Essay: Evil Lurks in the Hearts and Minds of Men

by Dave Hood

In Montreal, a man, angry with his male lover, ties him up, tortures and dismembers him, tosses the torso into the garbage, and  then mails other body parts to various people. He also films the killing and then posts it on the Internet.  It’s like the plot of one of Edgar Allen Poe’s short stories.

A week or so later, a man enters the Eaton Center, one of the biggest malls in Canada, stalks his victim, then takes out a gun and shoots, spraying bullets everywhere, leaving one unidentified man dead and seven others seriously injured from the stray bullets. It’s like scene from a James Patterson novel.

What sort of person commits such a heinous crime? Is the killer deranged? Is he a sociopath, without a sense of right and wrong? Are these men mentally ill? Do they have brain damage? How could anyone commit such despicable, depraved crimes against another human being? The vast majority of people find these crimes reprehensible, a sad commentary on how some act as though they are possessed by evil.

In today’s Toronto Star, the editorial reads, ” One Idiot With A Gun.”  In other words, the killer is an idiot who lacks common sense. This is true. And yet, many people lack common sense, but don’t load a gun and then shoot people in a public place.

Part of the problem is that unstable people have access to illegal guns, smuggled in to Canada by organized crime from the United States. Part of the problem is the hatred between various gangs in the city.

The most significant reason  is that evil lurks in the hearts and minds of some men. These men have no sense of the sanctity of human life, and they are sociopaths who don’t feel guilty about harming other human beings.

The Buddhist perspective suggests that all men are loving and compassionate. They suggest that each of us “Awaken the Buddha Within”, and reveal the compassion and love in our hearts. I don’t believe this is true. Some people, like Bin Laden, Hitler, Mao, Stalin, and these killers are just evil. They are people who are incapable of expressing love and compassion, and conducting themselves in a civilized manner.

Like Hobbe’s view on human nature, I believe that all men are beasts who must be socialized to follow the rules, laws, and values of the society in which they live, or they’ll be punished by society. And yet, some people don’t follow the rules and laws of society. Instead, they are ruled by the evil impulses that lurk in their hearts and minds.


About Dave Hood

Lover of poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction. Professional photographer and writer. Without the arts, life would be rather mundane, like a walk down the same old path on a dull day.
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