I’ll cut right to it – I had a conversation with Conrad Black tonight. Just to preface – He provided no insight to the ongoing investigation of his case. It was strictly casual conversation at a private networking event. I’m not siding whether he is guilty or not. I simply took in who he is at the present time.
This crazy life of mine has put me into the same room with the affluent, criminal, and celebrities at a super early age. I generally know how to engage with most of them but I have never met someone who was tagged with all three labels. Some of the attendees at the event were not shy at throwing the media spotlight at Mr. Black, and impressively without missing a beat, he responded with the most composed posture and eloquent words. Truly a master of words. I’m sure everyone in the room being intelligent knew it was rehearsed, but I didn’t care, I was impressed.
When I stepped outside for some air, I met two individuals who were ‘fangirling’ hard on Mr. Black. They showed me the selfies they took with him (even tho mobile phones weren’t allowed in). They could tell I didn’t share their enthusiasm but they made it their mission to convince me of their admiration for him and his business acumen. From their perspective, I could see where they were coming from but I still wasn’t drinking the Koolaid.
I realized now writing this, my perception of thieves hasn’t changed – they’re the most honorable men (haven’t met any female thieves) I know. Even the ones who have stolen from me. I may not be best friends with them but I understood them. Better than some law abiding people I know. I realized at a young age thieves could come in so many forms. I bet when I said “criminals” not one of you thought a teacher, police officer, priest, or America’s sweetheart homemaker.
Captin Jean-Luc Picard said it best: villains who twirl their moustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well camouflaged.
I have crossed paths with criminals in some of the most unexpected forms. Thieves however follow a weird code with lines they won’t cross. They’re almost predictable if you will. Kind of like seeing an alligator, you know not to fuck with it and go around it because you know exactly how they plan to attack you. Comparatively to other criminals, the morality isn’t so black and white, it’s like this big void that is never addressed. It’s the media and our stereotypes are the ones who draw subjective lines.
The best quote I’ve heard is from Better Call Saul:
I’ve known good criminals and bad cops, bad priests, honorable thieves. You can be on one side of the law or the other. But if you make a deal with somebody, you keep your word. You can go home today with your money and never do this again. But you took something that wasn’t yours, and you sold it for a profit. You’re now a criminal. Good one, bad one, that’s up to you.Mike Ehrmantraut
I’m a strong believer you can learn from the good and bad. But don’t go accusing cops of being thieves.