The first thing that must be said about truth is that it is a rarity and rarely used. The world of the 20th and 21st centuries to which I am witness is built on lies. Almost everyone lies some of the time, and those who hold positions of power lie routinely, and more so about matters of real importance. I need not elaborate on this because almost everyone knows this to be true and almost everyone accepts this as normal.
I grew up surrounded by white lies and lies of convenience and lies of self defence and lies told to distract or amuse and lies that were told for no good reason at all. It took half a century and a vicious crime against my family for me to come to a point where I could no longer bear to hear or speak a lie.
Here are some of the things I have learned about truth:
You can deny it, suppress it, distort it, try to discredit it, try to shame or intimidate or silence the one who tells it. You can hide it under a pile of lies and deceptions. You can find associates who will help you smother it or heap dirt or ridicule on it. You can shove it under a bushel basket and sit on it. But the truth about truth is that it is always true. And it will shine through.
It is not slander or libel to tell the truth, but respected people have told me that it is not always necessary to tell the truth. The "Partners in Crime" who robbed me and my family went so far as to obtain a court order against me declaring that I was insane and dangerous in order to try to stop me from telling the truth.
Frank Shoofey was a well-known Montreal lawyer who helped many working class people. Knowing that, I dared to ask to see him - without any money. It was in the 1970's. I wanted to tell him about my experience with Pinkerton where I was employed at the time as a grade two investigator. There were many things going on in our offices that were not kosher. It bothered me. I had such respect for Pinkerton's history and reputation. I was so proud to be a Pinkerton. I felt I just had to report what I knew. But I feared the power of the people running the great and famous agency at the time.
What if they sue me?
Frank Shoofey told me this: "Anyone can sue anyone for anything. But it they sue you, I will defend you for free." And I breathed a sigh of relief. There was someone who would defend me if I told the truth !
When I brought the still half-drunk supervisor up before the president of Pinkerton Quebec in Montreal - virtually by the scruff of his neck - Paul St. Amour said, "I know what he is doing. And you know what he is doing. But he keeps the books in the black. New York won't let me do anything about him."
After discussing this with Frank Shoofey, I suffered over this problem for many months. I was afraid. Pinkerton detectives carry guns. But finally, I reported the supervisors at Pinkerton Montreal in a minutely detailed letter to head office in New York.
Quite some time later, I received a letter from a supervisor at the New York office - a man who signed almost the identical name to the man I had reported - saying Pinkerton was "sad and surprised" and Pinkerton would investigate. A strange coincidence, I thought. Of course, they did nothing.
I feared I might meet a dark end in a dark alley somewhere if I went any further. So I ended it there. But I did tell the truth and, in time, the fear faded and I came to no harm.
And Frank Shoofey? It seems he must have helped people who other people didn't want helped. He was murdered.
It is not always easy to tell the truth. If it were easy, everyone would tell the truth all the time. But being truthful is the only way a person can stand eye to eye with the enemy and breathe freely.
The reader will find nothing but the truth at -
PHYLLIS CARTER'S JOURNAL
THE DAWN MCSWEENEY ROBBERY CASE
Worth repeating: First published at