In the time I worked as a volunteer at a penitentiary near Montreal, I met weekly with some 25 prisoners in a big room. And I never met one who was a criminal.
Loose the goose was a little guy in for robbery. "Hey. I took my chances. I robbed houses at night - but only when people were in them. And I was never violent."
Jean-Guy, a huge and powerful man, broke arms and legs for loan sharks. "Hey. These were business deals."
Matt was in for rape. He specialized in elderly women. He said they like it.
I also met an old friend there who had made his mark as the city's top armed robbery man. "Hey. I took my chances. I had a gun. So I knew the cops might shoot first and ask questions later."
Miss Marples, Agatha Christie's little old lady who solved crimes would have understood that. She solved crimes not so much by evidence, but by understanding how people behave. She would have understood that they really believed they had done nothing wrong. -just like the Irvings, the shale gas promoters, the provincial government which is trying to muzzle doctors so they cannot speak on the dangers of shale gas, the editors and reporters of The Moncton Times and Transcript, and even Bill Beliveau whose most recent column was a model of ----oh----of misleading readers.
Their behaviour will almost certainly lead to widespread and severe damage to New Brunswick, to lives ruined by severe illness, even to premature death. It's almost just now how bad it will be - though the history of shale gas suggests it will be very bad, indeed. But they aren't criminals. Not in their own minds.
Nor, in their own minds, are they are they callously grabbing at money without regard for the sickness and death they are gong to cause. And it is not true that they are willing to destroy and kill in order to get what they want, that they just don't give a damn about what happens to the people who live here. No. Miss Marples would tell you - people don't think that way. "Hey', they will think, "it was perfectly legal. I risked my money. I created jobs. Hey, it was business. Hey, they liked it."
In the US, medical corporations and pill makers use the health system just to make piles of money. The result is that tens of millions of Americans have no health care at all. That's why UN health reports put the US close to statistics for the undeveloped world. The medical corporations and and pill makers are actually klling people by the millions. But they see themselves as operating the finest health system in the world.
That's how we all think about these things. And that's how people who poison and kill think.
I'm sure oil executives lose no sleep over the more than a million Iraqis who were killed so oil billionaires could control of Iraq oil. "Hey. Saddam was a bad man." (Actually, Saddam was no badder than they were.)
Now, the New Brunswick government is moving on a bill to muzzle doctors so they cannot speak publicly on a health issue like shale gas. Well, we're used to that in countries like China and Guatemala. But not here. In a free country, the only people qualified to speak on health issues will not be allowed to. Why? Because it will offend some very rich people. (of course, if one of them sells out and praises shale gas, then that will be all right. The law is worded so that the government can decide what is legal AFTER it has been said.)
Does Mr. Alward think he is not only attacking democracy but contributing to sickness and death?
I''m sure he doesn't. People don't think that way. And there are strong signs that Mr. Alward doesn't think at all.
Those people will not change their manner of thinking. And their manner of thinking will destroy us. If this province is to survive as a livable place, it's the rest of us who have to change our thinking. We have to understand that continuing to submit to people motivated by greed and indifferent to our needs is going to destroy us.
We have to get out of the rut of voting for two parties with a long record of submission and obedience to the rich. We have to make a little bit of effort to wake up and to learn what is happening. We have to stop reading an Irving Press designed to make us brain dead.
There is not much time. Either we stop these people now or, as we love our children, we tell them to get the hell out of this province as soon as they can.