Getting Away with Murder

Presentation by Dr. Debra Komar, forensic anthropologist and historical crime author.

I attended a presentation this week by renowned forensic anthropologist and historical crime author, Dr. Debra Komar, called “Getting Away with Murder”. Her talk focused on how cutting-edge investigative methods are rewriting legal history, and how she’s using her modern forensic skills to right the wrongs on some of Canada’s most notorious historical crimes. (Her presentation was of great interest to me because even though I didn’t know what it was called then, growing up I dreamed of being a forensic anthropologist, though no one believes me since the explosion of all the CSI tv shows.)

Her presentation included a reference to universal lethality, a somewhat controversial theory (and one used in serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s defence), meaning everyone has the potential to kill and, under the right circumstances, will act upon that innate impulse. The writer in me couldn’t help but speculate what story could be created from such a world. If this theory holds true, it means everyone would likely kill at least once in their lifetime. What if a world existed where everyone had one-time free pass to kill because of it? Who would they kill, and would the act be premeditated or impulsive? Would there be age restrictions, either for the killer or the victim? Allowed only on strangers or relatives? Specific locations only? Any exceptions? Thoughts on universal lethality are going into my story idea file for future consideration – feel free to share any thoughts on this theory on this page.

2014 Summer Project update:

  • Still Daughter, my story about a very different and creepy little girl facing the major life challenge of being dead, was completed and submitted. The 8 to 12 weeks waiting period for a response begins;
  • I completed a rewrite of Arctic Marauder (formerly titled Frozen in Time) and submitted it for online critique. The story is about a modern polar research expedition finding a downed aircraft and a lone survivor, some seventy years younger than he should be. The mysterious cargo aboard the 1943 B-26 Marauder may have something to do with the surviving soldier’s youthfulness and murderous disposition;
  • I did some research this week of potential markets and found a handful of interesting anthologies coming up, three of them with deadlines by the end of July. I’m now shifting my focus to the stories Walker Watcher (an alternate Hell story), Thirty One’s Elysium (a post-apocalyptic tale), and Ringleader (a retelling of The Three Little Pigs fairy tale). Ringleader will be the most challenging because it is probably not twisted enough for the anthology call but hey, that’s just the kind of challenge I’m up for.

Happy writing.



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