Another cautionary tale is playing out in the news. The woman who helped two inmates escape from the Clinton correctional facility in Dannemora, NY, has lost the support of her husband. He found out there might have been a plot to have the two escapees murder him. Just as upsetting is the fact that his wife had been having sex with the inmates while at work. The 51 year old woman is in jail and faces a trial and a sentence of up to 8 years.
Obviously, she lost sight of WHAT the inmates were and focused on WHO she wanted them to be. It brings up something I posted in 2008 that bears repeating. Here is the 2008 article:
This is a very old story. A version of it was made into a popular song some time during the 1950s. In that version, the main character was a woman. There is an earlier prose version where the main person is an Indian. That is the one I heard first.
An Indian was climbing down a mountain. It was cold atop the mountain. Along the way, he saw a snake on one of the ledges. The snake was dying of cold. The Indian was going to pass the snake, but the serpent heard him and weakly called for help.
“Please! I am dying of cold. Please carry me down the mountain and place me in the warm sun.”
“ I cannot do that! You are a snake ! You will bite me!” replied the Indian.
The snake cried, “Please! I will not bite you! Please help me! I am dying of cold!”
“You say that, but you are a snake. I will not carry you!” the Indian said.
The snake sighed. “Please help me. I will not bite you. No reasonable creature would harm someone who helped him. “
The Indian thought for a moment. “Certainly, this snake sounds reasonable. I think it is be safe to help him.”
The Indian picked up the snake and put it under his coat to keep it warm. He carefully climbed down the mountain. The Indian could feel the snake getting better as it became warmer.
Finally they reached the bottom of the mountain. It was warm there.
“Please put me on the rocks in the sun,” said the snake.
The Indian placed the revived reptile on a warm, sub-bathed stone. As soon as he set the snake down, it bit him. The Indian could feel it inject his venom into him as it bit.
“Why did you bite me? You promised not to do that. You deceived me! You are poisonous and now I am going to die!” the Indian exclaimed.
“Why are you so surprised, foolish man! You knew what I was before you picked me up,” said the snake.
It is said that the snake is the animal that bites the hand that feeds it.
The moral of the story is evident. A thing is just what it is. No pleading, excuses or promises will change that. If you know it is dangerous, then it is your fault if you ignore that fact.
Once again, we find the Mannar Rune in all its glory. Here was a case of the What – the thing – and what it claims to be. The snake wanted it Indian to forget it was a snake, and instead treat it as a fellow creature in need of help. By overlooking the animal’s identity on favor of its promises, he fell victim to its true nature.
This is a useful tale that teaches a powerful lesson to those who listen.
And therein lies the rub! The woman was an employee at a correctional facility with a notorious reputation for holding some of the most dangerous and violent criminals. The two with whom she became cozy were both murderers. One shot a deputy numerous times and then ran him over with a car. The other tortured and murdered his employer, and then hacked up the body. Did she think this was some kind of adventure or a forbidden romance? The plain fact remained that these men are career criminals with a particularly violent past.
It is important that you know the WHO and the WHAT of the people with whom you deal. You have to remember that as much as the individual, the WHO, may be a nice fellow or gal, there is still the WHAT. In my experience, most people do not change all that much. If the person had been a known criminal, there is a good chance he or she might do it again.
When you hear of a woman working in a prison getting all chummy with the residents, think of the story of the Indian and the Snake. Like the Indian in the story, that woman knew what she was looking at before she got warm and fuzzy for him. It is not just WHO a person is but WHAT he does and WHAT he has done in the past.
There are people who have overcome a bad past, be it crime, addiction or some other bad thing. It took a tremendous and sustained effort over a long time to do it. Such people are few and far between. Most career criminals and those with bad habits do not have the desire, the willingness nor the persistence to make that change. The few who do make it are an uncommon lot as there are not many who would give it the necessary commitment. I have been fortunate to know more than a few who have overcome their woes. What they had in common was the desire to be better and the willingness to go to any length to achieve it.
I have heard commitment explained thus: “I had bacon and eggs this morning. The chicken took part in my breakfast. But that pig, he was committed!”