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.
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.