Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Pippo the Wolf"

In a small village, a geographic area in the countryside where everyone knows everyone else, how do you remove yourself from the presence of the really disagreeable people? Someone, for example, whose taciturn, moody character is demonstrably uncivil and depressing. Someone who has earned the sobriquet of "monster of Cassibile".

Cassibile is a village about 14 kilometres south of Syracuse, in Italy. And the 'monster of Cassibile' is a 69-year-old handyman, someone who is regularly hired by others in the area to do jobs that others aren't capable of performing. A kind of Jack-of-all-trades. A man with a useful penchant for knowing how to do practical things.

He was described by some other villagers as a hard worker who did odd jobs. Clearing land with a mechanical digger, or delivering wood, that kind of thing. His quietly reserved nature obviously tinged with more than a little nastiness earned him another nickname: "Pippo the wolf"; presumably not in his hearing.

Because he obviously has a very mean streak, and more than obviously is capable of wreaking revenge on those he deems have wronged him. And in his books those who did not pay him for his hard work on their behalf did wrong him, badly. And he took his revenge by exacting more than a pound of flesh; he took their very lives.

Lying in wait for them, to surprise his victims and assault them with deadly efficiency. Five people were killed by this handyman, and four others survived, though his intention was to murder them, too. He truly was a monster. Yet he was a married man, with two children.

He will no longer ambush victims for the purpose of murdering them in an act of righteous vengeance. His 12-gauge shotgun has been taken away, as has a pistol found in his home, where a home-made safe containing $26,000 was also discovered, after his arrest.

The moral of this story is hire people whom you trust, and trusting them, favour yourself by doing them the honour of due recompense for their labours.

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