Monthly Archives: May 2011

Pretty People


Such a pretty girl, the boy is so handsome; how could something like this happen? While Triston Francis has not been found guilty of having killed budding beauty queen Alisha Hunt, comments following her murder has reflected the usual shock in coming to terms when such heinous acts involve pretty people particularly as perpetrators.
As Alisha’s broken mother attests, nothing’s written on anybody’s face. Yet we always seem to associate such actions with physical ugliness.
In the quest for beauty and the desire to neatly demarcate good and evil, we nurture our psyche with fairy stories of old evil queens and hulking monsters, lulling ourselves into believing that evil has a face, and it is ugly.
Sadly, as many studies of psychopaths show, those with the least conscience and empathy can often be the greatest charmers; the most beautiful ones; the ones who sweeten us into making excuses for their self-serving, anti-social behaviour. From the “spoilt” child to the demanding co-worker, we placate them every day, allowing them to have their way. We clothe the beast under the bright smile in harmless names yet still avoid upsetting it.
But whether it’s a case of a deep-seated evil, a long-standing psychological problem or a sudden psychotic break, the signs and symptoms lie not in how handsome the face or how pretty the smile, but in the actions, sometimes subtle, that hint or shout, that something is very wrong.
We could make sure that a life, like Alisha’s is not lost in vain. It’s not enough to lament it after the fact but instead we should be aware of the psychopaths in our midsts. Sometimes we must overcome the fear of retaliation, put aside the love, forget the pride, damn the family name and the million little things that prevent us from admitting when something is wrong. Whether it’s anger management or medication, that person themselves may never realise they need help unless someone raises the red flag and insists they seek help. Sometimes the very thing we fear, becomes reality because of our inaction.