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Read a blog post here that, short of the call to inflict punishment at the end of a stick, jibes with my beliefs about a lot of the bad things that happen out there:

Today, a bus driver stabbed. Yesterday, a gang-related shooting at a middle school. Wednesday, a shooting at an office complex. Tuesday, a 5-year old kidnapped and forced into a bunker.  A family murdered by a teenage son.  20 first grade students executed. 12 people killed watching Batman at a movie theater.

I don’t care why these things happened. I am not interested in what you think about gun control, mental illness, poverty, white male entitlement, post-traumatic stress syndrome, gangs. I have no interest in debating with you the reasons that our country has landed in the shadow of the valley of death. The truth is, I fear evil. But apparently, no one else does.

What was supposed to be the greatest country in the world has become nothing more than an oversized playpen for spoiled, petulant brats who don’t understand and certainly don’t consider consequences.  

Bad people have always existed, and bad things have always happened, but we used to care. Now, we shake our heads and furrow our brows. We have conversations instead of repercussions.  We encourage our children to express themselves, instead of impressing upon them the very real necessity of limitations on that expression. We challenge authority because we don’t want to be controlled, instead of standing up for what we believe in and taking control of our streets, our schools, our homes.

I am so sick of it.

I don’t care if the kid who shot another kid yesterday comes from a single parent house and lives in poverty.  I don’t care if the man in the bunker has post-traumatic stress syndrome from fighting in a war. I don’t care if Adam Lanza had Asperger’s Syndrome and a crazy mother who ignored the warning signs.

I don’t care, because it’s no excuse. Millions of people live in poverty; they cope with pain, they deal with loss; they battle mental illness.  And they still manage to possess enough human decency to value someone else’s life.

Sure. There will always be people that are mentally ill in a very defined way. There are people that are evil. Pure evil. They know better and they STILL do what is horrifyingly wrong.

The issue I have comes down to definitions of people like this asshole Jimmy Lee Dykes and Adam Lanza as "victims." These people are not victims.

I DON'T CARE that Adam Lanza couldn't make a single friend in school or didn't know how to socialize. I've met several people with aspergers and, even though some may seem a little off sometimes, they would never naturally do what this prick did.

I had tourettes growing up. I had to weather being made fun of. I had low self-esteem because of it (and a mother who couldn't stop accidentally putting me down) but did I go out and TAKE REVENGE on everyone who did this to me? I got in a few fights to stop the name calling, but I would never have considered doing it at the end of a semi-automatic rifle.

I'm of the mind that most people know the difference between right and wrong. They may fool themselves into believing they are doing something right when a little voice they ignore tells them its not so, but nobody ever said doing the right thing was easy.

Too many are ready to excuse people's mental illness as reason enough that their actions aren't judged as harshly as others. Sorry. For a good portion of those evil people out there I'm just not buying it. Nobody's giving Hitler or Stalin a pass. They shouldn't do the same for Adam Lanza, Jimmy Lee Dykes or others like them.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kharma, a2nite

    "It doesn't matter whether you win or lose. It's how you ladle the gravy." - Felix Ungar

    by Verbalpaintball on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 10:44:21 AM PST

  •  Where empathy breaks down (YOU, not the killer) (6+ / 0-)

    This is where empathy breaks down.  

    It is ironic that you are complaining about "evil" people who lack empathy.  

    And, yet you demonstrate how you, yourself, lack empathy.

    You see, the way empathy works is that your brain attempts to simulate what another person's brain is doing, by firing up the same pathways that it assumes the other person would fire up.  But, when that person's brain is different from yours, your brain is not able to simulate what is happening.   The result, is a lack of empathy.

    You assume that they have a brain like yours, but that they could have responded the way you would have responded, but consciously made different choices.  

    However, what is really happening is that their brain doesn't work like yours.   They may have moods that they cannot control, poor judgment, lack of impulse control, intrusive thoughts, delusions, a damaged reward system where their brain experiences pleasure from inappropriate types of stimulation.

    And, you cannot comprehend it, because you approach the situation with a basic assumption that is false --- that their brain is like your brain, that because you can reason through certain things or feel certain things, that they can do.

    And, so you resort to a basic human response -- revenge.

    In this situation, where a brain of a healthy person is trying to understand how the brain of a mentally ill person works, they can't do it.  The healthy person will frequently experience a lack of empathy, because this is something their brain just can't do.  

    Ironic, isn't it.

    •  He's not claiming that they lack empathy. (0+ / 0-)

      He's claiming that they're acting immorally.  These are different things.

      •  we could get very deep into this philosophically (0+ / 0-)

        From whence derives morality?


        Natural empathy?


        I believe that morality is only possible in the presence of empathy, understanding, accurate perception and an ability for self-control.    Can you expect your version of morality from someone who lacks empathy.  Can you truly blame them for lacking empathy?.     Or, a person who lacks self control?    

        It's like blaming a blind person for walking into you.    THEY CAN'T SEE.

        Or, blaming a person for running into your car when the brakes fail.  THEY CAN'T STOP.

        Or, for invading your house in the middle of the night.   THEY WERE CONFUSED.  THEY THOUGHT IT WAS THEIR HOUSE.

        In order for a moral compass to work, the various parts and components have to be working.

  •  so that is your answer (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jfromga, skohayes, frey60, dewley notid

    some people are just evil?

    thats a lot of evil people out there, more than even a decade ago in the U.S.

    Why are there more 'evil people' now than there was 10 or 20 years ago?

    That is the real quandry.

  •  Ah... (7+ / 0-)

    the ol' "fuck 'em all!" response.

    Yeah, that'll work wonders.

    How about this?

    First, let's remove the stigma associated with mental illnesses.

    Next, let's make it next to impossible for the mentally ill to get their hands on weaponry.

    Also, let's have the males of our society 'fess up and admit that most of us are seething volcanoes ready to go off at a moment's notice, especially around  the ages of, say, 15-25 or so.

    The notion that you're putting forth, that "I overcame my obstacles; why can't everyone else?" is both ridiculous and simple-minded and a fundamental building block of the GOP mind-set.

    To wit: Think of the way George H.W. Bush fetishized Colin Powell and the way George W. Bush did the same for Alberto Gonzalez.

    Jeepers! Those guys grew up poor and ethnic and look how successful they are! Why can't the other mooks do the same?

    How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

    by BenderRodriguez on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 11:10:35 AM PST

  •  people who fear evil (5+ / 0-)

    and abandon reason for emotional knee jerk reactions are a large part of the problem, and their emotional diatribes against humanity being imperfect, aren't part of the solution.

    Means matter, why things happen, matter.  How do we fix problems if we don't follow them to their roots.  Treating symptoms without treating the cause, is a position taken when we are helpless to find the cause.  I don't think we are there yet.   We won't look for causes because it would require change, acknowledging that 'evil' an almost mystical explanation for bad actors, isn't the root of most problems, requires us to confront ourselves and our society and behavioral and social patterns in uncomfortable ways.

    That blog post was a cop out.  Destroy what you can't understand.

  •  I don't believe in (5+ / 0-)

    stark black and white contrasts like "good" and "evil".
    There's a lot of grey in between that you're ignoring.

    “We are not a nation that says ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says ‘out of many, we are one.’” -Barack Obama

    by skohayes on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 11:22:11 AM PST

  •  ... (4+ / 0-)

    'Evil' is not a clearcut thing.  Everything we do, each and every one of us, affects everyone else.  Ignorance, carelessness, apathy, lack of empathy kill.   I would imagine the people in Pakistan think that the 87% of Americans who support drone strikes that kill their children are 'evil'.

    Life is not black and white, and yes, we create our own monsters out of people we marginalize.  Realizing this is not 'giving a pass' or 'making excuses'.  It's realizing that life is complex, messy, and interconnected.

  •  Big difference between trying to understand (6+ / 0-)

    the rationale behind someone's aberrant behavior and justifying it. People invariably ask where did he/she go wrong but asking the question shouldn't imply any more than that.

    Knowing that some bullied kids decide to seek revenge doesn't excuse the violence but it has spurred the debate on bullying in general.

    It's merely my opinion but I think when someone decides to go all in on violence they know that their life is forfeit, either by going to prison for the rest of their lives or by dying. How they came to that conclusion and how we, as a society, prevent others from making that same decision is worth discussing.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 11:41:12 AM PST

  •  Explanations are not excuses (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SwedishJewfish, denise b, mrkvica

    Not much is accomplished by standing around with your hands on your hips making loud announcements about  what you beleive in. Seeking explanations leads to more than just talk, it leads to the necessary "doing".

    Nothing "excuses" the kinds of things listed in that blog post. But a lot of us care about the explanations. If we know that  a substantial number of such tragedies occur at the hands of mentally ill people with a gun, then we start looking at ways to treat mental illness and keep guns away from such people. If we know that a significant number of violent gang members live in poverty, and grew up with little adult supervision because their parent worked two and three jobs to keep a roof over their heads, then we start looking at how we can create a better situation for children to grow up in.

    "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

    by Catte Nappe on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 11:53:39 AM PST

  •  What's the deal with your hair? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Boehner Just Wants Wife To Listen, Not Come Up With Alternative Debt-Reduction Ideas

    by dov12348 on Fri Feb 08, 2013 at 12:06:16 PM PST

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