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“This isn't a courtroom, pal," I said to Nelson, "this is the gutter. No fancy robes, no platitudes engraved in marble, no brass railing dividing the sides. This is the streets and the alleys. this is the Chicago we really live in. Here justice isn't dispensed with a wooden gavel, it's taken with your bare hands. It may be Tubby's world, a part of it, but it's also August Jansen's world, and my world, and yours. Darrow's a great man but this work comes after the fact, after the real battles of life are fought. Lawyers and judges pick up the pieces after the dust settles. Their job is to make sense of what's happened, not make it happen. That occurs in the gutter where blood and bone and horse manure and coal dust and sweat and fear blend and roil. In the end you either have hope or sewage. It can go either way, but it goes on.”
James Conroy, Literally Dead


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