Evil and the Colorado shooting

In the wake of the Colorado shooting the word and concept of evil are likely to be used as a tool of the Right. It becomes the end of an argument. The gunman was “pure evil.” What is to be done with evil in that case? It can only be eradicated, for there is no negotiating, co-exicting or appeasing evil, only defeating and destroying it, in society with regards to crime, in dealing with the Iranians, your political opposition. It begins to rob you of true freewill. The word is initself a falsehood and a means of control.

Evil is, at it’s core a lie. It is the antithesis of the truth, and since truth can be manipulated, interpreted and degraded the line between evil and truth is terribly thin. The lie is certainly as old as mankind, undoubtedly the symptom of negotiations between our selfish souls and wants and desires of others. Separated from one another by the needs of the body and the ignorance of the mind we are certainly suffering the legacy of those first lies, and, hence, their inherent “evil.” We may also be suffering the echoes of the first recorded lie.

There are few words as misused or misunderstood as the word Evil. For some it is the embodiment of the worst the human heart and mind can conjure. To others it is a living thing, an ethereal essence or spirit that tempts and persuades us to cruel and selfish acts. Some believe that Evil is its own power, one that must be crushed and driven from the world. To those who eschew that belief, evil is a misnomer, a cartoonish way of describing a process. Some believe that strength and force are the only means of confronting evil, while others hold that if it can be dissected, and understood, that the roots of “Evil” can be treated or diagnosed before causing greater harm.

What is the nature of evil? Where does it come from? If a person does evil then we are left with but a few possibilities. That is, they are either seduced, are tricked, or are too weak to resist evil. If that is the case then someone or something ultimately must be responsible, and since the devil, or some dark specter, is not liable under the law we are left to judge the human perpetrator or accomplice to the evil act. If some one is under the influence of evil, is it something akin to a coercion, a trance or a drug? In that case, if they are control as if they were a puppet, are they truly laible for those actions? Finally we are left to ask if a person is evil? In which case they either succumb, fail to resist, or act upon that inherent evil quality. And who decides who is evil, partly evil, just a bit evil, and who is a bit good, partly good and good?

Does it require a catalyst, like a spark, or a particular environment to rage out of control? Can it be synthesized, controlled, vaccinated against or used commercially or for warfare? Some might argue that war is the attempt to harness evil for one side against the real or perceived or concocted evil of an enemy. Certainly the very word is a generic term, an umbrella word covering varied and even necessary evils. It also describes innocuous things, like an evil smell, and the like. Is sadistic evil different from abject evil, manipulative evil, genocidal evil and many others?

But the critical mind eschews the cartoonish conept of evil, which is all too easily  coward to in ignorance and fear. But the world is not trapped between light and dark, just as no person struggles with good and evil. We struggle against our inherent selfishness and the complex processes of our lives. Learning to comprehend the processes of the world leads to enlightenment and our best hope to one day intervene ahead of tragedies like that in Colorado. Failure to learn surrenders us to the control of those only too willing to manipulate our ignorances.

About 900poundgorilla

W.C. Turck is a Chicago playwright and the author of four widely acclaimed books.His latest is "The Last Man," a prophetic novel of a world ruled by a single corporation. His first novel, "Broken: One Soldier's Unexpected Journey Home," was reccommended by the National Association of Mental Health Institutes. His 2009 Memoir, "Everything for Love" chronicled the genocide in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo. His third book "Burn Down the Sky" is published exclusively on Amazon Kindle. It was in Sarajevo at the height of the siege where he met and married his wife, writer and Artist Ana Turck. FOX NEWS, ABC, CBS News, the Chicago Tribune and The Joliet Herald covered their reunion after the war. He helped organized relief into Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. Turck has been a guest on WMAQ-TV, WLS in Chicago, WCPT, WBBM radio, National Public Radio, Best Of the Left and the Thom Hartmann show. He has spoken frequently on Human Rights, Genocide and Nationalism. In 2011, his play in support of the Occupy Movement, "Occupy My Heart-a revolutionary Christmas Carol" recieved national media attention and filled theaters to capacity across Chicago. He remains an activist to the cause of human rights and international peace. View all posts by 900poundgorilla

2 responses to “Evil and the Colorado shooting

  • Brett Ashkey

    How very incorrect, and politically correct you are…. What occurred in Colorado is not about politics. To reduce this horrific incident to a mere matter of intellectual manipulation, and the need to spew forth over used rhetoric is reprehensible.

    There is such a thing as “evil;” and the act committed upon the innocents in Colorado was a wanton act of absolute evil. Your notion that evil “… is, at it’s core a lie,” or the insinuation that the perpetrator had no choice in the matter is inexpressibly arrogant. We humans choose to act for the betterment or the harm of others.

    Evil exists sir . . . and it requires a response. Ask the victims what they believe. Oh, and by the way, I am not a member of “the Right,” just a person who has seen the very evil side of humanity.

    I wish you well.

    • 900poundgorilla


      I appreciate that you took the time to read and to comment. let me be clear, my concept and views on evil are based upon my experiences on the frontlines during the Bosnian war as a witness to the genocide, as well as a relief organizer to Rwandan refugees during that Genocide. I have seen crime first hand, and currently am part of a housing and homeless assistance group in one of the most crime-plagued neighborhoods in Chicago. I don’t know your experience, but I take your word of having seen it as well, and won’t attempt to deny you your perspective.

      That said, I won’t retreat from my assertion that evil is, at its core, an absolute lie. In a world in which all truth seems in question, all the remains as a starting point to rebuild truth between people is the pain each of us carries, feels and recalls. That individual pain is truth to each of us. Denying the right of someone to feel pain, to negate or disregard that pain is a disregard for the truth of that individual.

      The ancients saw evil differently. In medieval times a natural catastrophe was considered evil, and until the early part of this century mental illness was viewed as evil. I believe we are in the twilight of that ignorance in usage of the concept and word “evil.” So clearly the definition, the boundaries of evil have been steadily eroded. That alludes to at least the possibility that the word and concept may be eroded further, and perhaps done away with. That we have learned that “evil” is not an earthquake, or that the devil is not in the body of a schizophrenic or a manic-depressive belies the ignorance we have overcome, and the opportunity to continue that growth. That political pundits and politicians, who know this, invoke “evil” so freely and resolutely indicates a manipulation on their part and an adgenda that wishes to frame all issues in simple cartoonism.

      “Evil” is a cartoon word. It isn’t fact. It is a dead end word that only maintains the ignorance of mankind, and affirms the foolishness those who would encourage the maintenance of that dead end concept that does not offer anything progressive to deeper understanding, stronger comprehension and perhaps future prevention without turning our streets into a Somalia-type nation of gun-toting civilians. And in a nation in which crime is actually lower now, per capita, compared with say, the good old 1950s, the necessity for that type of purely fear reaction is unproductive and foolish.

      Lastly, it is out of a very deep respect for those who were killed, wounded and those affected that I appeal for an intellectual ascension from this tragedy, and that a true and lasting means of prevention and understnding is forthcoming. Does that mean that justice should not be pursued in this case? Absolutely not. The guman has been removed from society and should remain that way, pursuant to the laws of the nation and the state of Colorado. As that system does what it is designed to do, we have a responsibility to the victims, to future victims and to mankind not to become a mob or retreat to ignorance out of fear, rage or both.

      I’ll use this for an article, as I believe readers will appreciate the contrast of opinions.

      WC Turck

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