Confess!

There was something going on in the Lincoln reading, and I have to confes that I didn’t even pick it up until I found a related reading. He writes in a lawyerly just-the-facts manner, in comparison to Bierce, that it was easy, for me anyway, to miss a central point. No one was concerned about Fisher’s disappearance until a letter showed up that suggested that the Trailors had killed him. The police arrested Henry on a Monday and he finally accused his brothers on Wednesday, after the police “plied him on every conceivable way” (p. 75). This was long before the days of Miranda rights and internal affairs bureaus. It made me think of Foucault writing about the science of torture and how much was allowed to find out the truth. We don’t know how much plying it took for Henry to change his story and accuse his brothers, but it doesn’t surprise me that he didn’t want to talk about it afterwards.

Lincoln points out that innocent men could have been executed in this case, which says to me that maybe people needed to rethink how society was exercising power. Which is a contrast to Bierce, who was saying that California was too soft on crime.

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