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And I Am Confused

On tuesday (I think) I was zapping around while waiting for the roast to cook and ended up half-watching a program on the Discovery Channel (what do you want? It's the only channel that every now and then has something interesting). The show, sort of the "most wanted criminals in the universe", began with a SWAT team (in full combat gears no less) bursting into an house to arrest the wanted man. I was prepared for the "usual" bad guy: all muscles, pistols and testosteron, what I got instead was somebody that could have been me without glasses and with better clothing. So I thought: who the heck is this guy? Head-terrorist with 800+ killing on count? Drug dealers with 1000+ hollywood stars on his books? Ex-nazi in charge of some concentration camp (no, too joung)?

The show went on detailing how a team of detectives from the FBI, Interpol, Mondialpol and the like spent years investigating and researching in order to track down and arrest the "dangerous" man... who was accused of faking documents to swindle several US companies out of several millions dollars.

Where "faking" means that he typed the documents with a word processor and signed them himself. A sophistication level that is easily achieved by anybody with a pc, a pen and some white paper. So basically 99% of the whole world. And by "several millions" they meant that the various companies reported losses for hundreds of millions, but judging how the guy was living (i.e.: he wasn't the owner of a gold-plated villa in the Bahaamas or something) I think that he never got more than a few thousands.

The guy was also apparently arrested and jalied a couple of times, and even escaped from prison twice. I was expecting a gun fight with the guards, spectacular escapes, but what he did in one case was to "fake" a document that certified he was affected by AIDS and then he volunteered for a research program on AIDS and when he got to the "research center" he simply phoned the prison posing as one of the doctors of the center and declared himself dead. Then he simply walked out the door. Another time he managed to paint his own prison "uniform" green to look like a medic and then he just walked out the main door saying good-bye to everybody.

One of the strangest detail was when he "faked" documents in order to get hired by an american insurance company as finance director and, after a couple of years, he disappeared while the insurance had to report 300 million dollars loss. But "he was the best finance director we ever had" said everybody... heee... yeah, sure...

In short, I got the impression that the show's idea was to paint him as an hideous criminal, but to me he looked much more likeable, smart and competent than the morons he was lifting the money from. That made me think: why so much hatre for this guy? Ok, he is a criminal (to fake documents is a crime and so is getting money you don't deserve), but the kind of crimes and criminal doesn't look very menacing to me, and it doesn't look like is worth the kind of resources that have been put into tracking and arresting him. That bunch of "dedicated and motivated" detectives that spent years researching didn't have anything more important to do? Event the amount of money reported looked suspicious: if I could land my mittens on several hundred millions of dollars (or euro) I wouldn't stay here, I would go so far away that you'd get dizzy just thinking about it.

That left me a little perplexed, but then the roast was ready and I didn't thought about it anymore, until yesterday when on the newspaper there was the news that the police arrested a airliner pilot because he had piloted planes for 14 years without a license. And they had to send him to the cockpit with a trick to be able to arrest him (?) And today the story was again on the paper. And I think: ok but what the heck was he up to? Was he trying to hijack the plane and plunge into a building 9-11-style? Did he performed aerobatics or stupid maneuvres? Did he endangered the plane and the passengers? Was he a threat to the safety of the plane or the passengers? Hee... No. He actually flew for 14 years without any trouble, transporting thousands of passengers up and down europe, never had an accident, he was known as one of the best pilots of the airline. Always done his job with total dedication... the only problem is that he didn't had a license.

That reminded me when, several years ago, it came out the news that one of the surgeon of a well known italians hospital didn't had a degree. It was a terrible scandal for the hospital and the nhs. But the guy had been in service for years, never made a mistake and he too was known as one of the best surgeons. He wasn't discovered because he made any kind of blunder, it was just a simple administrative check.

Is my opinion that the simple fact of possessing a license (or any other document) does not make you capable of doing anything and that capability is only aquired through experience. The same goes (for example) for driving. Driving without a license is a crime, but possessing a license doesn't make you any abler to drive. Just look how peoples drive around any day.

I consider experience and capability much more important than the possession of any kind of document that certify such capability and if the guy tasked to do something is able to do his task I don't care if he has or not a license or a degree. We could object that an airline pilot or a surgeon has a great responsability, and he could cause a lot of damage if he makes a blunder, but the same is also true for almost any human activity. There are peoples in possess of a driving license that goes around driving (things like huge tracks full of petrol) while they shouldn't be allowed to drive even a trycicle in an enclosed space!

That made me think to that show a couple of days ago, and I asked myself: why all this hatre?

If the guy had no permit or degree and the airline or hospital knew about it, they could have simply told him "go, get that permit/degree and came back" and that would have done it. He was certainly able to do his job, that he wasn't dangerous was clear, so was it worth to rise a scandal that certainly damaged the reputation of everybody just to "catch him"? The same goes for the aforementioned "criminal". Ok, he was a forgerer and a swindler, but was he worth all the work and time spent to catch him? Yoh! I'm not saying that swindlers should be left alone, but I think that the effort should be comparable with the threat.

My hunch is that the reason for all this hatre is that these peoples are obviously a lot smarter than the average person. For sure the swindler was waaaaay smarter than any of his victims (especially the ones that hired him for two years) just like the pilot and surgeon where way smarter and much more competent than any of the peoples that were supposed to check their qualifications and as smart and competent as any of their collegues with a permit or a degree. And it looks to me that modern society hate smart peoples, with a passion. Especially when they show that they are smarter than whoever is in charge.

Davide Bianchi
05/03/2010 14:05

Comments are added when and more important if I have the time to review them and after removing Spam, Crap, Phishing and the like. So don't hold your breath. And if your comment doesn't appear, is probably becuase it wasn't worth it.

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per quanto mi dolga ammetterlo... By Rick posted 05/03/2010 12:32

...sad but true, riguardo l'ultimo paragrafo in particolare. specialmente con gli episodi del pilota e del chirurgo leggendo non ho potuto fare a meno di immaginare il classico funzionarietto piccolo borghese, frustrato perchè gli fanno fare i controlli amministrativi invece di promuoverlo a imperatore del mondo "perchè se ci fossi io vedi come risolverei i problemi, eh! *burp*", che scopre l'irregolarità e subito sfodera la faccia da grinch "aha! adesso ti sistemo io, così impari ad essere meglio di me!". e per mia sfortuna (o fortuna?) di gente così ne ho incontrati parecchi prototipi alle superiori e ne sto assaggiando le versioni evolute,se così si puo' dire, qui in università. -- Rick


Il titolo non è indice di capacità By J.C. posted 05/03/2010 12:58

Se hai tempo cerca la storia del capo equipe di Barnard, quello del primo trapianto di cuore. Era nero e quindi per l'apparteid non poteva laurearsi, e in ospedale era assunto come pulitore, ma Barnard lo faceva operare, gli faceva tenere lezioni, e lo aveva messo a capo della sua equipe. -- J.C.


Geniale :-) By Anna posted 05/03/2010 13:18

Il tizio è geniale, ottimo hacker sociale. In realtà volevo commentare su Dickheadhunters, in qualità di headhunter che non lavora così, ma è sconfortata dalla situazione (mentale?) di molti suoi "colleghi" che il buon lavoro neanche sanno dove sta di casa -- Anna


Catch me By maxxfi posted 05/03/2010 13:20

Sono d'accordo con te. Inoltre penso abbia anche un po' a che fare con quel perverso piacere di poter dire al 'pericoloso' delinquente finalmente in prigione "ti credevi cosi' furbo, eh? E ora come te la cavi?" (fin dai tempi dei Cristi in croce).

Il tuo post mi ha fatto ricordare di un film che di recente ha passato la tele "Catch me if you can", ovvero la storia di una famoso truffatore, specializzato in assegni falsi, il quale quando alla fine viene catturato dall'FBI, invece di essere semplicemente sbattuto in carcere, riceve l'offerta dall'investigatore capo di fornire la sua 'expertise' in campo frodi in cambio di un alleggerimento della pena. -- maxxfi


Ecco perche' comandano gli stupidi... By Mattia posted 05/03/2010 13:49

Cit. "Soprattutto quando dimostrano di essere piu' intelligenti di chi dovrebbe essere al comando"

come da oggetto... ecco perche' di solito (ma non sempre, grazie al cielo) comandno gli stupidi:

1 - quelli un minimo intelligenti vengono oppressi quando si dimostrano piu' competenti dei loro superiori
1 - gli stupidi sono in genere in numero maggiore

P.S: come sempre, leggerti e' un piacere.

-- Mattia

z f k

@ Mattia By z f k posted 05/03/2010 21:08

> Cit. "Soprattutto quando dimostrano di essere piu' intelligenti di chi dovrebbe essere al comando"
> come da oggetto... ecco perche' di solito (ma non sempre, grazie al cielo) comandno gli stupidi:
> 1 - quelli un minimo intelligenti vengono oppressi quando si dimostrano piu' competenti dei loro superiori
> 1 - gli stupidi sono in genere in numero maggiore

in realta' vale il Principio di Peter (

"In a Hierarchy Every Employee Tends to Rise to His Level of Incompetence."

CYA -- z f k

Gianluca Rigon

E questo dimostra ... By Gianluca Rigon posted 05/03/2010 13:57

... che certe cose sono valide come principio generale ( "My crime is that of outsmarting you, something that you will never forgive me for." -- Gianluca Rigon


Teoria interessante... By BigFab posted 05/03/2010 14:14

...ed anche suggestiva, ma penso che banalmente si tratti di procedure investigative/burocratiche/giuridiche che vadano rispettate.
Es: chirurgo non laureato ma capace, direttore dell'ospedale che gli dice "pigliati la laurea e torna", per qualche motivo salta fuori quello che è successo, saltano sia il chirurgo che il direttore.
E' anche vero che troppo spesso il chirurgo (o qualsiasi altra persona facente altro mestiere) incapace ma con i titoli in regola continui a fare il proprio lavoro senza che qualcuno dica niente (al limite si sposta di sede e/o di azienda).

A proposito di autisti di autocisterne, mercoledì mattina scorso mi stavo prendendo un caffè in un bar vicino all'azienda che avevo appena visitato, parcheggia un autotreno di trasporto combustibili, entra l'autista, ordina un bicchiere di vino bianco dicendo che "il panino della mattina" gli era rimasto sullo stomaco, tracanna d'un fiato il vino, paga e si rimette alla guida dell'autocisterna. o__O Alla salute! -- E sono il cinquecentesimo...

Davide Bianchi

@ BigFab By Davide Bianchi posted 05/03/2010 18:25

> ...ed anche suggestiva, ma penso che banalmente si tratti di procedure investigative/burocratiche/giuridiche che vadano rispettate.

Chissa' perche' devono essere "rispettate" o "interpretate" quando conviene...
-- Davide Bianchi


Perplito By Joker posted 05/03/2010 17:52

E' per questo che hanno inventato i "titoli" per cercar di far apparire intelligenti e preparati anche i buoni a nulla. -- Joker


Che tristezza... By Mino posted 06/03/2010 09:12

Però per fortuna ci sono ancora dei datori di lavoro e dei lavori nei quali il titolo non importa nulla, ma importa solo la preparazione e l'esperienza maturata "sul campo". Per 17 anni ho fatto il cuoco iniziando dalla gavetta ed arrivando ad essere secondo chef in un quattro stelle nella riviera ligure, e devo dire che puoi avere tutte le lauree che vuoi, ma se non prepari bene il cibo sei fuori.
Parimenti la proprietà non investe su chi è un lecchino o su chi è laureato, ma solo su chi ha accumulato esperienza sul campo.
Se tutti i posti di lavoro fossero così forse si vivrebbe meglio, no?

P.S. : dal mio ferramenta c'è un cartello "Chi sa, fa, chi non sa, insegna"... -- Mino


Applicando al nostro mondo By Cymon posted 07/03/2010 14:28

Se il tuo prossimo capo è intelligente, furbo, ti ascolta e ne capisce di computer stai all'erta! Non ha realmente seguito tutti i corsi di management che millanta e probablimente non ha neanche un Master in un'università importante.
Anche il titolo che ha appeso in ufficio se l'è stampato da solo con la laser aziendale...

Tienitelo stretto :-\) -- Cymon

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