Trust can be a five-letter word
July 23, 2002
The first thing they try to teach you in journalism is to suspect everyone. The saying goes “If your mom tells you she loves you — check it out.”
Fortunately for readers, in most cases, our humanity, which comes with a great deal of trust built in, tempers our suspicions.
But the humanity in all of us is under attack.
Not even the terrorists do as much damage to our tender psyches as do the ones we trust the most.
In Hyde, England, (which is east of Liverpool) Dr. Harold Shipman, a once beloved family doctor, is serving 15 life sentences for killing 15 of his patients. He may have killed at least 200 more.
Gives a whole new meaning to not wanting to go to the doctor doesn’t it?
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While we in America were celebrating 200 years of freedom from nasty old England, “Dr. Hyde” here was beginning a 25-year killing spree where the family members of his victims likely cried on his shoulder, shook his hand and paid his bill.
The only explanation given so far is that he was addicted to pain killers and may have been addicted to killing. The coroner who sometimes worked with the good doctor said by way of explanation that he may have “simply enjoyed viewing the process of dying and enjoyed the feeling of control over life and death.”
Leaves you gasping for air a bit doesn’t it?
Too often we as individuals are faced with a full-blown assault from someone we always believed was on our team.
The husband who cheats on his wife.
But, the issue widens when the husband is also the coach who has sex with a player.
It is no longer an issue between two individuals on the same team. The team just became the collective community.
There’s an employer, the law, the students and the other individuals on the team to consider now.
The mixture thickens if the husband is also a father who one day have to answer to his children.
Daddy why did you …… ?
Then there’s the whole, world-wide issue of abuse by priests in the Catholic Church. Anyone who thinks it only happens in America is kidding themselves. It may be more in the open here but I argue that’s because to talk of such a thing elsewhere could cost the victims even more.
How many times, and in how many ways, can we be betrayed and still maintain some humanity?
It may be easy to say there’s nothing I could have done.
But it’s still an assault when our doctors, our teachers and our clergy — the people we most trust, most look up to and most respect — dump us on our head.
Who now do we call on for help?
OK so no laughing. It’s happening more than many of us want to think.
We continually call on the lawmakers to help us legislate everything from common sense to morality to parental and personal responsibility.
We all make some poor choices at times in our lives. It’s what we do with the consequences that make us who we are.
We can take responsibility for our actions, face the music so to speak and learn something.
Or, we can pass the blame onto the shoulders of someone else and continue believing the world owes us something and learn nothing.
I read something the other day I don’t remember who wrote it, or even where I read it, but I have to agree with it.
It went something like this: It’s not good to go through life wearing two catcher’s mitts. You can’t give anything back.
As we begin a series of long awaited trials for 10 defendants accused of murder I charge them, you and us to retain our humanity and remember: at least one of the defendants was only 14 years old in 1998, one man lost his life, one child lost a father, some parents may lose their sons and daughters and we all lost a little more trust.
PS: I know you love me Mom.
Kelli Du Fresne is features editor of the Nevada Appeal (and was standing on a big soap box when she wrote this).