Friday, August 22, 2008

Let me help you tie the rope around your neck

So I wrote this post about useless people and nurture vs. nature and inner darkness vs. the goodness of mankind, etc. Basically I’d had a bad day and needed to vent.

I’ve calmed down now (yeah, right), and figured I would continue that train of thought, especially since Joel went to such great lengths to comment.

I don’t believe that the inner core of humans is evil. Neither do I believe that it’s good. Beneath the veneer of civilization, we’re still animals, still the creatures that either hid in the shadows when the predators stalked by or planted our feet and fought, tooth and nail. That fight or flight reflex is still there, and it wakes up when we’re put in a situation that pushes us beyond the limits that we, and society, have set for ourselves.

Because of that, I remain convinced that every human being is capable of lethal violence. It doesn’t matter how much of a non-violent person you are, that primal reflex remains there, dormant.

That aside, I also believe some people are inherently evil. There are some atrocities that people commit that I simply cannot attribute to a messed-up childhood, or to the instinct for violence at our core. There are things that humans simply don’t do. And yes, I acknowledge that abuse or childhood trauma or whatever can make things worse, and probably shape someone who otherwise would have stopped at ripping the wings of insects into something far worse, and I even acknowledge that video games or movies or whatever intense experience there is out there, can act as something of a trigger, though not as a root cause. That, however, is a discussion for another day.

In Western society, we choose to meet such atrocities with prison time, and in some states in the US with the death penalty. I’m not an avid proponent of ending someone’s life, but in some cases, I actually see no other way out. This is not out of any biblical sense of an eye for an eye and all that nonsense. It’s simply because some people, that can no longer be called humans, simply don’t deserve to live.

Case in point: Andrei Chikatilo. This pathetic excuse of a man wanted the death penalty and got it. Can anyone argue that incarcerating him would have made more sense, or that therapy could ever have rehabilitated a man who murdered 52 people over 12 years? And ate some of them?

I claim to be an agnostic of some sort, but I sincerely hope that there’s some deep dark Hell where sadists like Chikatilo endure everlasting pain, or that nothing awaits them beyond death other than a cold lonely grave.

So yes. I’m in favor of killing people occasionally. Please argue with me.

1 comment:

Joel Eklund said...

Every one is, without a doubt, capable of horrible acts; I agree in full.

The "inherently evil" statement is... complicated. I either agree or disagree, depending on how we define evil =)

Very interesting.

"I claim to be an agnostic of some sort, but I sincerely hope that there’s some deep dark Hell where sadists like Chikatilo endure everlasting pain, or that nothing awaits them beyond death other than a cold lonely grave."

Yes, vengence, fine and understandable. But it's still reactive, rather than proactive. I want to promote change in the world.

Let's say that he could, against most odds, be somewhat changed with therapy. Not enough to stop urges completely, but to at least stop from killing people. I'm willing to bet my future wealth that his hypothetic situation will help at least one other person in a similar situation to how he was. Maybe someone less ruthless, but still. Someone, somewhere, might actually be affected in a good way from this, realising that they can get help (because, even if they want to do it, they probably also want to live in in peace in our society).

So hate, yes. But: if the deed is already done, the very least one could do is to take something good from it.
His death will help the victim's loved ones perhaps, yes. But not taking the chance to change the world to the better with him as an example? I see that as an utter affront to the memories of his victims. "Yes, we killed the guy who killed you, but similar things will probably happen again. Hopefully, we'll get the next one a bit earlier." OK, an exaggeration, shure, but that is my perspective.