Evil Vs. Crazy
Posted on December 17, 2012Evil is back in the news. So is crazy.
Was Adam Lanza evil or crazy? Or both?
Sometimes it is hard to tell which is which.
Lanza, the Newtown killer, wasn’t crazy enough to be committed into an institution. He has been defined as having Asperger’s, a form of autism. But plenty of very respectable and highly functional people have Asberger’s, so that seem to be to be amateur psychology from the peanut gallery.
You can heal crazy. Evil is incorrigible.
I worked with a guy who was a pathological liar. He was evil incarnate, probably still is. He ripped people off, he lied, he bullied, etc. He was a bad guy. He ended up going to jail, but not for as long as he should have.
As my Pastor said on Sunday morning, evil is all around us.
Look on the Internet. There are scams ripping off old people, young people, naïve people, stupid people and smart people. You can find the worst kind of porn and the most disturbing violent images. And if you aren’t careful, you can get your identity stolen, your money taken, and your reputation ruined.
This is done by evil people, who want to profit, but many who do it for the sheer pleasure of it.
In the battle of good vs. evil, evil seems to be winning. I think there are more good people than evil people, but the evil people are better at being evil than the good people are at being good.
Our whole society is now being constructed to protect good people from evil people. We have to walk through TSA, take off our shoes and put all of our valuable possessions into a scanner to protect us from evil zealots.
These zealots probably think that they are doing Allah’s work, so maybe they aren’t evil, just crazy. But my guess is that they are both.
I don’t know why or how evil people become evil. Some of it must be learned behavior. Some of it might be hereditary. And some of it is just the luck of the draw.
We can’t drive out evil by creating more evil. At least not in the Christian ethic. An eye for an eye leaves everybody blind. Only love drives out evil. Or as Abraham Lincoln said once, the best way to destroy an enemy is to make him your friend (or something like that).
But sometimes you have to protect yourself from evil people. And sometimes making them your friend is not an option.
This is especially true if that evil person is also mentally ill.
There is a scientific term for somebody who is evil through a mental disorder. Sociopaths are like that. They are skilled liars who show no remorse for their actions.
It is awfully hard to cure a sociopath, mostly because they don’t want to be cured. It is awfully hard to make an evil person unevil because they like being evil.
Was Friday’s shooter evil or was he just crazy?
How do we drive evil out of the world or at least manage it better so it doesn’t kill 20 First Grade kids?
How to give love a fighting chance?
And how do we heal the profoundly disturbed and those kids who might very well be a danger to society?
I don’t know.