By Hannah Reich Berman

There are some lessons that come hard to me. Oddly, I am always under the impression that someone in the public eye is someone worth knowing. That position, of being in the public eye, covers a lot of territory. The individual in question might be a sports figure, a politician, a well-known journalist, or a television anchor. Apparently, if a person is well educated, intelligent, or talented, and is someone with whom millions are familiar, I think of him (or her) as a mensch. This is not necessarily true, of course, but it is the way I think.

Another oddity is that I tend to assume that anyone with a severe limitation or disability is incapable of inflicting pain on another person. To my way of thinking, he or she must be a nice person. Am I nuts, or what? Probably, but I can’t seem to change the way my mind operates. It simply never occurs to me that people are people and that there are plenty of crazies out there. Handicapped people, talented people, and educated people can be just as violent as the next guy! It is a fact of life and, while it makes sense, I often forget that fact.

For that reason, the news about Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius shooting and killing his girlfriend astonished me. And this was a double whammy for me, because that guy is not only a terrific runner, but he is also legless and uses prosthetics to get around. For someone who thinks as I do, this was an over-the-top eye-opener. The man is talented and deals successfully with a severe limitation, so in my mind he should have been an angel. And then he goes and kills someone. Go figure!

So I was getting accustomed to the fact that these things do happen even in the lives of the rich, famous, and successful. But just as I was settling down and reminding myself that this is indeed a rarity, since most people are upstanding citizens incapable of doing anything more harmful than parking illegally, along comes Rob Morrison. He is, or rather he was, someone I thought I knew simply because I so often watched him on television. This character is reported to have choked his wife, Ashley Morrison, who is also in the public eye. She is a television anchorperson. So, once again, I was astonished and once again it was another double whammy. Because this time, I was shocked not only by who the perpetrator was but also by who his victim was, the beautiful and talented Ashley Morrison.

It simply boggles my mind to learn that a bright, talented, and well-educated woman would remain with a husband who, according to what her mother told the police, had been abusive and violent for years. In short, both the perp and victim fooled me. And he wasn’t just a television anchorman. When he left his job and stayed home, he wrote a blog for The Huffington Post entitled “Daddy Diaries: Confessions of a stay-at-home anchorman.” I ate that stuff up. It was well written and interesting. And all the time it was being penned by an abuser who was capable of tremendous violence, or so it’s been alleged.

Shame on me! When will I learn? I should have gotten the message by now, because it doesn’t end. I just learned that the lead investigator in the case against that famous Olympic sprinter is facing attempted-murder charges. Oy vey! My disillusionment continues to grow.

I neglected to mention that I also tend to assume that detectives and members of the police force are above reproach. Why is it a surprise that a detective can be a bad guy? Didn’t I learn my lesson last month, when a former Los Angeles cop named Dorner went on a rampage and killed four innocent people because he wanted to exact revenge upon the police force that he felt had done him wrong!

The time has come for me to wake up and smell the coffee, and stop being surprised by these events. If politicians can be crooked, and we all know there are plenty of those, then why can’t cops and detectives go haywire and kill? The short answer is that they can! In fact, some do. Eventually I will learn this.

This is not to say that I am a total fool. There are some lessons that I have learned. As Purim has just passed, the one that comes to mind is that, in the weeks prior to the holiday, I did not offer to have any of my grandchildren come to my house to bake hamantaschen. I did that a few years ago, but I learned my lesson and I never forgot it. At that time, I invited five of my grandchildren to bake. Every one of them was gung-ho. At the time, it sounded like a terrific plan both to them and to me. The children couldn’t wait to begin. Unfortunately they were just as enthusiastic about stopping as they had been about starting and, 20 minutes into the session, I noticed that the room had emptied out.

That was because, one by one, the kids wandered into my den, plopped down on the couch, and watched some television. And that was the last I saw of them for the rest of the afternoon. At that point my kitchen was wall-to-wall flour, and I bore a close resemblance to the Pillsbury Doughboy. Not a single one of them had any further interest in baking. All they cared about (in addition to watching television, that is) was getting to eat the hamantaschen when they were finished baking.

These are two distinctly different scenarios, I will admit, but at least I know there are some things that I can learn. I may still have a tendency to believe that some people are immune to going off the deep end and committing a crime, but I know when not to repeat an error of my own. That’s the way it is. v

Hannah Berman lives in Woodmere and is a licensed real-estate broker associated with Marjorie Hausman Realty. She can be reached at or 516-902-3733.


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