By Jack Murray


In theology there is a concept called “the faithful remnant.” Basically, this means that in each generation, there is a relatively small group of people who maintain the basic tenets of the faith. This is how Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and other world wide religions have survived over the years. There have always been dissenters and splinter groups but the main stream of all of these religions has survived.


This same concept holds true in our system of jurisprudence and medicine. There have been a small handful of Attorneys and Doctors in each generation who have stayed true to their oath of office and have preserved the integrity of the law and medicine in this country.


This idea also holds true for us, as professional investigators. Although our public image has evolved over time, the basic principles of honesty, integrity, perseverance and search for the truth, still lead the way.


When I was growing up, and that’s a long time ago, Private investigators were portrayed as hard drinking, women chasing characters, usually ex cops, window peeping characters, who would do anything, legal or not, to get the job done. Radio and TV gave us such characters as Johnny Dollar, Sam Spade, The Fat Man, and Peter Gunn etc Mystery writers like Mickey Spillane, created characters such as Mike Hammer. Of more recent vintage, shows like CSI and writers like Patricia Cornwell and James Patterson have introduced the scientific sleuthing concept.  


The truth of the matter is that during that same era, the vast majority of people in this business were just going along, doing their job, following the rules and living quiet, moral lives. They were the faithful remnant. They passed along to us a great heritage of defending the unjustly accused and granting the poor and indigent a key to the court house.


I believe this creates a serious obligation on our part to do the right thing, and even more important to pass along this idea to our peers. You do this by example! You will not do it by assuming some kind of holier than thou attitude.


Currently our profession is under attack for the evils of identity theft and stalking, while the vast majority of these crimes have been committed by unlicensed, unprincipled firms that sell information like social Security numbers, Cell Phone records, Credit Reports, etc. to anyone who has a credit card. Politicians and privacy right groups have targeted us for solving the problem, while ignoring that the largest perpetrators have been giant corporations, with lax and careless security procedures, some of whom have huge contracts with the Federal government as information brokers.


Unfortunately, there are still those marginal types who cut corners when it comes to getting personal information and giving it to any one who can pay the bill, without considering why they want the information or how it might be used.  


What do we do? I hate to over simplify, but basically you just do the next right thing. You play by the rules, you have a moral compass and you follow it. It’s not always the easy thing to do, but very little of worth ever comes easy. Being able to look at yourself in the mirror is more important than looking in your bank book.


I’m  proud of my profession and I try my best to practice what I preach. Have I goofed along the way? Sure!   But the older I get, the quicker I realize when I’ve screwed up and the easier it is to admit it and try to rectify it.


Advice is usually worth what you paid for it and this is free, so think about it and do what you think is right. My final thought, Keep the Faith!