If you read the article in the Natchez Democrat today, you will see that Alderman Bubber West has been arrested for writing bad checks. - and that is sad news. Why?
First, it is always sad when an elected official is arrested, because the public trust has been betrayed.
Secondly, it is sad for Alderman West. From my viewpoint, he has been a good Alderman. He was smart, knew the issues, and asked good questions. So why would he risk his career and reputation? We know that he has suffered bad health and financial problems, but that does not account for his behavior.
Maybe we can explain (not excuse) his behavior if we look at some reasons people habitually write bad checks. I'm not talking about people who occasionally bounce a check - but those who do it enough to warrant legal action. (As background, let me tell you that before I moved to Natchez, I was a licensed and practicing psychologist.)
Some people write bad checks because they're psychopaths trying to rip off the system, and these people belong in jail for as long as we can keep them there. There is no hope for them.
Some people are suffering financially and just get desperate. Usually, they will stop after getting caught a few times, especially if there are legal repercussions. Unlike the psychopath, they usually feel guilt, remorse, and shame.
Some people lack the skills of survival in today's world. They don't know how to keep an accurate checkbook, and they write bad checks without really knowing it. These people are usually caught early and learn their lesson. They either stop having bank accounts, or if they're lucky and educable, they learn the necessary skills.
Some suffer from serious mental disorders, and the only hope for them is mental health treatment.
Many addicts write bad checks, because the need to feed the addiction overtakes all rational behavior. Unless and until the addiction is treated, they will keep right on. They don't show guilt or remorse, because addicts can rationalize any behavior, although they may have momentary episodes of guilt.
We usually think of addiction to alcohol or drugs, but there is another addiction - gambling. One symptom of gambling addiction is committing illegal acts (e.g., forgery, fraud, theft or embezzlement) in order to finance gambling. Another is jeopardizing or losing a significant relationship, job, or career because of gambling. Hmmm - makes you wonder.