The married former head of the CIA had a girlfriend. The girlfriend, his biographer, sent nasty emails to another of his flashy female friends. She called the FBI. Agents now say the second woman had been corresponding with the Marine general who is in charge of our war in Afghanistan. He says he did nothing wrong although if he had an affair with her, a married woman, he could be prosecuted for adultery. He and the former head of the CIA were buddies, by the way.
In Belize, police are looking for an American computer legend who made and blew millions of dollars in a downward spiral of perverted excess and dysfunction that led to him being named as a person of interest in a murder in paradise.
Locally, political opponents of the top vote-getter in the Plymouth council race want an investigation into state and federal crimes he committed in the past. His lawyer says he returned home from Vietnam in the early ‘70s, got in trouble and straightened out so much so that Gov. Tom Corbett recently pardoned him for his state crimes. Supporters say he is a model citizen who does more for his town than anybody, the first African-American elected to public office in a rough town where racism is no stranger. Critics say investigate.
And, federal banking regulators forced a local millionaire, a living saint /landfill owner/auto parts baron from Dunmore, to step aside from his powerful position as the chairman of a local bank. His brother remains a bank trustee and the millionaire, himself an admitted federal felon, remains the chairman of the board at the Commonwealth Medical College.
In Lackawanna County, Former state Sen. Bob Mellow awaits sentencing in federal court after admitting to public corruption. In Luzerne County, his former colleague, another former veteran state senator and former congressman, awaits trial for public corruption.
In Scranton, a state representative awaits trial in the alleged savage beating of his wife and her friend who testified that the drunken lawmaker assaulted and choked him.
And we spend our days wondering who we can trust.
No recipe for trust exists. No guarantee, either. All we can do is put faith in people until they give us reason to no longer believe in them. But, as it should be, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, they get the benefit of the doubt.
Vague mystery is all the more reason to ask questions. Lots of questions. Starting with “what happened?” If the person to whom you are speaking answers, listen very closely to the response. Ask more questions. Listen even more closely. If the person dismisses or shrugs off your questions, beware. Be suspicious. Don’t jump to conclusion about guilt or innocence. But don’t be a gullible fool. Don’t believe everything you hear until you can confirm, it elsewhere. That’s if you can confirm it elsewhere.
Sometimes you’ll never know the truth.
So ask more questions.
Some people lie.
Many people lie.
Some people are seasoned compulsive liars who work overtime to mislead and deceive because they can’t help themselves. Their psychological make-up is such that desperation, paranoia, anxiety, fear, insecurity and other deep-seated pathologies require them to try to survive at all costs, including betraying those who believe in them and believe they know them best.
Don’t be a sucker.
Don’t let them take you down with them.
Believe in people until you have reason not to believe.
Then stop believing.
Don’t get me wrong. Redemption exists for the willing. For those able to confront the demons. But that is a long, hard trail, a dark place where pitfalls await around every corner of the mind. Rehabilitation exists. But healing requires a willingness to admit the problem and do something to change the bad behavior. That means listening to somebody other than that cocky voice in your head that reassures that you know more than everybody else. That you are right and they are wrong. That they are out to get you so you will get them first. Or last. That you control and they follow. Your orders. Your way. Or no way.
That mindset often explodes. People get hurt. People sometimes even die.
People also get better.
Let’s hope for the best, world, America, Pennsylvania, Northeastern Pennsylvania and all of us who try to be decent people. Don’t give up believing in people. But don’t look at the world with the naive vulnerability of a child. Life is hard enough as it is. Why complicate an already complex existence? Let’s work on the pieces of the puzzle together.
Let us seek and find honest answers to difficult questions together.