A Sick Society

I came across this post on WordPress’ Tag Surfer and it really set me off on a rant. The blog’s owner apparently dislikes dissenting opinions and deleted my comment, so I’ll quote him verbatim below and add my commentary.

Mental Illness in America II

December 14, 2007 by nightbird16

Just a week ago, Richard Dawkins, a distraught and mentally ill teenager in Colorado, shot eight shoppers. Sunday morning, another young mentally disturbed young man, Matthew Murrey, shot five members of a missionary training center and church, also in Colorado. Although a few years older than Richard, Matthew exhibited the same symptoms of an isolated, depressed and failure-plagued young person: relationship problems with parental figures, isolated from possible friends his own age, feeling a failure and abused, and at last hearing voices in his mind, he struck out at a christian community he felt had rejected and let him down.

His parents chose to take him out of the public school to home school him in a strict Christian fashion, which he resented because it deprived him of opportunities to make friends. He felt unable to live up to the strict behaviorial standards set for him by his parents and fundamentalist theology and that plunged him into a deep and suicidal depression. His parents put him on medication to control the depression, but that apparently didnt help. He sought aid from church and missionaries, and they too failed to heal his panic and suffering.

Finally, he armed himself with an assault rifle, handguns and 1000 rounds of ammunition and went to take revenge on a Christian community which he could not join and could not escape.

Guns and mental illness is a fatal combination, but parents and church must share responsibility for what happened. Without support and effective counseling, many teens fall by the wayside in America. And the story looks dreadfully similar: isolation, failure, unrelenting pressure and control leads to tragedy again and again. When something goes wrong, parents blame the wrong crowd. The church blames evil values. Politicians blame evil children.

I blame a sick society that devours its own children.

Yes, Nightbird16, America suffers from a sick society. That sickness is manifest in the people that put on their oh-so-comfortable blinders and claim any sort of evil or selfishness as an illness. Evil exists! Selfishness, Evil’s bastard spawn exists! They don’t magically go away because people mislabel them as some sort of illness, or blame them on society.

Dawkins and Murrey were a pair of selfish, self-centered losers who wanted to die in a blaze of fame and supposed “glory” – nothing more. They weren’t mentally ill; they were evil, selfish and useless. Do their parents share the blame for that? Yes, they raised a pair of misborn freaks who turned to evil. Does society share them for that? Only insofar as it doesn’t have an effective means of culling such human trash before they can harm others.

It’s is decades past time for America to start forcing people to be responsible for their own choices and their own actions. It is decades past time to stop excusing the criminal and evil behavior of individuals because we’re too cowardly to look evil in the face and pull the trigger.

I blame it on a sick society who’s too afraid to face evil.

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10 Responses to “A Sick Society”

  1. Jamelle Says:

    “Dawkins and Murrey were a pair of selfish, self-centered losers who wanted to die in a blaze of fame and supposed glory – nothing more. They werent mentally ill; they were evil, selfish and useless. Do their parents share the blame for that? Yes, they raised a pair of misborn freaks who turned to evil. Does society share them for that? Only insofar as it doesnt have an effective means of culling such human trash before they can harm others.”

    And this is the problem with simply labeling individuals “evil.” It dehumanizes them, and more importantly, prevents us from seeing that their desires and their actions are fundamentally human.

    Killing innocent people is wrong, but it is possible to understand why someone would do that, and understanding is really the only to prevent these things from happening. Pretending that those actions are inhuman only serves to heighten are surprise when they do, and deludes us into thinking that we would never do the same.

    I do think there exists evil, and I think those acts were evil, but I don’t think the individuals were evil.

  2. nightbird16 Says:

    Thanks for your second post, jonolan. I was sort of taken back by your first “ranting” post. I thought maybe I’d hooked up with a “crazy.” But you have your point of view.

    I’ve seen too many young people turn dark and self destructive from bullying, rejection by kids, violence in gangs, rape, kidnapping, perverts kidnapping, using and killing small children, and kids killing kids for no reason whatsoever. I’ve seen too many parents who become parents not knowing how to be parents or handle their children’s problems or crises. I’ve seen too many people who didn’t want to be bothered unloading on kids who couldn’t handle their lives, manage relationships, meet expectations, handle their sexuality. I’m tempted too to point my finger at kids doing ridiculous acts like these. Kids are not equipped to handle overwhelm, and parents are too often not equipped to handle kids in overwhelm.

    Are they responsible for what they do? Certainly. No question. I’d like to see these issues handled before they get to the point when the guns come out though. In the end, I see these situations as a preventable tragedy and not as “evil” in the person. The evil was done when nothing was done to prevent this.

    You are right though. It IS best to be up front and discuss our disagreements…if that is what we have. Actually, you sound like a worldly and experienced person.

  3. expatbrian Says:

    Jonolan, amen. Jamelle, you’re in a dream world if you think that some people are not inherently evil. They are. Talk to Mark Klass about the bastard that raped and killed his daughter and then in court actually said that she had told him, before he killed her, that her daddy molested her. That is a purely evil man.
    It is time to stop making excuses and take action, swift and decisive against criminals and killers. It’s pretty obvious that current policy is not working. You live in the most violent first world country on earth. Ask yourself why.

  4. jonolan Says:

    Jamelle, Welcome back 🙂

    I believe that describing individuals as evil doesn’t dehumanize them – except to the people who refuse to accept that evil is a human trait. I believe labeling them as sick actually dehumanizes them more, since we do not expect the ill to be responsible and treat them as their illness rather than as a person.

    Nightbird16, Welcome to Reflections From A Murky Pond 🙂

    Yeah, my first comment on your blog was a “rant”; the tendency for people to blame wrong or evil behaviors on mental illness or a societal sickness sets me off like a bomb. Sorry.

    I’ve seen a lot of people turn to darkness as well. I don’t think that’s indicative of a sickness. I think it’s indicative of poor choices, weakness of will, and a desire to blame someone or something – anything – for their problems.

    I’d like to point out that I’m not talking about self destructive individuals. Such behavior may be weakness or actually illness. I’m talking about people like Dawkins and Murrey who weren’t satisfied with harming themselves, or even just people who had specifically harmed them, but chose to go on a killing rampage instead. The evil wasn’t the suicidal depression; it was the decision to try to slaughter other people as well.

    A killing spree isn’t a cry for help; it’s a selfish power trip rooted in evil.

    Brian, welcome back again 🙂

    I’ve already asked myself why – answered myself to some extent in this post as well. My belief is that part of the reason America is so violent is that we equate antisocial and/or evil behavior with mental illness. We’re no longer willing to demand that people be responsible for themselves.

  5. Steph Says:

    I agree. It annoys me to hell all these charlatans passing off wickedness, as a sickness; it’s not.

  6. Christy Says:

    Jonolan,

    Thanks for the post.

    Were no longer willing to demand that people be responsible for themselves.

    Exactly.

    And while there are those out there who are mentally ill, there are others who choose, as you and others have pointed out, to carry out evil intentions and who are not some poor byproduct of actions done to them – we choose how to respond in life, and we may have a more rough time to work through things than others, but ultimately, we still are responsible for our behavior.

    I am exasperated at those who are so quick to remove individual responsibility from the shoulders of ourselves, of others’. Yeah, life is messed up and sometimes we face things we should never, ever have had to face, but difficulties, pain, and brokenness do not give us a free pass to wreck havoc on whomever we please as a result. We do not have carte blanche to do whatever we will, nor should we make excuses for others when they do so. That kind of thinking only further spawns irresponsibility – we want to blame everyone else but ourselves for our actions, and we’re just as willing to excuse others, saying effectively, “poor baby.”

    There is evil, there is wickedness, and some people choose both. Let’s start calling a spade a spade.

  7. jonolan Says:

    Amen – So Mote it Be, Christy.

    The “poor baby” isn’t so cute in his pathos when he’s on a killing spree.

  8. Christopher Says:

    Jonolan,

    Wow, the feathers were really ruffled, huh! Just wanted to add an additional thought to “I blame it on a sick society whos too afraid to face evil.”

    I’m not so sure that part of the problem is a society that’s afraid to face evil,as much as it is a society that has just accepted and, or embraced evil as the norm, thus embracing evil period.

    Evil covers a wide area indeed, but I myself view even some of the “minor” evils such as borderline soft-core porn on TV, the glamorization of violence in some of the music that permeates the culture, to the commonplace practice of verbal, psychological & physical disrespect to one another in movies and via the internet as both signs and contributors to the moral decay of society.

    It’s not all just media mind you, and it certainly is not a reason to excuse nor rationalize why anyone would kill, mame, abuse or degrade another human being; however these venues do seem to both set as a precedence & reflect an increasing attitude within society to devalue one another.

    As you eluded to in another comment; some people gravitate toward evil, some love evil (slaves to the “flesh”). Ultimately it comes back to Biblical truths about the corrupt & sinful nature of man as expressed in Galations 5:19-21 (KJV):

    “19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such…”

    Too much anger and not enough love.

  9. jonolan Says:

    Christopher,

    Obviously we’re going to disagree on some of the specifics – especially if you’re going to invoke Galatians 5:20 😉 I’m Pagan and therefor practice what Christians refer to as witchcraft.

    That point aside, you have a valid point in that evil or wickedness may be being accepted and embraced by modern society. I think though that this acceptance is based on being afraid to confront evil. If you can’t beat them, join them.

  10. Brett Clements Says:

    I agree evil exists. How do we define evil. Somewhere lies a standard. My standard is the HOly Bible. We do not get to choose as individuals what is evil. If we try we will be forced to allow all things to be relevant to the person doing the perceived evil.To a rapist he thinks he needs what he takes. Therefore in his eyes he is justified. To understand evil exists is to have conviction. Something must drive that conviction. Without it we would all be numb and live the life of survival of the fittest and every man/woman for his/her self. If evil exists somewhere lies the standard. The standard to measure evil comes from a source. What is that source for you?

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