By John York Cabot (David Wright O'Brien, 1918-44).
First appearance: Amazing Stories, February 1941.
Short short story (6 pages).
Online at Roy Glashan's Library (HTML HERE; EPUB HERE) and Archive.org (HERE).
"We're driving toward the elimination of crime. The elimination of crime by scientific equations."The ideal way to do away with criminality is to stop it at its source, before it manifests itself—but what if the criminal doesn't even know he's a criminal?
- David Wright O'Brien, killed in the Second World War, hasn't been neglected by the Internet: Wikipedia (HERE), the SFE (HERE), and the ISFDb (HERE).
- Hollywood has toyed with the idea of stopping crime before it happens (HERE; SPOILERS).
The bottom line: “Murder, other than in the most strict forensic sense, is never soluble. That dark human clot can never melt into a lucid, clear suspension. Our detective fiction tells us otherwise: everything is just meat and cold ballistics. Provide a murderer, a motive and a means, and you have solved the crime. Using this method, the solution to the Second World War is as follows: Hitler. The German economy. Tanks. Thus, for convenience, we reduce the complex events.”
― Alan Moore
― Alan Moore