"The writer Roald Dahl once remarked, 'Those who never believe in magic will never find it.' Similarly, those who do not believe in the inherent 'goodness' that lies within all men, women and children, will neither look for it nor find it in the people they meet.
As a young Probation Officer trainee in 1970, a lecturer once told our class that 'No person, whatever evil and atrocity they have committed against another innocent is beyond redemption and that even the most tyranical of all despots that ever lived must have done something good at least once in their miserable life; even if it was only one kind act to their elderly mother!'
I remember struggling with this assertion in my conscience over the years ahead; particularly as my job necessitated me befriendinding and seeking to modify the behaviour of men and women who'd done unspeakable things to both the vulnerable old and the innocent young and felt no moral compunction of having done so or doing so again at the first opportunity.
There were times when I managed to temporarilly place to one side, my own moral compass which had been largely shaped by my Catholic faith and family upbringing, and yet there were even more occasions when the lucid logic rattling round inside my head screamed and shouted obscenities which dulled my sensibilities and prevented the stirrings of my heart to act charitably to the offender; thereby leaving my ultimate action to be governed by my lifelong prejudices.
I don't know if I ever had the character and beliefs to fit the mould of being 'a good Probation Officer.' When I was involved with people with extreme anger problems who'd maimed and murdered, I was often able to help. Reducing stress and the impulse to steal and cheat were also well within my capabilities, along with helping people to break addictions and drug dependency. However, working with men who'd sexually assaulted and killed children never were, and like the vast majority of society, I was prepared to look the other way as their cell key was thrown away.
I have always believed throughout my life that there is nothing in this world that is either 'good' or 'bad' that thinking it so will not make it so. It looks like I shall never find out on this side of the green sod whether or not all manner of man, woman and child is capable of redemption. I guess that the lecturer of my past knew something then that I didn't and never will?" William Forde: March 2nd, 2014.