You can not judge a book by its cover, nor can you be always correct about first impressions. You are also expected not to judge a person. You are also taught to give a second chance. This is all true but we are humans after all and we all are guilty of doing everything opposite of what I just said. The argument would be that the intrinsic potential of a person never changes, an eagle would always be an eagle and a vulture would be a vulture. Can you change the true nature of a person?
I often see inmates at the hospital who are brought to us for various problems. I have seen some who have swallowed blades so they can get out of jail for few days to people who have sliced their hands with broken door handles. You deal with them just like you deal with any other patients as per Hippocratic Oath. Along the same lines I always try not to find out what brought them to the slammer in the first place.
Few years ago I saw inmate in the hospital. He was shackled to the bed with two guards around him. He had an ovoid face, wrinkled skin far beyond his age. He had gentle and deep eyes; he was taller than most and touching mid sixties. He was dressed in not so ever modest hospital gown. Ironically his handcuffs and ankle restraints appeared to be brand new. I found him civil and pleasant to talk to. He appeared to be well versed and informed about his condition. I got a sense he must be a college graduate the way he was able to formulate his thoughts with the use of proper lingo.
I saw him for couple of days before I was informed by a staff that he was incarcerated after being found guilty of raping a 6 or 7 year old and then choking her to death. The girl was a kin!
Being a father of 2 girls; it is difficult to isolate your emotions in these situations. I saw him the next day with a straight face. I asked my patent question “Sir is there any thing else I can do for you?” I discharged him in the next few days.
I have a vivid memory that just before discharge he complained to me about neck pain, it was an effort for me not to ask him “Sir, do you think your pain is more than the girl you choked, is it more than what she must have endured at the last few seconds of her life”.
I have always believed that nothing is absolutely bad nor anything is absolutely good. This incident is one of the times when I questioned my philosophy. What do you think?
About the Picture: I took this shot of Tyrannosaurus rex, largest land predator of all times at
Field Museum, , however, man maybe the worst. Chicago