Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Evil vs. Sick

A Facebook friend of mine posted on the Ottawa killer.  This is what he commented:  


"OK. I am going to put this out there and take the abuse that is inevitably going to come.
The definition of Terrorism:
1. the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.
2. the state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization.
It does not matter if was done for political, religious, mental-illness or desperation reasons. If you walk up to an unarmed soldier and kill him, point-blank, then run into the seat of Canadian democracy, looking to do who-knows-what......you are a terrorist. Why? Because your goal is to Terrorize. To get the maximum effect by striking fear into as many people as possible, to bring attention to whatever you want to bring attention to.

Now, let's stop trying to "define" what this murderer was."

I commented the following:

"He was an addict. To be an addict, you cannot be a stable individual. He was very obviously mentally ill, but that doesn't mean he also wasn't a terrorist and murderer. "Mental illness" is not an excuse. But perhaps if our system was different, he would have been safe in an institution instead of homeless and able to obtain arms."

And then someone else posted this:


"He was stable enough to work at Fort Mc Murray and make lots of money and the video he left shows it was politics and islam behind his murder plans. If we can admit that there are people who are simply evil in this world...and they enjoy doing unthinkable things to innocent victims, then we might be able to counteract what they do before they do it. Finding an excuse for their evil makes it more palatable for some so that they can handle the results"

This is a very dangerous place to go - if you agree that there are evil people in the world, you are stepping into the place where your religion is fighting another's religion.  But who decides on who is evil?

There are people who do bad things in the world.  There are usually different impetuses behind each one.  Our legal system is designed to help take care of that.  It isn't perfect, but it works pretty well most of the time.  

Just because one nut-job went on a rampage does not mean that all "evil" people must be killed.  It's ridiculous.  And although this man may have been mentally ill, it does not forgive his action of killing someone.  Still a murderer.  Still a terrorist.  But maybe he could have been helped before he became either.

Here was my reply to the "people are evil" guy:

"We can choose to live in a world where we see some people as evil, or we can choose to live in a world where we see some people as sick. In one case we kill them (but who decides this?). In the other case we treat them or keep them locked up and unable to harm themselves (but again, who decides this?). We currently do the best we can, but occasionally something bad happens. I don't personally want to live in a world where we have a witch-hunt happening to track down "evil" people. I'd much prefer to live in a world where we are trying to help people. In neither case will we ever stop all violence."

Bad things will happen.  We can't stop them all.  We can only do the best we can do.


P.S. - Someone left a comment (that I did not publish) saying that he (the commenter) smoked, which is an addiction, so obviously I thought he would be a terrorist, too.  Please don't comment on the posts unless you can add something helpful.  This man was addicted to heroin and was homeless.  He was kicked out of his mosque onto the street and was on the terrorist watch list.  He had some very serious problems.  I don't consider an addiction to alcohol, food or shopping to mean that you are mentally ill.  But you might want to consider why you need to smoke.  However, had the shooter had some care from the community, he might (and I do say MIGHT) have been more stable and not felt the need to kill someone.  And this guy also commented that this was left-wing drivel.  Well, I'm very left-wing - you can expect that viewpoint from me.  But I don't consider it drivel.  Of course, if you attack me, you're not going to get a conversation out of me, and that's why I didn't publish his comment.  I retain the right not to publish a comment, and you retain the right not to read my blog.

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