When I first came upon this riddle, I was in my senior year of high school.  I was in my English class waiting for the bell to ring and I had nothing to do.  Therefore, one of my friends turned around and told me this riddle.

In the riddle, there are two men in a bar.  They decide to play poker for a bit of money.  After several games, the first man has lost most of them and is in debt.  However he doesn’t have any money to pay the second man.  Therefore, he decides to try and run away without paying his opponent.  He runs into his car, rolls up the window, and locks the door.  The second man walks out angrily with a gun and shoots and kills the first man.  However, no damage is done to the car.  There are no scratches, no bullet holes, or any other mark.  One man was in the car while the other was outside, and yet no visible sign of damage existed.  How did this happen?

The answer to the riddle is that the first man was in a convertible.  As there was no roof to the car, the second man was able to kill the first without damaging the car.  When I first heard this riddle, I couldn’t comprehend how the situation could exist.  It seemed impossible that the first man could be killed when he was separated from the second man by the car.  It didn’t occur to me until later that he could be in a convertible.  As with many other people, I was looking at the riddle with a narrow mind and failed to see the other possibilities that existed.  It wasn’t until I began to question what I assumed to be true that I saw the answer.  I had been determined that the car was a regular car that I didn’t realize it could be otherwise.  Thus, this reflects upon the inability of people to see things as they truly are and their tendency to believe things as they are familiar with.

The riddle also reflects upon the American belief of justice.  Because the first man had tried to run away without paying the second man, it was only fair that he was killed.  The riddle presents no ill feelings towards the second man for committing murder but rather focuses on how the first man was killed.  It seems to suggest that the first man deserved to die and there was no surprise that he did.  This is similar to the response the riddle elicits in the listeners.  They don’t feel compassion for the dead man but instead accepts that his death was justified.  The murder itself isn’t what bothers the listeners; it’s how the murder was committed that confuses them.  Therefore, this riddle exemplifies the belief system of Americans on justice.