Flying home from a murder trial a few days ago, I read the book “Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, and the Last Trial of Harper Lee” by Casey Cep. Harper Lee, you’ll recall, wrote the iconic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Her fans know that she was tight with Truman Capote, who wrote the “novelized” story of the Clutter family murders, “In Cold Blood,” and she was with him for much of the research.
The research included a tour of the crime scene, the Clutter home. Writes Cep, “(Capote) made three pages of notes that evening; she made nine, including details on every one of the Clutter house’s fourteen rooms. Lee recorded the height of the kitchen cabinets and the titles of the books, the color of the walls and the patterns of the linoleum, the gauges of the shotguns in the closet…”
The shotguns in the closet.
The Clutters lived in a large farmhouse in the country, in a relatively safe low-crime community. They left their doors unlocked. That was how the two armed mass-murderers got into the house. Like most rural homes, this one contained firearms.
But none of those firearms were where a member of the household could reach one in time to defend the family. The result was that epic mass slaughter decades ago, so horrible that Americans remember it still.
It reminded me why in our household, even though we’re in the boonies, we don’t just lock the doors. We put our handguns in our holsters when we put on our pants in the morning, and keep them within reach when we undress to go to bed at night.
Food for thought…