Wednesday, April 4, 2018


Is there such a thing a bad person? When you examine the lives of those people who commit horrible crimes, Mark Anthony Conditt, the Austin Bomber, Nikolas Cruz, the Parkland shooter, Stephen Paddock, who committed the Las Vegas massacre which, with 58 deaths, made it the worst mass shooting in US history, Omar Mateen, the 29 year old security guard who was responsible for the murder of 49 at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Adam Lanza who shot 20 children at the Sandy Hook School in Newton Connecticut and Devin Patrick Kelley who was responsible for 26 deaths at the Sutherland Springs Baptist church outside San Antonio, you're more likely to think of mental illness than you are to make a moral judgment. If you're someone who lost loved ones in any of these tragedies or in say 9/11, you might not be interested in an analysis of motive. If the perpetrator had not only died at his or someone else’s hands you're either the kind of person who finds solace in justice, which means having the guilty person pay (perhaps with his or her life) or not. Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber was sentenced to life imprisonment in a Super maximum security prison which ended the threat he posed, but it’s hard to get one’s hands around whether he was or is the embodiment of evil. Are rats evil? Certainly the terrorists whose violence is committed in the name of millenarian ideologies seem closer to what might be called evil simply due to their indifference to human life. A terrorist with a reasoning mind seems worse than a person who's hearing voices. Maybe one way to look at serial killers is the way one does hurricanes and other natural disasters. In the way that global warming has caused environmental catastrophes like the melting of polar ice caps, so too genetic, social and psychological factors get unleashed which make innocent babies turn into bombers. Remember the famous scene from Alfred Hitchock’s Sabotage (1936) based on Conrad’s novel The Secret Agent about political extremism, in which a young boy is unwittingly turned into a bomber? How prescient the filmmaker turned out to be?

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