White-Collar Criminal: The Offender in Business and the Professions

By Gilbert Geis | Go to book overview

1
THE CRIMINALOID

Edward Alsworth Ross

The Edda has it that during Thor's visit to the giants he is challenged to lift a certain gray cat. "Our young men think it nothing but play." Thor puts forth his whole strength, but can at most bend the creature's back and lift one foot. On leaving, however, the mortified hero is told the secret of his failure. "The cat--ah! we were terror-stricken when we saw one paw off the floor; for that is the Midgard serpent which, tail in mouth, girds and keeps us the created world."

How often today the prosecutor who tries to lay by the heels some notorious public enemy is baffled by a mysterious resistance! The thews of Justice become as water; her sword turns to lath. Though the machinery of the law is strained askew, the evildoer remains erect, smiling, unscathed. At the end, the mortified champion of the law may be given to understand that, like Thor, he was contending with the established order, that he had unwittingly laid hold on a pillar of society and was therefore pitting himself against the reigning organization in local finance and politics.

____________________
Reprinted from The Atlantic Monthly, 99 ( January, 1907), pp. 44-50.

-25-

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