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Yesterday, I had a client who I scheduled showing to view Beacon Hill apartments for rent. When she arrived at my Beacon Hill office I asked her politely that in order to view these apartments she needed to wear a mask.

Normally, almost 99% if the time, Beacon Hill apartment renters will comply. On this particular day, the potential renter told me; “If Pres. Trump doesn’t wear a mask why should I?”

Needless to say, we parted ways in disagreement, mostly because I didn’t want to put anyone at risk in the Beacon Hill neighborhood with a client who refuses to wear a mask because of Pres. Trump doesn’t wear one

I reminded of a true story

December 1916 more than 17,000 British troops were officially diagnosed as suffering from a nervous or mental disability (we’d say shell-shock or post-traumatic stress disorder these days), despite which the British military authorities continued to charge and convict sufferers with ‘cowardice’ and ‘desertion’, and to sentence to death by firing squad many of those found ‘guilty’.

On 16 August 2006, the British government announced that it would pardon 308 British soldiers who were shot by firing squad for ‘cowardice’ and ‘desertion’ during the First World War of 1914-18. The decision was ratified by Parliament on 7 November 2006 and represented a remarkable u-turn by this and previous governments who had always firmly refuted any evidence and justification for pardoning the victims.

This reversal followed and was largely due to decades of persistent lobbying and campaigning by organizations and individuals, many being families and descendants of the victims. It is not easy to imagine their suffering, especially of the widows and parents long since gone, for whom this decision came a lifetime too late.

The Bottom Line

The story emphasizes two things: first, that people in authority have a responsibility to behave with integrity. Second, where people in authority fail to act with integrity, the persistence and determination of ordinary people will eventually force them to do so.

Here is more background about the Shot At Dawn campaign, and the history of this particularly shameful example of British institutional behavior.

It provides lessons to us all about doing the right thing, and calling to account those who do not.


Some people will not agree with my interpretation, especially in transferring the issues and principles of the past to modern challenges in today’s world. But that’s why I’m a blog writer, not a reporter.


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