Inspector Joe Smith entered the apartment of Tom Swazi at 9:49 p.m. The door had been unlocked and there was no response to his loud knock. He had responded to an anonymous tip that shots had been fired. Mr. Swazi was lying on the floor in a small lake of blood. He wasn’t floating. Four bullet holes were in his back. Written in blood slightly beyond his outstretched right hand were the words: “The gun didn’t do it.”
The next day the weapon was found at the bottom of the Joke River. Joe had had a hunch it might have been tossed there, because it looked like a funny case. The gun wasn’t examined for fingerprints, but was formally charged with murder in the first degree. The police had worked fast and efficiently.
Two days later the trial began. Within a few minutes the DA had proven his case: this gun was guilty. The jury, having decided that the written note “The gun didn’t do it” was a red herring, didn’t even leave the jury box to deliberate. The verdict was unanimous. The judge immediately passed sentence.
“Tomorrow at noon you, gun, shall be melted into a little puddle of harmless steel.”
A man jumped up in the courtroom and exclaimed “No! Wait! You can’t do it! The gun is innocent! It was I who pulled the trigger! I forced him to do it! He’s innocent, I tell you, he’s innocent!”
“Bailiff,” stormed the judge, “have that man locked up! I give him 30 days for interfering with the justice of this court!”