Don’t blame Vaughters for contractor’s suicide
Regarding the recent News article, “Reporter blamed in subject’s death,” Al Vaughters was doing his job, protecting victims from scammers. He has nothing to feel guilty about. He was the last chapter of one man’s long journey. This man, who scammed people and was jailed, was the victim of his mental illness and of a flawed system that failed to help him. I feel for his anguish and his family’s loss. As a psychiatric social worker in the past, I saw far too many situation such as this.
However, the other victims, those who were scammed, suffered greatly, too. They were innocents who hired contractors and paid hard-earned money in order to take care of their major investment, their home. People who have been scammed sometimes have heart attacks or suffer emotionally and financially, sometimes for years to come. The devastation can be great.
I saved for years so I would be able to buy a home for cash 16 years ago. I hired several contractors over the years with no problems. Recently, I hired a roofer who cheated me out of $7,000 and left my home in total structural destruction, all for what was only a mere leak from a gutter. He strung me along for months while I was being patient and congenial. When I was more firm, he laughed at me. Since I am nearly blind, he figured I couldn’t see the destruction. Did he think all my friends and family were blind also? I am a strong person, but if I wasn’t, it could be the end of me to suffer what is basically the loss of my home.
I was raised with this concept: It didn’t matter why I did something, just that I did it, and I knew that every bad behavior would be called out, not to be abusive and unfair, but to learn that there are consequences for my actions.
I was going to go public, but was told by a very wise person that doing so could be perceived as a threat to the scammer. A threat? Not a consequence? And that, my friends, is how the world has become what it has. The good guys like Vaughters are put on the defensive, giving a permission slip to more scammers.