"I was working for a rather prestigious business in our state capital when The Spir first started operating there. Our bank got a great deal of their business though they'd only make deposits to the limit of the federal loss insurance. THey had five or six accounts with our bank. but they got a strict policy, only insured investments, no investing in the stock market, no risk of any kind.
I was financial adviser. I had been doing very well with our limited risk investments and tried to get The Spir to take advantage of the program. I called the church several times, trying to talk with their leader, but they kept giving me the brush off, telling me they weren't interested and NOT to call again.
I felt I was doing right and continued to try to reach them. Finally I was called into the manager's office and told in no uncertain terms, I was not to bother The Spiritists any more. They were not interested whatsoever in my type of speculative investment. I said 'Well, all right, but they're really missing out.' 'It's not our call,' the manager told me. 'If they don't want it leave them alone!'
So I forgot about it for the next few months, then came time to renew The Spiritist's CDs. I looked at all that money setting there doing virtually nothing, when it could be making so much more if the people would just take a tiny bit of risk. I decided that perhaps if I showed The Spir how much more they could make with some decent investments, they'd see the benefit of what I was trying to tell them. So instead of rolling the money back into CDs. I put it into a good bond fund that paid a lot more yield and sat back to wait.
The first month's dividends were phenomenal! Within hours I was called into the president's office. He asked me quite politely how it was that the Spiritst accounts had this considerable increase in interest, where the CDs were not paying any more than they had ever done. I explained to him what I had done. 'I see!' he commented. 'You deliberately broke the bank's trust and invested these funds in a manner that those who owned them disapproved of.'
I explained that it was only to show them the benefits of taking a little reasonable risk. Look at the considerable increase their funds earned in just this short period! I just wanted them to see the opportunities they were missing by being locked into such a rigid investment plan. Surely they now understand with this major increase in their portfolio their taking a small amount of risk is worth the benefit of the gain.'
The bank president shook his head. 'Go to your desk,' he ordered, 'clean it out. You're through! Probably by the time you're done the police will be here. The owners of the funds you appropriated insist that you be prosecuted to the full extent of the law! I know, in your misguided way you meant well, but your actions are totally unacceptable!'
'What?' I stammered. 'What are you talking about?' 'You are being charged with embezzlement,' the president answered. 'The bank regrets this action. But you are most certainly out of bounds, and we can do nothing but comply with the customer's wishes.'
I waived a jury trial thinking that if I would get a reasonable judge I could make him understand this whole thing was just a terrible misunderstanding. And I did get a very reasonable judge, who tried to get The Spiritists to be a little more rational. But they wouldn't budge. They wanted an example made of me, so no one else handling their funds would get similar ideas. The judge's hands were tied. Legally I was guilty of embezzlement so he had to give me fifteen years, fifteen lousy years because I tried to help some asses better their circumstances, fifteen lousy years! When they came asking for volunteers they didn't have to ask ME twice!"
The sergeant fell silent. "Sons of bitches!" one of the other men mumbled. "Why didn't anyone realize sooner what nut cases these people were, when they do something like THAT to a guy that was just trying to help them out?"
"A lot of people say they knew the crash was coming," another man put in. "That's why they never put their money in the stock market. They let every other poor sap get wiped out while their money was protected. Then they swooped in and skimmed up all the gravy while the rest of us were just trying to stay alive. That's why they put our friend here, in jail. He might have figured out their little game. They wanted him out of the way so he couldn't help other people. They deliberately ruined the world economy to increase their power. No matter how many times they say it isn't so, I say it is! They survived while everybody else went down the tubes!"
"I'm with you, friend," another man put in. "Everybody knows it's true! Nobody could prove it. Well, pretty soon when this war is over, they'll be the ones begging for help! And I don't think they're gonna get much!"
"Not from any of us!" another man put in.
Laughter quickly spread around the circle.
"Here's another one that tried to help them,' one of the sergeants who had spoken before remarked, kicking the feet of the man beside him, "tried to save their kids, tried to deprogram them. Nearly got fired doing it. Tell them, Ben, tell them what happened to your town."
The sergeant looked sheepish. "Come on!" the major encouraged. "We haven't got much else for entertainment tonight. Sharing each other's woes is the only thing we've got."
The Sergeant looked around, finally shrugged, and began to speak.