Evil


| 2 Comments

After talking to my friend last week who attends the University of South Carolina, I've been feeling a little down. One of her friends, Martha Childress, was shot last weekend. My friend Erin was with her five minutes before...Martha was there innocently waiting for her cab. Out of nowhere, she was shot 3 times and is now paralyzed from the waist down. The shootings resulted from local gang violence. Apparently one man was trying to shoot his opponent but ended up hitting Martha. Michael Juan Smith, the man who shot Martha, explained that he heard "taunts and the clicking of guns" around him, which is why he shot, hitting the unintended victim. Smith and his family have both apologized and expressed their deepest sorrow, apology and grief for the situation. However, for Martha and her family, that will never be enough. 

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Martha was shot in the spine, liver and kidney. The doctors have not yet been able to remove the bullet from her spine, the wound that paralyzed her. When she was shot, she immediately couldn't feel her legs, and after surgery, she told her parents the same thing. Luckily, for Martha, she is receiving the utmost support from family, friends, peers and pretty much everyone who has heard about the incident. She is staying positive and appreciating the endless support. To her glee, she actually received a phone call from Hunter Hayes wishing her well and telling her she's being prayed for. (She was at one of his concerts earlier that night) 

The reason this sparked me to blog is because I feel like so many terrible, manmade things have happened in the world within the past few years. Another more recent event that breaks my heart was the Nevada school shooting that occurred on Monday morning. In this tragic event, the shooter was 12-years old. He shot and killed his teacher, a former Marine, by the name of Michael Landsberry. The gunman was aiming at a peer named Jose Cazares when the teacher moved in between the students. Cazares reported to the news that the teacher remained calm, held out his hand and asked nicely for the shooter to give him the gun. The shooter said "NO!" and then shot and killed Landsberry. Afterwards, Jose and friends ran to hide, while crying. The gunman threatened to kill them all if he told anyone, and they promised they wouldn't. The gunman also injured two fellow classmates; the teacher was the only death. The students were shot in the abdomen and the shoulder, and both are being treated at Renown Regional Medical Center.

In terms of the gunman, he shot and killed himself with the same semiautomatic gun that he used to kill the teacher and injure classmates. Both the Christian Science Monitor article and the CNN article explain that the shooters motive is "unclear" and that it's too soon to tell. In my opinion, this tragedy isn't a coincidence that this school shooting happened less than a year after the Sandyhook Newtown, CT school massacre. In fact, a week before the shooting, the "shooter had researched the 1999 Columbine High School shooting rampage a week before he opened fire on his classmates."


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Ever since the tragic Newtown massacre...gun laws have been a massive debate. The Sandyhook Elementary School massacre that occurred on December 14th, 2012 was one of the saddest, heartbreaking pieces of news I had ever heard. The gunman entered the school at 9:30 am by shooting the lock on the school door. Between one kindergarten and one first grade classroom, he killed 20 students; he also killed 6 staff members in the school. The gunman, Adam Lanza, 20 years old, has also killed his mother that morning. One police and investigators began approaching Lanza took his own life with a handgun that he had with him. I don't understand how any human being could be so corrupt, careless and angry to commit such crimes. And that is what I wanted to look into today.

 

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There can be a lot of reasons why people are motivated to do evil. WikiHow explains that there can be several reasons why people do bad things. 

1. Current Mood/ Situation

2. Personality

3. Possible Motives

4. Their background

5. Genes

6. And sometimes other things

According to Townhall, people often feel bad for themselves, which drives them to do evil. The author of the article feels as though, the more people feel like a victim, the more apt they are to do evil. He explains that there are always victims of particular groups --like racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia classism, etc. However, making people actually feel like a victim of these groups in America is a "Sin" because it is likely to increase the amount of cruelty and evil in our country. 

Of course, if we have evil people in our society, we must know something about their personalities. One article by Robert Canup addresses the spectrum of evil and where certain evil personalities fall. He states that sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a good and an evil person because often the evil people's personalities echo those of a good person. As a general consensus, evil people are those who make life difficult, painful and unpleasant for others.

According to Robert, these people have a normal intelligence. They realize what the consequences and outcome will be from their evil, overall they are faster learners. Evil people of normal intelligence are so good at blending into society, that good people usually don't notice their type. In fact, Robert explains that most of the good people's stress comes from interactions with the evil people with a normal intelligence. The average evil person thrives off making the lives of those around them absolutely miserable

On the higher end of the evil spectrum are those who have an above intelligence. These people too have the goal of "human misery" for those around them. Since they have a higher level of intelligence, they thing more creatively than the normal intelligence evil do. For example, they see ways they can murder people, or have someone murdered and get away with it. The though process is actually quite sick. Robert explains that typically, in order to be successful in the murder...they must not care that they kill, how they kill them or when they kill them. The Newtown killer, Adam Lanza, might've been this type of evil had he pulled it off. But obviously there was no way that he wouldn't have gotten caught since it was in such a public place. Therefore, these above intelligent evil people make sure it seems like they killed the person "accidently." 

The final type of evil person has high intelligence, one that can pull off a murder. This type of person is one who rapes and kills women, for example. The people have such high intelligence that they can both cover the evidence and make themselves NOT look guilty. These people are truly awful individuals. Unfortunately for us good people, we have already and we will come across several evil people in our lives. Some more intense than others, like all of the evil and corrupt individuals I mentioned earlier in the post.


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So this leaves me with the unanswered question: does every good person have some evil and does every evil person have some good? This leaves me wondering why and how is it possible for good people to do bad/ evil things. Were they just caught up in the moment? Were they pressured? Did they want to get back at someone, etc. These are some of the questions that psychologists, scientists and society will probably never have answered. I personally feel, as though there is no generalization for this specific question, it is simply a case-to-case basis. However, I do believe that some people are born plain evil, like all of the criminals I talked about, and some are just flat out wonderful people. What type of person do you want society to view you as?


Sources:

http://www.wltx.com/news/article/253860/2/Gang-Law-Changes-Sought-After-USC-Student-Shot-Paralyzed

http://www.thestate.com/2013/10/15/3040611/usc-freshman-martha-childress.html

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/USA-Update/2013/1022/Nevada-school-shooting-slain-math-teacher-hailed-as-true-hero-video 

http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/21/justice/nevada-middle-school-shooting/

http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2012/12/us/sandy-hook-timeline/

http://users.hal-pc.org/~rcanup/evil.html

  

2 Comments

My best friend goes to USC as well and she was visiting here last weekend on her fall break and she told me the same story. She knew the girl that got shot and frequently waits at that spot for a cab as well so it really hit her hard. I really liked this post because I thought it was interesting how you analyzed why people do the horrible things that they do. It's terrifying to think that these things can happen anywhere at anytime to people that don't deserve it at all.

Oh man.. I am so sorry to hear that that happened to your friend's friend. It is such a tragedy to think that girl's life will be changed forever for such a stupid reason. I can't even stand to think about the guy that did this because as much as it was an accident he shot her, what did he think was going to happen?!! His aim was to get someone from the opposite gang and he would have caused just as much damage to their lives if he hit them, and it is just the ultimate tragedy that he mixed up a young girl with everything ahead of her in the mix.

Last year for CAS 100 I did my speech on the lack of mental health facilities and resources because of withdrawn and diminished government funding. I took CAS right around the time everyone was processing Sandyhook, and soon after, the Boston Marathon tragedy.

What I learned after doing all that research was that there is a HUGE mental health stigma in the United States. People don't like to talk about it, people are afraid of what it means to be mentally ill, and people don't understand it. Therefore, people who suffer from it and who cry out for help in the ways their brain is telling them to never get the help they need, and tragic events happen. In many ways, I agree with this article's statement that this country has a "mental health problem disguised as a gun problem" http://reason.com/archives/2013/09/22/better-mental-health-care-not-new-gun-la

However, I like that you chose to analyze what makes people do evil things, because not every murder or mass killing is because the person doing the shooting is mentally ill.

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