Many moons ago, I was imprisoned for crimes against the state, and while there, well, “met” is the wrong word, observed is better, a man they called Rocky (yes, this is a true story) but known to the inmates as Swoop.
Swoop was prison slang for someone who would grab a discarded cigarette butt/dog end within moments of it hitting the floor, and back in these days you could get 3/4 oz of rolling tobacco, two packs of papers and one box of matches for your weekly prison wage.
You’d split the matches into 4 with a needle, and roll smokes so thin they were 50% paper, tobacco was the currency inside.
Swoop was a quiet and inoffensive little man, a tramp both within prison and without, when he was released after a six month sentence for criminal damage, he would go out, spend his discharge grant, and then promptly break one of his usual shop windows and stand by waiting for the police to turn up, and repeat the process.
Swoop just didn’t like life on the out.
That was all anyone knew or cared about him.
Quite by chance a year or two later I was talking to an old chaplain miles away in a different town, for some reason we got to discussing Rocky/Swoop, and the old chaplain was all “My God, is he still in and out of prison!”
Turns out this man knew Swoop 20+ years before, a very smart, very intelligent, very successful businessman, apparently Swoop left his home one day on the commute, realised he had forgotten something, and arrived back home just in time to see the aftermath of a lorry plowing through and over the mini driven by his wife, containing their two sons, on the way to school.
Rocky/Swoop suffered a catastrophic life changing event, and in my life I have seen this myself many times, guys losing limbs, sudden deaths, you name it, and while the impact of these traumatic events undoubtedly always left its mark, often deep and horrific and never to be healed marks, it never changed any of the leopard’s spots, same as Rocky/Swoop.
I have known guys who were always bitter nasty cunts lose a limb and become even more bitter nasty cunts, and other guys who were just regular guys lose a limb and still be regular guys with a missing limb.
I don’t look at a wimminz who was allegedly severely raped and beaten by an ex and think to myself that the alleged rapes and beatings kind of explain and excuse her personality and attitude, she had that fucking attitude and personality BEFORE the alleged rape and beatings.
The SOLE exceptions I have EVER seen to this rule are severe head traumas, your personality resides in your brain, and sticking some high speed lead in there, or sticking your head through a brick wall at 50, so it don’t quite kill ya, but the surgeons removed about 8oz of jelly that used to be brain, that CAN change your personality… arguably the leopard in this case did not change it’s spots, it had them surgically altered.
So, don’t be fooled, people don’t change, which means no making allowances for some tragic sob story, it may well have happened, but the person concerned was basically the same, before and after.