Dark Side Of ‘The Good Nurse’?

How is it possible that an apparently ‘good’ nurse nefariously kill many patients? According to the depiction in ‘The Good Nurse’, ‘To avoid a death sentence, Charles Cullen pled guilty to the murder of 29 people. The real number of victims is believed to be as many as 400... Charlie Cullen is currently serving 18 consecutive life sentences in New Jersey State Prison and will not be eligible for parole until 2403. Cullen was a nurse for 16 years. Most of the [10] hospitals he worked at harboured suspicion about him. None stopped him. There have never been criminal proceedings against any of the hospitals.’

According to movie, when Cullen was asked ‘why’ he killed so many, he simply replied, ‘They didn’t stop me.’ Of course, he is still wrong, even if he implied that others should be blamed for not reporting him for investigation. Yet, there were truly many who did suspect murder, yet doing nothing. It was suggested that hospital(s) tried to cover up ‘mysterious’ deaths to protect their reputations, while letting Cullen go… to the next hospital unchecked. As the saying goes, ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good (wo)men to do nothing.‘ In this sense, it is indeed the fault of others too, when they simply let him move on.

In the Brahma Net Sūtra’s Bodhisattva Precepts’ Text《梵网经菩萨戒本》, the ‘Fifth [Light] Precept Against Not Teaching Repentance Of Transgressions’ (第五不教悔罪[轻]戒) says, ‘If the Buddha’s disciples, see all sentient beings violating the… Five Precepts… of all who have violated the precepts with transgressions, they should be taught to have repentance. And if Bodhisattvas do not teach repentance… not raising these transgressions, not teaching them to repent for their faults, they commit a light defiled transgression.’ (若佛子,见一切众生犯… 五戒… 一切犯戒罪,应教忏悔。而菩萨不教忏悔… 不举其罪,不教悔过者,犯轻垢罪。)

The essential spirit of the precept says that for the good of one and all, those known to have done evil, or who are doing evil, should be told of their mistakes (if unaware), and encouraged to repent for their wrongs before an appropriate community. (If the mistakes are grave, they should be raised to the community, if not confessed by the guilty, lest the community and beyond be harmed later.) Admittance of faults helps to ensure there will be remedial actions and resolutions to not repeat the mistakes. Indeed, those who secretly do evil tend to continue, without any remorse. The secrecy is seldom due to pure shame, but with the intention to be morally shameless… relentlessly. The titular good nurse is actually another nurse, who alerted the police, and urged Cullen to admit his crimes.

Whether as a devious psychopath and/or with some other mental heath challenges, again, the question of the audience is, ‘How is it possible that an apparently “good” nurse nefariously kill many patients?’ Well, to be one of the world’s worst serial killers, he had to keep getting away, and one of the best ways is to seem normal, or even good to most. Unfortunately, the very evil are not always obvious. They can even be always not obvious… until the truth is revealed. May it not be too late.

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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