Judging By Appearances

Posted: 7 July 2012 in Prisons, Understanding Others
Tags: ,

The bad guys don’t always wear horns.

Judging By Appearances? I got a surprise recently. Of course it’s natural. A person’s age, clothing, manner, accent. Yes, accent too. Oscar Wilde said a man’s class was stamped on his tongue. So we make up our minds on first acquaintance, and the more conscientious of us revise our opinions on greater acquaintance. 

He got up to speak. Let’s call him Gerald. This elderly but patrician figure came to the podium and addressed the crowd. He came to tell us how he seeks to help those in prison. And….. how he got involved in the first place.

He described when he was at home, two decades ago or so. Two police cars came to his house and took him away. My mind made a quick assessment – identification of an offender, stolen property, to give evidence of fraud? No – he was arrested for sexual offences on minors, in years prior. Really? Yes, he who looked the very image of a retired colonial civil servant or headmaster. The very epitome of “Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells”.

There was a good outcome. He admitted his guilt. Served his sentence. He moved area. Joined a local church, told the minister of his offences. The church is supportive. Gerald is active, in an appropriate manner, with a local Prison Fellowship Group. And is happy to share his testimony, including his life or criminal abuse.

Judge by appearances? The person next to you on the train may not be what they look. The face in the mirror may not be either. You don’t have to wear horns.

Note: this blog reflects my personal views only, not those of any organisation I have links with or have visited.

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