm lay free, and a short whip dangled from Artie’s hand. Artie caught his slavish eyes, and laughingly commanded him, ‘All right, you bastard, you sucker,’ and flicked the whip. The slave put aside his parchment and…
Then a tumult. An attacker plunged into the roon, more, three, five, a dozen assassins. Judd leaped up, defending his master, with his bare hands wrestling the sword form one of the villains, charging them, forcing them backward, plunging the sword.
Excited beyond endurance, Judd arose, circled the room, trying to keep away from the bed. It would be an hour before Artie came. Then, making sure the door was closed, he lay down.
He let himself slide completely into it…
-27- p91: Any parrot with a large enough medulla oblongata could absorb the kind of knowledge that was required in a classroom.
-28- p92: At first sight, Judd felt disappointment. It was an instant feeling that Artie wasn’t for him, Artie wasn’t the one. His long narrow face was like tallow. And everything about him was too long—his arms, his neck, his fingers. Even before emerging from the car, Judd knew he would scarcely reach to Artie’s shoulders. A shrimp in any crowd, beside Artie he would look like a midget… Artie would never be anything to him. Judd even felt a kind of triumph that he had come along as Mother Dear and Aunt Bertha wished, but had proven immune to their plotting. He would remain his solitary and superior self.
-29- p93: Judd had never seen any before, but he made it his rule always to be inwardly prepared for anything. He didn’t flicker.
-30- p95: It was there in the sun, laughing, pushed up close together against the wall, that Judd first saw Artie differently, His face was no longer pasty but alive, his eyes shone, and his body had suddenly a lanky grace. And that night in his imagining, when Judd waited for the king to come into his fantasy, it was Artie.
-31- p96: Police arrived and scattered the crowd. Back in the car, Artie and Judd laughed themselves silly, Artie mimicking the terrified cobbler: ‘Black Hand! I don’t know no Black Hand!’ And the most wonderful part of it, sense for the first time there, was that they two together were a kind of secret power, like their own Black Hand—they could stand right there in the midst of the crowd, and nobody could even suspect them.
-32- p97: For Judd, this was a kind of proof. As a kid, parents tried to make you fear an all-watching God, and ever after that you felt a kind of fear that if you did something, people might somehow see it on you. But there was nothing! Nothing showed! You did whatever you damn pleased. And that was Artie’s philosophy.
-33- p97: Despite his excitement, he wanted to roar away from th two females, with their smeared mouths. Why should a man have to demean himself to make vapid remarks to such brainless creatures, merely for biological release!
-34- p97: Judd would surrender himself to his excitement, at the same time cursing the terrible need that nature had forced upon an intelligent being, the tormenting, relentless sex need…
-35- p98: He didn’t want her to look at him. He had read about the feeling of after-disgust. But he was sure that what he felt was more, much more.
-36- p99: They drove west again and Artie picked out a shed at the end of a vacant lot, just an old shed—couldn’t hurt anybody. He got out of the car and found some old newspapers and cardboard. He lighted a little bonfire against the wall of the shack. They waited till it caught on, then circled the block, coming back to see the whole shed ablaze.
Artie put his arm on Judd’s shoulder, watching. Judd felt cleansed. He wished he had thought of this himself. How Artie’s eyes glittered! He felt the wine of full friendship in them at last.
-37- p101: So Judd was a terrible danger to him. Rage and grief shuddered through Artie. Why did that punk bastard have to go and spoil the whole thing! All the other things he had done by himself, were done without a trace. The last one in winter, the ice-cold night, the upturned coat collar covering the face, the tape-wound chisel in his pocket, hard against his hand, then the body falling off the pier into the lake. Had he done it, or only pictured it to himself?
That was the sad part of doing things all by yourself, on your own. You lost them. You really needed someone else to be in a thing with you so that the deed stayed alive between you.
-38- p106: Judd’s fault, that time with Morty. First, being such a damn fool as to start playing around, with the door unlocked. Hell, he himself didn’t get any special kick out of it, but he let Judd play around just for the hell of it. Judd was the one who started all that stuff.
-39- pp110-1: It was then, on that ride in the November night, that Judd experienced the sense of the two of them in their unity apart from the world. A light snow began to fall, and traffic died away until theirs was the only car on a long stretch of road.
Then the thought came to Judd that at this moment no one in the whole world, only he, knew where Artie was. The night was between them alone. If something should happen right now, an auto accident, and they should be killed together, then their folks might wonder what were they doing way out here. If someone, even Myra, should want Artie right now, she wouldn’t have the ghost of an idea where to look.
He glanced at Artie, who was unusually silent, and saw that Artie had passed out, in the way he sometimes did, his mouth hanging a bit open. And a thrill of happiness went through Judd, to be riding like this as though he were carrying Artie with him into infinity.
Their adventure would be a continuation of their separation from the world. For in the theft tonight, in the masked silence of it, they would be even more as they were now, united in space and time, enclosed in an action that no one else might know of, no one else might ever share.
It was as though for this length of time they indeed escaped the world and inhabited their private universe together.
-40- p115: Judd was silent. His mind worked around Artie’s words. Artie could do things, say things, flashing in an instantaneous reaction understanding, that he, Judd, had to attain in several steps of thinking. It was true again—by everything his intellect accepted, Artie was right. And yet he felt as though he had made some great, shivery effort, dragging himself up to a peak, an icy peak, alongside his friend.
-41- p115: ‘How about, it, Mac? You want to make the deal?’ Artie said, and the teasing note was there, just an edge of it.
‘If we’re agreed on the terms,’ Judd managed, quietly.
‘Yah. But Charley’s the boss. What he says, you do. Life or death.’
Judd nodded. Yes. In any action, one had to be the master. And the slave, a slave.
Artie accelerated. The car swayed but held on the slippery road.
But not a slave to grovel. A slave of sure reward, the golden slave, his sword protecting his master, his beloved master, of long ivory limbs.
-42- pp115-6: They defined it. Only things that might make Judd look ridiculous could be challenged. But if once he refused to go through with a serious thing, then they’d be finished. Artie would get someone else.
‘But Mac has a right to question an order,’ Judd insisted.
‘Okay. But Charley has the last word. If Charley says so, it’s so.’
It hung between them for a moment. ‘Hey, Jocko, let’s make that the signal,’ Artie said. ‘When I say “Charley says so”, that means no more questioning. “Charley says so”, you’ve got to do it, no comeback.’
It was like handing over his life. A fluttering elation went through Judd.
-43- p116: Then they started on pet hates, who shouldn’t be allowed to exist. They took turns naming candidates, beginning with Morty Kornhauser. And the blackballing president of the chapter, Al Goetz—Artie said they ought to shoot his balls off. And they named a prof or two, and William Jennings Bryan. And how about including females, Judd said, the old bitch who had spoiled his all-A average with her B in Medieval History. Sure, Artie said, and his own bitch of a governess, Miss Nuisance, he had always wanted to kidnap and torture her.
-44- p118: And in that moment the first ghastly doubt of their cleverness spread through Judd. The spectacles could have been an accident. But the bloody robe lying in the open all day, with the neighbourhood filled with police! Then, if they weren’t really cleaver, if they weren’t really superior—if they were just anybodies, where was their right to do what they had done?
-45- p130: Judd suddenly began to talk like a whirlwind, with passion, explaining his ideas to Ruth. If you accepted a set of regulations about right and wrong, you might a swell believe in cause and effect, for everything was exactly laid out for you, what to do and what not to do—you had no choice. But if you believed in free will, then you had to feel free to choose. You had to say there were no rules. Of course, you might for your own convenience decide to accept some of the minor rules, the minor conventions like wearing clothes. But to prove you were free, you had to know you could break the rules, too.
-46- p131: About all I could make of it was that the multitudes weren’t strong enough to make use of their free will. Only the few. Thus Spake Zarathustra.
-47- p131: Ruth was summarizing like an intelligent student. ‘Well, according to Artie’s idea, there isn’t any right and wrong because of fate; everything is determined forever.’
‘Sure,’ Artie said, ‘you are my fate!’
Ruth laughed, and went on to summarize Judd’s point of view. ‘But you say there isn’t any right and wrong, but for the opposite reason, because people do have free will and should use it to do exactly as they please.’
‘That’s anarchy,’ I said.
Anarchy was merely a simple way of putting it, Judd declared…
-48- p131: …being a lawyer meant being able to argue on either side of a case, so a lawyer really couldn’t have any convictions about justice.
That part of it at least fitted with his ideas about right and wrong, Ruth said, so he ought to be interested in law after all.
-49- p132: We kissed a real love kiss, tenderly, without opening our lips.
-50- p138: A clear, mathematical conviction of superiority had come back to him.
-51- p139: There was an elation in him now over the way he had handled the interrogation. His victory was like a confirmation of his entire code of behaviour. He was right, right, right!
-52- p144: Everyone likes being ‘different’, but with Judd it is such a terrible passion. Like the way he has to brag about the different courses he takes at school, how he is the only student in that course in Umbrian dialect. And here, his pleasure seems to have been not to much in what he discovered but in having been alone to prove others were mistaken.
-53- pp145-6: ‘Well, why not?’ [Judd] persists, irritated. ‘What proof is there of anything else? If God exists, it is because we created him in our minds. And if man can conceive in man’s consciousness. Isn’t that right?’
‘I know it’s logical,’ she says softly, ‘but it seems so conceited. According to that idea, everyone is his own God.’
‘Why not?’ he demands again. She is once more merely the female, refusing to recognize logic! Can’t she see that a person, a consciousness, can be sure only of itself alone? A flood of ideas rushed through his mind—the ‘God is dead’ of Nietzsche—but it is no use explaining to her. Judd sees the archaic bearded gods, the Jehovah—all those gods that little men had invented to fill up their areas of fear.
-54- p148: He hears his own voice repeating his favourite ideas. There have to be people who are ready to explore all the possibilities of human experience.
‘Oh,’ she says, as though trying desperately to keep up with him, ‘oh, there have been plenty of people who have found out all about evil.’
But the higher the type of mind, Judd says, the more there is to be discovered.
-55- p162: On Monday, Ruth was sitting in the university library. She had drawn a large volume filled with pictures of birds, and she was reading in it when Judd sat down next to her.
It was somehow an impulse that took hold of students, when a new romance was coming upon them, either to linger around Sleepy Hollow or to go and sit in the main reading room, with its cathedral windows and the soft light lying across the tables.
-56- p162: Would it not be unique for a person of really unusual intelligence to permit himself to enter into an ordinary experience of love, to see what would happen?
-57- p163: They had their date that evening, and spent their time analysing what they might feel for each other. Judd maintained that there was no such entity as love, that it could always be reduced to self-interest or physiological response. ‘In your presence,’ he explained, ‘I experience a certain ocular stimulation that causes a heightened activity in my glands.’
Ruth sat smilingly before him. But why, she inquired, should this stimulation be higher in the presence of certain members of the opposite sex than in that of others? And even if you explained the entire physical mechanism, she said, weren’t you still left with the same question? If you felt a longing for one certain person, and just wanted to be with that person and not with anyone else, didn’t you have to admit it was more than physiological?
-58- p164: And so he explains to Ruth that pure love, disinterested love, can be felt only between men, just as Socrates said, for only then is nature unable to intrude her ulterior motive and to make people imagine they are in love. Yet as he speaks, Judd reserved within himself the knowledge that he includes the component of physical love between men.
-59- p164: And thus as Judd talks, his sense of inverse pleasure increases: it is as though a self-thrust knife were already in his flesh, to cut off this prospect of love, and as he twists and turns in his emotions the heightening tension of his muscles presses exquisitely against the ready blade.
-60- p165: Could Ruth be up to it? In the remaining days, if only days remained, to treat all of life like some Huysmansesque Black Mass! Could she join him in a carnival of the senses? [What does this mean?]
-61- p174: He looked at Artie, and all at once his friend’s face appeared to him the way he had seen it the very first time when his mother brought him over to Artie’s house: he saw it as long-jawed and pasty. A tumult of revulsions and fears raced through Judd; everything, everything in the whole past of creation was wrong. In that moment he knew Artie, knew him objectively, as a being apart from himself. In the thing that they had done, they had not been doing the same thing. Artie had been doing something else, something he had done before, like the one in the lake, and the ones Artie had made dark hints about—the campus fellow who had been found shot, the taxi driver found castrated. Artie was driven by some demonic force, and in himself it was not the same. Had everything, then, been a gargantuan mistake? When he had believed himself to be participating, joining with Artie, had they really been separate, doing their separate things? If that could be so, then what—what had he been doing there? The possibility was a gasping void. Judd closed it out of his mind, and yet found it continuing into another thought: when people imagined they could be immersed together performing the act of love together, it was also like that: each was doing a separate thing.
-62- p175: Only by telling her he was in love he had caused her to change toward him. It was as though he had inadvertently used a password for the closed little world of ordinary people.
-63- p175: Someone had left a newspaper lying on the grass, and after the first glimpse of the headlines, Judd made himself avoid looking at it. They were still churning, churning over the city. But he would be safe. He was changing; he had to be safe to find out what he was going to be like.
-64- p180: Gradually she begins to feel his hurt, to feel it powerfully, deeply, to know that there is some unknowable sorrow stemming perhaps even from the brilliance of his mind—his mind apprehending some fated evil that ordinary people cannot see, some inescapable world sorrow. And Ruth begins to believe that anything must be done to assuage such a hurt that comes only from very life itself.
-65- p183: He was a stoic. He knew that all in the end was fated badly. A man should combat the putridly of life to the limit. Therefore he would go through everything without changing, without breaking. He would show himself consistent in his beliefs. Even to the execution.
-66- pp218-9: The point in the whole controversy, Judd said in the forgiveness letter, was to determine which of them was guilty of a mistake, for a mistake was the greatest crime a person of their sort could commit! ‘But I am going to add a little more in an effort to explain my system of the Nietzschean philosophy in regard to you. It may not have occurred to you why a mere mistake in judgment on your part should be treated as a crime when on the part of another it should not be so considered. Here are the reasons. In formulating a superman, he is, on account of certain superior qualities inherent in him, exempted from the ordinary laws which govern ordinary men. He is not liable for anything he may do, whereas others would be, except for the one crime that it is possible for him to commit—to make a mistake.
‘Now obviously any code which conferred upon an individual or upon a group of extraordinary privileges without also putting on him extraordinary responsibility, would be unfair and bad. Therefore, the superman is held to have committed a crime every time he errs in judgment…’
-67- p219: It was as though two dense curtains had shrouded the possibility of seeing these rich, clever boys as perpetrators of the crime. The outer curtain was the negative one, the one that excluded them from the action, a curtain of ‘why they would not’. For all the fears of punishment, all the laws of man provided a ‘why not’. And this curtain seemed now to be lifting. If they really believed in this idea of being superior to ordinary law, then there was no ‘why not’ for them. The inner curtain was the ‘why?’ and was still impenetrable, though the sexual motive provided a rent in it.
-68- p240: Just as there is no absolute vacuum, there is no absolute abstraction. But one approaches a vacuum by removing atmosphere, and so, in the pretentious excuse offered by Judd, it seemed that by removing the common atmospheres of lust, hatred, greed, one could approach the perfect essence of crime.
-69- p240: But Judd Steiner and Artie Straus were saying that they had killed the boy, a victim chosen at random. Truly for the deed alone, for the fascinating experiment of committing a perfect crime.
-70- p240: How needlessly emotional people had always been about death! In the pursuit of an impersonal plan, it was nothing, as Judd was to insist; it was no more meaningful than impaling a beetle, than mounting a bird.
-71- p241: ‘And at that moment it was not too late to stop?’
Was it? You could think it was too late from the moment Judd first met Artie, from the moment when he was born so bright, born a boy though a girl was wanted.
-72- p244: At the time, in the immense excitement of having the story, the dual accusation was only an ironic sidelight to the crime, and the fact that each accused the other only made them more alike in our minds. It was only later that the simple realization came that one of them must have been telling the truth.
To this day, the crime has been thought of as a deed in which they were organically joined, like Siamese twins. This may be true as to legal guilt. But understanding will never come through such an assumption. And if we see them as two beings who became wedded in the deed, then it does become momentous that one, here, had been telling the truth while the other had been lying.
-73- p245: After his confession Judd felt, if anything rather proud, as after making an unusually comprehensive report in class.
-74- p245: The crime had a certain altitude, he told himself; the action had a wholeness—the word was consistency. Now, through a trial, through an execution, he would maintain the same consistency, the same dignity of living and dying by a set of ideas.
-75- p247: So at this moment Judd felt eternal solitude coming upon him. The dignity, the consistency, of the deed had been broken; they were no longer wilful gods, but caught boys squirming to throw blame, and he wanted only to detach himself so he might at least retain his own idea of integrity.
-76- pp248-9: At once came our questions about remorse. Artie said he was sorry, but only because the adventure had not succeeded. Judd said, ‘I have examined my reactions and can’t say that I have experienced any such sentiment as remorse.’
Would he do the thing again?
No, Judd said, with deliberation, but only because he now knew that there could be no perfect crime—some error would always be made.
While Artie scarcely spoke, Judd suddenly became torrential. After all, he said, it was not entirely wrong that they had been caught. Now they could fully explain their ideas; even if they paid with their lives, it was in a sense the only way to establish the new concept that had guided them. The failure, the slip-up, was a flaw in the experiment. The magnitude of the idea remained.
He began then to explain his superman philosophy—the freedom from all codes, sentiments, superstitions, even from fear of death itself.
-77- p261: ‘Oh, yes, Memorial Day!’ And he added, ‘The annual parade for legalized murder.
-78- p252: When someone asked if Nietzsche’s superman philosophy justified murder, Judd perversely replied, ‘It is easy to justify such a death, as easy as to justify an entomologist impaling a butterfly on a pin.’
The room became quiet. Danny Mines of the News said, ‘We all had a little Nietzsche in college, Steiner, but that doesn’t mean you have to live by it.’
We all studied our menus. ‘The herring is excellent here,’ Judd announced to McNamara, ‘but I suppose you don’t like herring—you aren’t Jewish.’
Throughout the meal he continued to flash his erudition, and against my will, I was being pushed by the others, set up as the antipode—for I too was a university graduate at eighteen. Repeatedly, Judd seemed to challenge me, with a reference to Anatole France, a reference to Voltaire. On these I could keep up with him, but I had not read Sappho, even in translation. ‘The Medicis!’ he cried. ‘We all have a time to be born in. I should have lived in the time of Cellini or Aretino, don’t you think? You’ve read Aretino, surely?’
How much Judd was a part of his own century we could not then know.
Only at the end of the meal, as we arose, Judd took an opportunity to talk quietly with me, as two who are publicly opponents but privately have much in common.
-79- p254: I knew he was suffering from something terrible he couldn’t tell me. He hides everything in himself. Perhaps’–her voice became small, choked–’perhaps that’s even what made him do it.’
-80- p272: A superman was not bound by the conventions of telling the truth! It was not against him, personally, that Artie had lied, but for his own self, as a god made his own truth.
-81- p274: Mencken’s jokes in The Smart Set
-82- p288: That was when he determined in his heart never to show Max, never to show anyone, if he felt hurt—in fact, never to let any feelings hurt him. ‘I discovered that emotions could hurt too much, and so I decided not to let myself be hurt that way.’
-83- pp290-1: ‘After that summer it was other fellows, sometimes a teacher, and then a few years later we went up that summer to Artie’s in Charlevoix, and I began to idealize him, and from then on it was almost always Artie who was the king.
‘You idealized him?’
‘I would see him as an athlete, a champion, even though I knew he is not a champion. And also, I would idealize him as a brilliant student, getting all As–’
‘You knew his actual grades?’
‘I knew Artie never got all As, but I told myself he could, if he wasn’t lazy. He has an almost perfect mind, and in other ways—sociability, and the ability to make people do what he wants—I would rate him very high. In fact, I once made a chart, and I rated everyone I knew, and Artie came out highest, ninety I think.’
‘I see. You were aware, through all this, that you idealized Artie?’
Judd looks directly into his eyes. ‘It was blind hero worship. I almost completely identified myself with him. I would watch the food he ate, the drink going down his throat, and I would be envious.’
‘Yes, even now. For a few days, I was angry with him. But now, when they take us through the corridors together sometimes, and to feel him near me, to brush against him, makes me feel I am alive.’ He continued to look into Dr Allwin’s eyes, not defiantly, not apologetically; Judd is entirely self-possessed, but there is between them, as a few days ago, a sense of shared pleasure in a task that is going well, even though its purpose remains obscure.
-84- p292: And another confusion resulted from our pairing them, from our feeling that they were in the crime to the same degree precisely, utterly commingled. This tendency to confuse them was to continue all the way through the trial, with lawyers and psychiatrists again and again naming the one when they meant the other. The record is filled with these snap-ups. ‘Steiner–’ ‘You mean Straus?’ ‘Yes, yes, I mean Straus–’
Thus they were a joint personality in our minds. Yet from their revelations to the psychiatrists, different patterns could be traced.
And despite the streaks of darkness in Artie’s revelations, a good deal can be made out of how these two distorted personalities conjoined. Artie was cunning and apt to withhold incidents in telling of his life. But when Dr Allwin led him into his fantasy like, Artie, too, became easy and garrulous. Yes, he had indulged almost every night in picturizations, as he called them. There was something uncanny in the way they dovetailed with Judd’s.
Judd’s dominant fantasy role was that of a slave; Artie saw himself as a master. He was the chief of all criminals, commanding absolute obedience.
Even on the reverese side of their fantasies, there was an interlocking symmetry, Judd as a slave was, however, a superior being, a champion, a godlike, handsome person. Thus, while an inferior in the nominal side of his role, he was superior on the active side. He lived in comfortable quarters, and he was the mentor of kings. Conversely, Artie was superior in the nominal side of his role, he was a master mind, a chief, yet in carrying out his picturizations he saw himself as captured and jailed, chained and in rags. He derived greatest satisfaction from imagining himself incarcerated and whipped.
And in real life their fantasy relationships were carried out with beautiful inevitability. Both now related their strange compact, made after the frat-house robbery—the compact in which Artie was the master who must be implicitly obeyed; and yet, the other side of the agreement was the sexual act in which Artie had to submit and which was carried out in the spirit of a rape, a violence, almost a punishment—but, as in his fantasy, a punishment which he passively enjoyed.
-85- p299: The psychiatrists had moved on to a discussion of Artie and his game of ‘detective’. Artie had offered Allwin the explanation that he still played it only because had had to have a game he could play with his little brother Billy. But to Dr McNarry, Artie had no longer rationalized the childish game. He had told of playing it with Judd, and even when he was alone, walking through the streets, imagining he had accomplices with him, giving them hand signals. Dr McNarry added, ‘I believe he even built it up for me; he’s cunning.’
‘No, he really does it!’ Uncle Gerald broke in. ‘Why a year ago last fall he shadowed me all the way home one night. He came up behind me when I got to my house—he had a black handkerchief tied around his face like a real hold-up man—and he said, ‘Stick ‘em up!’ Of course I knew it was Artie and I just told him to run along home.’
-86- p301: It was indeed the paradox, and McNarry did not hesitate to express his lifelong disgust with this curious situation in which a jury of laymen, the persons least equipped for it, were always the ones who had to decide whether a person was insane.
-87- p301: Wilk drawled, ‘It’s no easier to make people believe the plain truth than a lie. But I suppose it is always more comfortable.’
-88- p324: The doctor described the shadowing in the street, the jail fantasy, and how when Artie finally got into jail he ‘felt as if he belonged there and was living out in reality what he used to picture to himself as a child.’ He told of the curious continuance into his present life of a practice he had as an infant, confiding in his teddy bear, ‘And now, Teddy…’ ‘ He summarized: ‘Whereas fantasy life is compensatory, it also foreshadows our real conduct. He thinks of himself in prison, as a master criminal. The significance is on the emotional side because it is in the emotions that the fantasy life has its roots.’ Artie was remaining, then, emotionally a child, a bad child seeking punishment.
To show how fantasy imposed itself and could even obliterate reality, the psychiatrist reminded us that despite Artie’s general popularity everywhere, Artie had an idea of himself as unwanted and inferior. This was another sign of Artie’s disintegration, as was his complaint that in the last few years he had felt that he ‘wasn’t all there’.
-89- pp324-5: ‘Thus, in this fantasy, in either position he occupies, as king or as slave, he gets the expression of both components of his make-up, his desire for subjection on the one part and the desire for subjection on the one part and the desire for supremacy on the other, so that with their effective and emotional relationship to each other, each entire life plays into the other with almost devilish ingenuity, if I may be permitted to use the term.’
-90- p325: ‘So these two boys,’ Dr McNarry continued, in his even tone, ‘with their peculiar inter-digitating and complementing personalities’–he laced together the fingers of his two hands–’came into this emotional compact, with the Kessler homicide as the result.’ It could be described, he said, as a folie à deux, rare enough, since it could not result unless the precise two personalities, by perhaps one chance in millions, came together.
The doctor emphasized this, probably as reassurance to the public, to the world; but even at the time I had a doubting thought: Wouldn’t the needed personalities somehow attract each other, to come together? And since then, of course, we have seen many other crimes out of such conjoinings.
-91- p326: We had almost forgotten that it was a trial, a contest, until Horn came forward for the cross-examination. He turned to Artie’s ‘criminalistic tendencies’, and Judd’s lack of them. Did the doctor, for example, know who struck the fatal blows on Paulie Kessler’s skull?
There was a moment of hesitation as Dr McNarry glanced toward the defence table. Wilk arose.
It would make no difference in the conduct of the defence if this point could be clarified, he said. The boys, by their own desire and that of their families, were being tried jointly, as they were inextricably bound in their act.
-92- p327: ‘Kids nowadays, they have everything too easy.’
We started walking. ‘Perhaps we’re all like that,’ Myra said in her low breathy voice, ‘the generation that refused to grow up. We’re all babies emotionally.’
-93- p334: There lay the sickness, finally frankly exposed before us. Was it so dreadful a thing? In all the history of human behaviour, of the sick and ugly and distorted and careless and sportive and mistaken things that humans did, was this so much more?
-94- p337: …his thinking was ‘autistic’, a new word to us then. As I understood the explanation he made, it is the belief that things really are the way we imagine they are—a kind of self-contained magical thinking, without reference to the outside realities. Both boys had this characteristic to some extent, Holliday said, for it was a splitting off from reality.
-95- p340: Artie had shown intense emotional reaction. And as Judd had stated that he had systematically suppressed any show of emotion since childhood, his lesser show of emotion in his relationship to his companion, Mr Straus.
-96- p341: ‘Zuganglich’.
‘What does that mean?’
‘It is a term used in psychiatry, for ‘accessible’. We first determine whether the patient can be reached in normal communication, or whether the patient can be reached in normal communication, or whether, as it is popularly put, he is too far gone.’
-97- p360: ‘All of these are helpless. We are all helpless. When you are pitying the father and the mother of poor Paulie Kessler, what about the fathers and mothers of these two unfortunate boys, and the boys themselves, and all the fathers and all the mothers and all the boys and girls who tread a dangerous maze of darkness from birth to death?’
-98- p362: ‘If there is such a thing as justice, it could only be administered by one who knew the inmost thoughts of the men to whom he was meting it out. It means that you must appraise every influence that moves them, the civilization in which they live, and all the society which enters into the making of the child or the man! If Your Honour can do it, you are wise, and with wisdom goes mercy.’
-99- p363: ‘We can come down to the last century where nearly two hundred crimes were punishable by death. You can read the stories of hanging on a high hill, and the populace for miles around coming out to the scene, that everybody might be awed into goodness. Hanging for picking pockets—and more pockets were picked in the crowd that went to the hanging than had been known before.
‘What happened? Gradually the laws have been changed and modified, and men look back with horror at the hangings and killings of the past. What did they find in England? That, as they got rid of these barbarous statutes, crimes decreased instead of increased. I will undertake to say, Your Honour, that you can scarcely find a single scholarly book—and I will include all the works on criminology of the past—that has not made the statement over and over again that as the penal code was made less terrible, crimes grew less frequent.
-100- pp365-6: We have a statute in this state, passed by the legislature last year, if I recall correctly, which forbids minors reading stories of crime. Why? Because the legislature in its wisdom felt that it would produce criminal tendencies in the boys who read them. The boy read them day after day. He never stopped. When he was a senior he read them, and almost nothing else. Artie was emotionally a child.
-101- p366-7: ‘They had parents who were good and kind and wise in their way. But I say to you seriously that the parents are more responsible than these boys. They might have done better if they had not had so much money. I do not know. Great wealth often curses those who touch it. I know there are no better citizens in Chicago than the fathers of these poor boys. I know that there are no better women than their mothers. But I am going to be honest with this court, if it is at the expense of both.’
He spoke more slowly. ‘To believe that any boy is responsible for himself or his early training is an absurdity that no lawyer or judge should be guilty of today. Somewhere this came to this boy. If his failing came from his heredity, I don’t know where or how.’
-102- p368: ‘He wrote one book, Beyond Good and Evil, which was a criticism of all moral codes as the world understands them—a treatise holding that the intelligent man if beyond good and evil, that the laws for good and the laws for evil do not apply to those who approach the superman. Judd Steiner is not the only boy who has read Nietzsche. He may be the only one who was influenced in the way he was influenced.
-103-pp369-70: ‘ “Why so soft,oh my brethern? Why so soft, so unresisting and yielding? This new table, oh my brethren, I put over you: Become hard. To be obsessed by moral consideration presupposes avery low grade of intellect. We should substitute for morality the will to our own end, and consequently to the means to accomplish that.”’
His own voice hardened by the words, Wilk went on, ‘ “A great man, a man that nature has built up and invented in a grand style, is colder, harder, less cautious and more free from the fear of public opinion.”’
He spoke directly to Judd, as to a misunderstanding pupil. ‘This was a philosophical dream, containing more or less truth, that was not meant by anyone to be applied to life.’ Wilk went on to quote a scholarly appraisal: ‘ “Although no perfect superman has yet appeared in history, Nietzsche’s types are to be found in all the world’s great figures—Alexander, Napolean—in the wicked heroes such as the Borgias, Wagner’s Siegfried and Ibsen’s Brand, and in the great cosmopolitan intellects such as Goethe and Stendhal. These were the gods of Nietzsche’s idolatry. The superman-like qualities supposedly lie not in their genius, but in their freedom from scruple. They felt themselves to be above the law. So the superman will be a law unto himself. What he does will come from the will and super-abundant power within him.” ‘
An excited gleam had come to Judd’s eyes. Was Wilk defending him now? And the great accusatory question stood forth in those eyes: How was anyone to know whether the to power led to good or to evil?
But the moment passed. Wilk seemed to shake himself out of his abstraction and slowly to load upon himself again the burden of defence. ‘Your Honour, this philosophy became part of his being. He lived it and practised it. Now, he could not have believed it, expecting that it either caused a diseased mind or was the result of a diseased mind.
‘Here is a boy who by day and by night, in season and out, was talking of the superman, owning no obligations to anyone, believing it just as another man might believe a religion.
‘You remember that I asked Dr Ball about these religious cases and he said, “Yes, many people go to the insane asylum on account of them.” I asked Dr Ball whether the same thing might come from a philosophical belief, and he said. “If one believed in it strongly enough.’ And we know this about Nietzsche: He was insane for fifteen years before the time of his death. His very doctrine is a species of insanity.’
Judd’s mouth opened. Then he sank back.
‘Here is a man,’ Wilk continued, ‘who made his impress upon the world. Every student of philosophy knowns him. His doctrines made him a maniac. And here is a young boy in the adolescent age, harassed by everything that harasses children, who takes this philosophy and believes it literally. It is his life. Do you suppose this mad act could have been done by him in any other way?
‘He did it, obsessed of an idea, perhaps to some extent influenced by what has not been developed publicly in this case—perversions that were present in the boy.’ Intimately, to the judge, he said, ‘Both are signs of insanity, both, together with this act, proving a diseased mind.
‘Why should this boy’s life be bound up with Friedrich Nietzsche, who died twenty-four years ago, insane, in Germany? I don’t know. I only know it is….’
-104- pp370-1: Then if it was the encounter with Nietzsche’s philosophy that had drawn out a capacity for evil in Judd, who was to blame for that encounter? Could the publishers of Nietzsche’s works be blamed? Could the university be blamed? ‘I do not believe that the universities are to blame. I do not think they should be held responsible. I do think, however, that they are too large, and that they should keep a closer watch, if possible, upon the individual.
‘But you cannot destroy thought because, forsooth, some brain may be deranged by thought. It is the duty of the university, as I conceive it, to be the great storehouse of the wisdom of the ages, and to let students go there, and learn, and choose. Every changed idea in the world has had its consequences. Every new religious doctrine has created its victims. Every new philosophy has caused suffering and death. Every new machine has carved up men while it served the world. No great ideal but does good and harm, and we cannot stop because it may do harm.’
He paused there; he seemed to have done with Judd’s philosophy, and on Judd’s face there came a blank look—was he thus meagrely explained to the world? Was this all his life was worth?
‘Your Honour, there is something else in this case that is stronger still than the elements I have spoken of before. There is the element of chance. These boys, neither one of them, could possibly have committed this act except by coming together. It was not the act of one; it was the act of two.
‘Your Honour, I am sorry for poor Paulie Kessler, and I think anybody who knows me knows that I am not saying it simply to talk. I do not know what Paulie Kessler would have been had he grown to a man. But would it mean anything if on account of that death, these two boys were taken out and a rope tied around their necks and they died felons? No, Your Honour, the unfortunate and tragic death of Paulie Kessler should mean an appeal to the fathers and the mothers, to the teachers, to the religious guides, to society at large. It should mean an appeal to all of them to appraise children, to understand the emotions that control them, to understand the ideas that possess them, to teach them to avoid the pitfalls of life.’
-105- pp372-5: ‘Crime has a cause as certainly as disease, and the way to rationally treat any abnormal condition is to remove the cause.
‘If a doctor were called on to treat typhoid fever he would probably try to find out what kind of water the patient drank, and clean out the well so that no one else could get typhoid from the same source. But if a lawyer were called on to treat a typhoid patient he would give him thirty days in jail, and then he would think that nobody else would ever dare to drink the impure water. If the patient got well in fifteen days, he would be kept until his time was up; if the disease was worse at the end of thirty days, the patient would be released because his time was out.
‘As a rule, lawyers are not scientists. They think that there is only one way to make men good, and that is to put them in such terror that they do not dare to do bad.’
And then he spoke of an aspect of the crime that few had considered. Going back over the record of hangings, he showed that a recent change had taken place. For years, no minor 1912 until 1920. ‘In 1920, a boy named Viani was convicted by a jury and hanged, a boy of eighteen. Why did we go back to hanging the young? It was 1920; we were used to young men, mere boys, going to their death. It was 1920, just after the war. And that time is still with us, Your Honour.
‘We are anew accustomed to blood, Your Honour. It used to make us feel squeamish. But we have not only seen it shed in bucketsful, we have seen it shed in rivers, lakes, and oceans, and we have delighted in it, we have preached it, we have worked for it, we have advised it, we have taught it to the young, until the world has been drenched in blood and it has left stains upon every human heart and upon every human mind,and has almost stifled the feelings of pity and charity that have their natural home in the human breast.
‘I believed in it. I don’t know whether I was crazy or not. Sometimes I think perhaps I was. I urged men to fight. I was safe because I was too old to go. For four longs years the civilized world was engaged in killing men. Christian against Christian, barbarians uniting with Christians to kill Christians; anything to kill. It was taught in every school, aye, in the Sunday schools. The little children played at war. Do you suppose that this world has even been the same since then?
‘We read of killing one hundred thousand men in a day. We read about it and rejoiced in it—if it was the other fellows who were killed. We were fed on flesh and drank blood. I need not tell Your Honour how many bright, honourable young men have come into this court charged with murder, some saved and some sent to their death, boys who fought in this war and learned to place a cheap value on human life.’
Wilk turned toward Judd and Artie. ‘These boys were brought up in it. The tales of death were in their homes, their playgrouns, their schools; they were in the newspapers that they read; it was part of the common frenzy. What was a life? It was nothing. One of them tells how he was haunted by a war poster, how he dreamed of rape and of killing.
‘It will take fifty years to wipe it out of the human heart, if ever. No one needs to inform me that crime has a cause. It has a definite a cause as any other disease. I know that growing out of the Napoleonic Wars there was an era of crime such as Europe had never seen before. I know that Europe is going through the same experience today; I know it has followed every war and I know it has influenced these boys so that life was not the same to them as it would have been if the world had not been made red with blood. I protest against the crimes and mistakes of society being visited upon them. All of us have our share in it. I have mine. I cannot tell and I shall never know how many words of mine during the war might have given birth to cruelty in the place of love and kindness and charity.’
Again, he had mounted far beyond the case; the spell was upon him and upon as all as Jonathan Wilk spoke: ‘Your Honour knows that in this very court crimes of violence have increased, growing out of the war. Not only by those who fought, but by those who learned that blood was cheap, and if the State could take it lightly, why not the individual?
‘I do not know how much salvage there is in these two boys. I hate to say it in their presence, but what it there to look forward to? I do not know but what Your Honour would be merciful if you tied a rope around their necks and let them die; merciful to them, but not merciful to civilization, and not merciful to those who would be left behind. To spend the balanced of their days in prison is mighty little to look forward to, if anything. Is it anything?
‘They may have the hope that as the years roll around they may be released. I do not know. I do not know.’ He gazed at the defendants. ‘I will be honest with this court as I have tried to be from the beginning. I know that these boys are not fit to be at large. I believe they will not be until they pass through the next stage of life, at forty-five or fifty.’
The words fell heavily, as if he had prophetically sentenced them.
‘I would not tell this court that I do not hope that sometime, when life and age has changed their bodies, as it does, and has changed their emotions, as it does, they may once again return to life. I would be the last person on earth to close the door of hope to any human being that lives, and least of all to my clients. But what have they to look forward to? Nothing.’ He quotes again from Housman
Now hollow fires burn out to black,
And lights are fluttering low:
Square your shoulders, lift your pack
And leave your friend and go.
O never fear, lads, naught’s to dread,
Look not left nor right:
In all that endless road you tread
There’s nothing but the night.
Something had come over Wilk’s face, a complete and otherworldly beauty, as if he indeed were relieved of the shortcomings of mankind.
He repeated: ‘ “In all that endless road you tread, There’s nothing but the night.”
‘I care not, Your Honour, whether the march begins at the gallows of when the gates of Joliet close upon them, there is nothing but the night, and that is little for any human being to expect.’
-106- p375: ‘I know the future is with me and what I stand for here; not merely for the lives of these two unfortunate lads, but for all boys and all girls; for all of the young, and as far as possible, for all of the old. I am pleading for life, understanding, charity, kindness, and the infinite mercy that considers all.’
-107- p380: [Prosecution] ‘He says that hanging does not stop murder. I think he is mistaken. From the time Thomas Fitzgerald expiated his crime upon the gallows, I have no heard of any little tot in Chicago who met a like fate to that which Janet Wilkinson met.
‘He says that hanging does not stop murder. I will direct your attention to the year 1920 when we stopped a wave of lawlessness. Four judges for two months tried nothing but murder cases. In that brief period fifteen men were sentenced to death in the criminal court of Cook County.
‘As a result of that, murder fell fifty-one percent in Cook County during the year 1920.
‘You have heard a lot about England. Well, I never had any liking for her laws as they applied to my ancestor and people in an adjoining isle, but I have learned to have a wholesome respect for the manner in which they enforce the laws of England.
‘There, murder is murder; it is not a fantasy. Justice is handed out swiftly and surely, and as a result there are less murders in the entire kingdom of Great Britain yearly than there are in the city of Chicago!’
-108- pp384-5: [from a report about the mental state of the boys] [Prosecution] ‘On page 124, this is Artie talking about money and his opinion of the power of money… “He thinks an escape could be managed by spending a few thousand dollars, by bribing the guards at the jail and by someone giving him a gun. He says this without any swagger, as though it were only a matter of careful, detailed planning, which his mind can do.”
-109- p386: ‘The report says, “The patient ordinarily is able to make a calm, self-possessed and unconcered. On the other hand, when he does not feel the need for doing this, and when he is talking frankly with people and no longer posing, he shows a good deal of irritability and nervous tension.” ‘
-110- p392: What is happiness? – one of Nathan Leopold, Jr’s questions to be answered if there is an afterlife, if hanged.
-111- p408: ‘Then Judd was not merely Artie’s accomplice. He wasnt there only because he was in love with Artie. He had to do the murder because of some compulsion in himself. Just the way Artie did.’
‘That’s what I think,’ Willie said. ‘Once Artie started them on it.’
-112- p409: For even in this short span of time, a single generation, we have seen some success in the manipulation of the dark forces.
Compulsion by Meyer Levin