Let’s Not Conflate “Sick” and “Evil”

Let’s Not Conflate “Sick” and “Evil” November 1, 2017
sick or evil
Evil people need to be removed from society

There’s a big difference between sick and evil. Time to stop conflating the two and stop excusing the inexcusable.

Yesterday, an evil man drove a truck through a bike path in New York City, colliding with a school bus in the process. Many killed, more injured in a scene of stomach-churning carnage.

The President calls the perpetrator “sick and deranged.” Wrong. The perp is evil. And there’s a difference.

When we label people sick, we infer that some of their actions may be attributed to external forces, be they bacterial or different brain chemistry or whatever. We suggest they may not have full responsibility for their behaviors. It’s someone or something else’s fault. They are victims of forces beyond their control.

When we label people evil, we acknowledge that in one way or another, such ones have done acts that intentionally hurt others or bring destruction to property or the environment.

They are two different things. I have many “sick” friends, friends whose bodies and brains demand extra attention, or special medications or devices, or that mean they see or hear or perceive things differently from the more “normal” person. But none of them do acts of intentional evil toward others.

Evil people, however, may look and sound and perceive things with “normality” but then go forth to murder or kill or maim or steal or torture or blow up the lives and possessions of others.

That’s the case with the Las Vegas shooter, with the NYC truck driver, with people who walk into schools and shoot children, with terrorists who blow up buildings and strap explosives to unwilling couriers. That’s the case with rapists, with serial sexual predators— ridiculous to suggest they don’t know what they are doing—with kidnappers, with totalitarian leaders who refuse to be questioned or be held accountable for their actions and words.

We must care for the sick. That’s what a well-functioning society does.

And we must not excuse the evil among us or give them space to use the “I can’t help it I’m sick” excuse. Let us take steps to remove the truly evil from society in a way that they can no longer harm others. For them, I have no sympathy. They choose it. They pay the consequences.

Enough with the “sick and deranged” business. People who do these kinds of acts are just plain evil. And evil must be stopped.

sick and evil
Evil people need to be removed from society
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  • neil allen

    Evil is the Catholic Church running the largest organized pedophile mafia in
    American history, and using the name “God’s church” to get away with
    it, and then lying about it, hiding the truth, and showing the world
    what the devil would do.

    They hid 271 pedophile priests in Boston alone, who raped thousands of children,
    which Jesus said was unforgivable in Matthew 18:6-14.

    The Catholic Church is organized “evil”.

    • northernspiderqueen

      I take your point, but it’s important to realize, I think, that it has not been, and is not, only the Catholic Church, among “religious” institutions, which has been guilty of these crimes.

      • Mark

        You need to know that his name is not really “Neil Allen”. It’s Patrick O’Malley. He just hides under that name to insult Catholics and the Catholic Church. Trust me, I have been on the receiving end of his insults many times. He even blames me for the suicide of abuse victims of my diocese when it couldn’t possibility be my fault because I did not know what was happening.

        • northernspiderqueen

          Thank-you–I’ll watch out for him in future.

        • neil allen

          Mark is a pedophile defender for his lord, helping to bully dozens of child rape victims in Australia into suicide.

          He has always made excuses for Catholic pedophilia, and has strongly defended his pedophile church LONG after he knew that the church was an organized child rape club, BRUTALLY defying Jesus in Matt 18:6-14, and long after he knew that the victims were committing suicide.

          Mark was bullied as a child because he didn’t fit in, and now he will bully others to get revenge, as the devil wants him to do, BRUTALLY defying Jesus in Matt 18:6-14.

  • Tom Murdock

    We are all made in God’s image, or aren’t we? Let’s focus on the behavior and the societal forces that influence and allow God’s creatures to commit horrible crimes. In a country where slavery and Jim Crow has been encouraged to exist, let’s think more of the causes and less of the evilness in all of us. Protection of society for this behavior is a different issue.

  • northernspiderqueen

    I’m so heartened by seeing someone else talking about the same issue I’ve been going on about for nearly ten years. I was working in mental health at a system level, and some bad action that someone with a mental illness caught my eye in the media–the day after our Prime Minister passed yet another monstrous piece of legislation. People in media comments sections, who were awed and dismayed at the extent of this man’s brainless, harmful, manipulative, and cynical processes and outcomes, were saying that he must be mentally ill. And that rocked me. And distilled the difference for me.

    No-one chooses to be mentally ill. Mental illness, by definition, means that one’s judgement is impaired, and that one cannot be held accountable for one’s actions. One can receive treatment–“cures” are rare, but possible, and improvement is very possible.

    Someone who is evil chooses their actions, consciously, They are aware of the consequences, for others, of their actions, and choose those actions regardless of those consequences, of the pain they will cause. It’s a question of intent, of willed and conscious malice. In all my reading in the field, I’ve not found anything that identifies any way that the behaviour of someone who is “evil” can be modified. I am still, generally, strongly opposed to the death penalty–except for people like this. Serial killers (Clifford Olsen, Paul Bernardo, Robert Pickton). Serial child abusers. When the evidence is clear, and repeated, I see no reason for them to continue to consume the earth’s resources. Devote those resources instead to the people they have harmed. I haven’t read her (yet), but I’m sure Sister Helen Prejean would disagree. That’s where I am, however.