I thought that this reader’s letter merited a response, and wanted to share it with all of you as it truly illustrates the gap to be bridged before we can ultimately begin addressing the actual issue…
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.
I appreciate that you took the time to read and to comment. Your passion is well noted. Passionate people allow for the greatest depth(and volume sometimes) in debate, and I believe offer the greatest opportunity for some ultimate accord.
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. If evil exists as this etherial sort of thing that possesses us(which would ultimately mean that we are not truly responsible, right?), I would have experienced it, but instead what I see are processes and the consequence of history. 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 look forward to hearing from you again.