E pseudo-hu­mans among us

The Amherst News - - OPINION - Shirley Hallee is a free­lance writer liv­ing in Amherst. Her col­umn ap­pears weekly in the Amherst News.

A few syn­onyms listed for the ad­jec­tive pseudo, are...phony, fake, false, de­cep­tive, mis­lead­ing, and in­sin­cere. If the word is used as a noun, the word fraud would be added to the list.

For the past cou­ple of years I have writ­ten a fair amount about the an­tics of Don­ald Trump, and since his be­hav­iour has not been that of a gen­uine per­son I would put him into the class of pseudo-hu­man. e pub­lic will soon know whether there are more de­cep­tive as­pects to this man be­yond his phe­nom­e­nal abil­ity to lie, time and time again.

In just the past cou­ple of weeks I have been re­minded there are many more in­sin­cere and de­cep­tive peo­ple out there, all ca­pa­ble of com­mit­ting crimes against other hu­mans. It does seem scam­mers are once again com­ing out of the wood­work. Within a two-day pe­riod af­ter Christ­mas I noted two at­tempts made by scam­mers to re­lieve me of some of my in­come. First, I had a call at 6:15 in the morn­ing. Groggy with sleep... yet, con­cerned that a fam­ily mem­ber might be try­ing to reach me, I picked up the re­ceiver. An au­to­mated fe­male voice said, “this is to let you know there have been charges against your credit card.”

If I had been a lit­tle less alert I might have fallen into the trap. I am cer­tain that if I had re­mained on the phone I would have been given in­struc­tions which would have in­cluded pro­vid­ing in­for­ma­tion - thus al­low­ing the caller ac­cess to my credit card. ose in­volved in this scam are very well aware of time changes around the world. They would know ex­actly when to wake peo­ple out of a deep sleep - when the brain is a bit slow in re­act­ing.

en on that very same day, as I was hav­ing my morn­ing co ee, I opened my e-mail to catch up on mes­sages from fam­ily and friends. Lo and be­hold, a mes­sage from the Royal Bank of Canada had ar­rived. e mes­sage said, “due to an un­usual num­ber of failed lo­gin at­tempts, on­line bank­ing ac­cess has been tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended.” Just be­low these words there was a rec­tan­gu­lar blue but­ton which car­ried the words, “Re­store Ac­count.”

Since I don’t have an ac­count with that bank the mes­sage was eas­ily dis­missed. In the past I have re­ceived the same mes­sage ... sup­pos­edly from my ac­tual bank. If I had pro­vided the in­for­ma­tion to “re­store” my ac­count I would have ended up with a zero bal­ance...and none of the funds would have been in my pocket.

Banks do not e-mail their cus­tomers, nor are they likely to phone their cus­tomers. It might be pos­si­ble to re­ceive a call from some­one at the lo­cal branch, but they have your in­for­ma­tion, thus would not ask for that. e same holds true for credit card com­pa­nies.

A re­cent news ar­ti­cle told of an­other kind of pseudo-hu­man. Jason Er­roll White, a 40-year-old Hal­i­fax man, was sen­tenced to six years for pos­ses­sion of fen­tanyl and co­caine for the pur­pose of track­ing. He also re­ceived 90 days for breach­ing pro­ba­tion. Once this man was caught, and prior to sen­tenc­ing, he wrote a let­ter to the court. He be­moaned the fact he would be go­ing back to jail for years to come, and that he couldn’t be there for his new grand­daugh­ter and his kids so they wouldn’t make the same mis­takes and choices he made.

White has a crim­i­nal record go­ing back to 1997 with con­vic­tions for man­slaugh­ter, drug tra ck­ing, ag­gra­vated as­sault, as­sault, break and en­ter, and ut­ter­ing threats. He has served sev­eral fed­eral prison sen­tences, and he was on pro­ba­tion at the time of the raid. ere seems to be a real pos­si­bil­ity that he has not been a very pos­i­tive in uence on the mem­bers of his fam­ily up to this point in time. As Dr. Phil says, the best pre­dic­tor of fu­ture be­hav­iour is past be­hav­iour.

While not as preva­lent here, it must also be noted fen­tanyl has been linked to a huge num­ber of deaths in On­tario, Al­berta and Bri­tish Columbia. Global News re­ported opi­oid over­doses killed more than 1,000 Cana­di­ans in the first quar­ter of 2018. Of deaths due to over­dose, up to 90 per cent have been tied to this drug. Some have died not re­al­iz­ing it was fen­tanyl they were us­ing since it is of­ten com­bined with other drugs.

ose deal­ing in this drug are likely aware that it is hun­dreds of times stronger than stronger than heroin. Know­ing the drug is deadly, yet deal­ing it, earns these per­sons the sta­tus of pseudo-hu­mans.

Shirley Hallee Per­spec­tives

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.