Lance Scranton: On evil
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”― Edmund Burke
I’m certain nobody can really get to the specific mindset of a person who determines to plan and carry out the type of events that happened this past week in Texas and Ohio. We hear so much about disenfranchised youth and the factors that set in action the violence that takes the lives of people who are just living their lives. When evil pierces reality in the manner it did within twenty-four hours this past weekend, one really has to wonder.
The first thing we tend to do is to place blame because we can’t fathom that someone would privately and personally plan these types of shootings. Blame helps us feel better about the things we can’t control and helps us justify some of our preconceived notions about why people do the things they do to hurt and destroy the lives of people they don’t even know, or in one of the cases their own sister.
Evil acts that betray our sense of common decency and moral absolutes have been happening since the beginning of recorded history — and likely well before — but is evil just a part of our human nature? It does appear that some in our world decide that acts of violence are a solution to something that has gone wrong in their world or an answer to a problem most can’t conceive.
Human nature will get the best of each and every one of us if we aren’t careful and we let certain actions and thoughts begin to sound like really plausible ideas. If you’ve never had an evil thought or mentally planned the downfall of someone you disliked, congratulations. But to those of us acutely aware of our own shortcomings, it is the things we surround ourselves with on a daily basis that curb our basest desires and help keep us from going over to the dark side where mass shootings seem like a good way to get attention or exact revenge.
If there were a concrete reason for why people do the things they do to hurt others; we would be living in a different world. But, these senseless acts keep happening.
But, watching the images from the tragedies of this past weekend, hatred was met with love and sacrifice; people lining up to give blood, people offering water and food to those in need, people comforting the hurt, and people doing their best to bring light to the darkness.
What people decide to do in the face of evil sends the most powerful message and one that each one of us must determine for ourselves. Evil people are going to do evil things but what will we do in the face of this reality? Let our love for others and our care for those who have been victimized pierce the reality of evil and never allow hatred to destroy how we act toward those around us. It has always started with each one of us personally and privately to determine what we will do in this world to make it a better place.