Three Monkeys

Japanese folk culture presented us with the “Three Wise Monkeys” that are named Mizaru (see no evil), Kikazaru (hear no evil) and Iwaszarua (speak no evil).

I love these creatures as they are portrayed in numerous formats ranging from coffee mugs to cartoons and everything else in between in their respective anthropomorphic poses.

However, with my sincere apologies to these primate relatives of “Cheetah”, I really don’t think that they were that wise. They were cowards! In reality, they were figuratively blind, deaf and mute that may seem wise to some but not this retired Gumshoe.

In my experience at fresh crime scenes (especially with bodies and blood), people who were physically present during the mayhem quickly morphed into being conveniently blind, deaf and mute when I asked them (individually and privately) for their assistance.  I even offered them anonymity in some instances – just point me in the right direction for my investigation for Heaven’s sake!


When I was “new to the blue“ (wearing the police uniform) this most common response just seemed downright “uncommon” to me. Surely, God-fearing citizens would always step-up and do the right thing.


Over my time on patrol driving the mean streets in various barrios, ghettos or “hoods”, there was a common saying in Spanish, “ La Vida es Barata” (life is cheap).
No one wanted to get involved.  Maybe it was out of fear of reprisals, intimidation or just the plain old survival instinct? Maybe folks thought that this was wise action (“inaction”  in my personal playbook) to take.

“It is none of my business; I don’t want to get involved”, the old “bystander syndrome”.

A part of me always wanted to “get up into their collective faces” and shake their “collective consciousnesses” out of their blindness, deafness, and muteness!  Make them care! I wanted to remind all of them about the parable of the “Good Samaritan” or what Cain said to God about “not being his brother’s keeper”.  (First documented homicide by the way).

I also wanted to give all of them the sad account about the murder of 28-year old Kitty Genovese, outside her apartment complex in Queens, New York who cried out for help after being stabbed and stabbed again as she attempted to flee from her attacker.  She finally collapsed on a set of stairs and nobody came forward as she slowly bled to death. (whether anyone heard her cries is still in dispute). I believe some did.

I finally, I wanted to tell them what Jesus said about whatever you do to the least of your brothers (or sisters) you do to me. No, I never said any of these things to these folks – they would never understand anyway. You cannot talk to the “dead of heart” or the “morally bankrupt”.

I maintained my professional blindness, deafness and muted silence on the outside, but on my inside, I kept my compassion, my empathy and my humanity intact for the victims. The ones who really mattered, or their next of kin who really cared.

How could I do otherwise?

That’s my thoughts, for now, my gentle readers.  Remember to always love the ones who love you and to even love the ones who don’t.


Danny Pitocco
Danny Pitocco
RETIRED (as a Detective with the Snohomish County Sherriff’s Department, Washington State), Danny has over forty years of law enforcement experience across city, county, state and federal levels of government, including service as a Special Agent for the DEA, US Department of Justice. He’s a decorated law enforcement veteran, and recipient of the "Detective of the Year" award for Snohomish County, Danny is a certified composite artist and has testified as an expert witness in the field of narcotics and modus operandi of particular crimes in state and federal courts in California, and has given testimony before federal grand juries. Danny served four years of active duty in the US Marine Corps and loves Jesus as his personal savior.

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  1. Danny great article. I had the opportunity to work in a major felony unit (Rape, Robbery, Burglary, Homicide) for almost 12 years.
    We were known as the Sneaker Squad. Twelve plain clothes officers(2 man units) with take home cars, on call 24/7. I had many of get togethers interrupted by the “phone call”. It never ceased to amaze us that we were trying to solve a homicide and were constantly stone walled. As you know most homicide scenes were usually gruesome. To this day I still can’t reconcile myself how a human being could brutally murder another human being and not think twice about it.
    More often than not a suspect was identified as a result of good old investigation techniques, or via a “phone tip” from someone in the community who although did not want to get directly involved was not afraid to provide information. It did give us self satisfaction when we were able to tell the family of the victim(s) that we had a suspect(s) in custody.
    Thanks again Gumshoe.

    • All true Tom. Investigations always turned on a dime by the anonymous tip; the wrath of an Ex; a friend of the victim and sometimes just “dumb” luck by finding a piece direct evidence.

      The”bread and butter” of follow-up investigations will always be the neighbor canvass and knocking on doors. The seasoned cop will normally recognize who can be the (ear or eye witness) that can be persuaded (influenced) to cooperate.

      As for the “blood and gore” at the crime scenes, we never forget. For this gumshoe it was always the smell that brings back the memories.

      Thanks for your comment Tom.

  2. The gift to understand what is right when you are dealing with something wrong in a profession that involves silent witnesses is truly a gift for one’s own heart and soul. Well stated. Question? Where did the images of the monkeys “hear no evil, “see no evil”, speak no evil evolve from?

  3. Well said bro Danny, aka Gumshoe. The silent witnesses… you might expect, a similar mentality holds true behind bars. One note…….the “dead of heart” and “morally bankrupt” are among the very ones who need to hear about the love of God… your closing line wonderfully says ….. “love even the ones who don’t love you”. No one is beyond the transforming power of God. As always, nicely written Danny.