Blood runs cold then, now

I’ve been reading Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood. That book, published in 1965, created a landmark in reported narrative, a novel-length book written from fact (or mostly from fact; it’s hard to tell how Capote knew some of the things in the book).

Because I happened to be reading it when the Boston Marathon bombings occurred, I can’t help but compare the senseless murders that took place in Kansas in 1959 and the senseless bombings carried out by the Tsarnaev brothers. There are other brutal and senseless murders that took place in Kansas in the 1950s and 1960s, stunning crimes carried out by Americans. In one case, one of the murderers says the motive was simply “We hate the world.” He made the anti-heroes of the book, Perry Smith and Dick Hickock, seem almost like nice guys.

Oddly, I feel less insecure after reading In Cold Blood. Those heinous random crimes in Kansas were happening in our glory days. It makes it harder to say the bombings are a sign of the times.

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