Be Warned, Detecting Evil Is Not Easy

My Personal Experiences With Evil 

I admit my bias at least the ones I am aware of. As do all bias, mine reflects my personal life experiences. 

I believe most people want to either be left alone or to live a life based on goodness. However, my experiences have exposed me to another side. 

Because I lived with a few kids who raped those they could, threatened and wanted to kill my husband, me and sadly my kids, who tried to torture our dogs. I know that many guilty of evil deeds can hide behind a kind face.

Early in my social work career. I became involved with Bernie Nathanson’s pro-abortion  movement. At the time he was unmarried and the head of NARAL, the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Legislation. Abortion was illegal.

He was the director of the OB-GYN service at Woman’s Hospital and rightfully concerned about the fact that for every woman who had money and could get an abortion, four clinic patients were denied one. My staff and I were part of a larger group that evened the odds.

Bernie eventually married and had a child. He then saw what to him had just been a “fetus” as a child and became militantly anti-abortion and the producer of the movie The Silent Scream. 

By then I had been asked to join the Columbia University School of Social Work and had lost touch with him.  I did not lose touch with the horror of illegal abortion.  So I remained pro-abortion but not if the baby was viable; then I am pro-life.

While teaching at CUSSW, I was exposed to Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven. He was an arrogant alcoholic, and she the brains of the two. The Cloward and Piven Strategy for promoting revolution seems to me to drive what is happening today.

That strategy? Overwhelm the welfare system so no one is happy or served and then are ripe for seducing into overthrowing the government. I did not get tenure but was “allowed” to teach as an adjunct until I retired. Every academic I met wanted to and did promote their personal biases particularly once they got tenure. Understandable human behavior, but education should be teaching critical thinking and as the years went on, bias was taught instead.

When our firstborn entered puberty, we stopped being foster parents and returned to our careers. I also became a published author, mainly because of having lived with 366 foster children. I was on Oprah to hawk the book When Good Kids Do Bad Things. That only sold well in the Spanish edition. 

Eventually, I ended up working for or fourteen years in the South Bronx as the director of children’s crisis team. I worked mostly in Mott Haven where the drug lord’s ruled; I saw fights and shoot outs. A staff member’s son was murdered by a gang.

That job als introduced me to interagency corruption. So many people doing more good for themselves then the clients they professed to serve.

One was my staff member from Peru. I had helped him become legal, arranged to have his M.S W paid for. I thought he was caring and honest. Then I discovered he was ripping off our clients. 

It did not help that my less than honorable boss at the time defended my cheating staff member, and blamed it on a woman’s influence. That boss had lost his license for having sex with a client. I think he kept his job because he was good at getting people to tell him their secrets and that kept him safe. 

On 911 I saw the second plane hit the towers as I was driving to my job in Mott Haven. A school mate of my son was on the first plane.

My crisis team had evolved at that point into two service teams serving as components of a Federally Funded grant known as The Mott Haven Project which lead to an agency knows as F.R.I.E.N.D.S. The grant was to promote interagency cooperation and to empower parental voices in the decision-making process. Worthy goals.

Two of my staff were downtown when the planes hit. When one called to say she was trying to get back to our office, I naively suggested she take a bus instead of the subway.

Her response, “Katherine, you don’t get it, nothing is working, the air is full of smoke and dust.”

Chagrined, I told her to not come to the office but to get home to her family. Four or five hours she was safe with her children and my other staff member was also home.  A two-mile trek for each. 

One of the state watchdogs overseeing the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. program and grant was afraid of taking the train back to his office in Albany. My husband and I drove him there that night. That was a surreal experience. The glow in the south as the towers burnt, the cars and trucks heading toward that glow but now not moving.

A side note: The man we drove up-state eventually became the lover of the director of F.R.I.E.N.D.S., and joined her efforts to get me fired.

Another side note, the first director of the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. program had an affair with federal overseer of the grant. Both were discovered and asked to resign.  

The two programs I directed were the only ones that were eventually succeeded. At least two of the others were mired in the corruption that South Bronx politics was known for.  I am not sure about the third one.

Finally, I am a Jew. I know the hatred of anti-Semitism. 

I have been fortunate that with all these personal experiences of the evil humans can do, I was more exposed to good people. I am grateful to have known so many.  Those have given me hope good will prevail.

At the same time, I have no delusions that everyone is good. I advise you to remember that while few are evil. evil can be like a virus infiltrating your drinking water.

My advice: be careful, trust, but slowly, judgeon deeds, not appearances. 


Remember what matters, be grateful for all you have been given, and practice kindness.


P.S. Practice kindness by reading, liking, commenting or sharing this post.Think about buying one of my eBooks. They cost less than a latte, last longer, and are healthier.  Create Calm In Your Life is the newest. Then there is this one When Good Kids Get You In a Gotcha War which is now out in paperback.  

These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.




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