Salutations Populace of Dawson,
Last week I wrote that we must always look for the good, even when we are surrounded by the bad. This week, I present the flip side of that message. But first, let me tell you a story…
Once upon a time (all good stories begin with that line) there was a strange and creepy guy who broke into his neighbours’ houses, stole women’s lingerie, took it home, and then photographed himself wearing the underwear.
Pretty weird, but also a bit funny, no? Didn’t you laugh when you read that? Well, soon, that routine didn’t thrill this guy enough, so he upped his game: He broke in when young women were alone, tied them up, took pictures of them, stole their underwear, and, well you know how he liked to finish his evenings. Not so funny anymore! And, you guessed it, even that wasn’t enough after a while, so he upped his game again: Broke in, raped the woman, took pictures, etc. Final step: Broke in, raped the woman, took pictures, murdered the woman, stole the underwear, not forgetting to photograph himself when he got home. He murdered twice before he was caught. Try to get a mental picture of this creep in your mind. OK? Before I continue, here’s another contrasting story. . .
Once upon a time, there was an intelligent young man who obtained a degree in Economics and Political Science from the prestigious University of Toronto. He chose a career in the Canadian Military as a pilot. He impressed the people around him and soon he rose quickly through the ranks. By working hard, he soon reached the rank of colonel at a relatively young age. He spent time in Afghanistan, and was promoted to Base Commander at Trenton Air Base in Ontario, one of the largest and busiest bases in the country.
He was admired and respected by all who met him, including senior politicians. His was a real success story, and it was clear there was still room for him to grow – a general’s rank? maybe even becoming a politician who could bring real change? Can’t you just picture this man: A tall, trim, rugged soldier, standing at attention, on guard for thee, with strong jaw and steady gaze. Just the kind of guy you could trust with your life, no?
So, what’s the link between these two stories? Am I just painting a picture in contrasts: creepy, sexually deviant serial killer versus trusted war hero? Yes I am. These two characters couldn’t be more different. However, the shocking truth is that these two characters are the same person: last week, Colonel Russell Williams was sentenced to two life sentences without the chance of parole for 25 years for the murders of Jessica Lloyd, aged 27, and Corporal Marie-France Comeau, aged 38. Check out his pictures on the CBC website. Do they fit both of your mental images?
The moral of this week’s letter – First, don’t be deceived by appearances. It’s NOT a person’s looks (good or ugly), their intelligence (or lack of), their personality (sparkling or dull), their clothes (trendy or nightmare), or their position in society (high or low) that is important – it’s their character. Second, don’t automatically give someone your trust just because they occupy an important position (editors in chief are an exception to this rule) or because they wear a uniform or other fancy dress. Look beyond the superficial when it comes to people and don’t make assumptions, either way. Not all Catholic priests are pedophiles (but many are); not all colonels in the Canadian Forces are sexually deviant serial killers (but at least one is). And last week’s message still holds – always look for the good, even when surrounded by bad.
Stay classy Dawson…Word to your mothers
Samuel Lavigne Schmidt