Friday, May 28, 2010

Hope & Fear vs. Common Sense

We had a call today from an older gentleman. He was passed on to me because I do the legal advertising, and they thought that it might fall into my jurisdiction. It didn't, but I got the story.

He wanted to keep a marriage license from being published in our paper. Now, it's just a list that we get from the courthouse with all the licenses that were filed in the previous week.

Three weeks ago, this man had met a Russian 'doctor' who had promised him that she could cure a 'male problem' that he had. However, in order for this cure to be effected, he had to marry her. Which he agreed to do. Well, somehow, he's figured out that she can't, actually, cure his problem, and so isn't going to marry her. And he doesn't want to marriage license to run to avoid embarrassment.

I'll admit, after I got done laughing, this reminded me of all the quack doctors and fake cures that used to be so prevalent. 'Doctors' back in the late 1800s, early 1900s (for the most part) would come up with these 'cures' for cancer. Come to this hotspring, or this whatever, take the treatment, and you'll be cured! All for the low, low cost of everything you own.

For one such story, in detail, see here.

These men were charlatans, and they lived high off of the fear of desperate people. These weren't misguided men who thought that they really had a cure. They were con artists. They lured people out into their environment, and then they killed them. Not with a gun, or a knife, but with their 'treatments'. Would the people have died anyway? Most likely. They were severely ill. But many of them were hurried on their way by the 'cure'.

Which leads me to this thought: If someone is desperate enough. If they're afraid enough, you can get them to do really dumb things. Things that they would never do, otherwise. Their common sense would stop them. But fear is enough to drive men mad. Offer them hope? A reprieve from their doom? And they'll willingly walk into the abattoir. And thank you for it in the process.


  1. Oh wow, that poor guy! Yes, I think fear is a powerful motivator. As you said often common sense is thrown out the door. Very entertaining and interesting post!

    So did y'all agree to not publish the marriage license thing?

    Thanks for sharing! :)

  2. Yeah, I kind of felt bad for him too.

    Ah, well, it's not my department, but they told him that they would do their best, since we haven't even gotten it from the courthouse yet, but we can't guarantee anything.


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