Question of the Day: Does Irredeemable Evil Exist? If So, Are You Ready to Confront It?

We know evil exists. The 13-year-old chronicled in the video above, a teen who shot his great grandmother in cold blood, proves the point. Or does it? Some say “evil” is an outdated religious concept; the murderer’s upbringing led to the tragedy. Others contend that killers like this suffer from a genetic disorder; they’re sociopaths or psychopaths. Some reckon it’s a combination of the two.

Those who hold these opinions usually argue that violent people can be cured. Do you buy that?

The alternative: there are “truly evil people” in this world. Completely, irredeemably, selfishly, violently amoral people — who need to be put down like rabid dogs.

If you hold that opinion, forget about capital punishment. Are you ready to terminate an evil person who poses an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death? Would you hesitate to pull the trigger and/or feel remorse? If you wouldn’t, what does that say about you? I’m not trolling. I’d really like to know.

comments

  1. avatar Don says:

    Bad people that kill good people without remorse are permanently broken. Recycling is the only answer.

  2. avatar Doc Samson says:

    I have spent most of my adult life (almost 30 years now) working with teens in one capacity or another. It doesn’t happen often, but I have come across a few who had no regard for anything other than satisfying their own desires, regardless of the consequences. Does absolute evil exist? Absolutely. I’ve never been put into a life and death situation but I tell myself I could take a life and not feel burdened by it if I felt it was justified.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      For 3 years after my first retirement I drove a “cage car” for a para transit company. Went to secure facilities and transported people that couldn’t be transported safely in normal cars.

      I encountered 1 boy at age 11 who I transported thru age 13. That kid was pure evil. If he’s ever allowed in society unsupervised he will make Dahmer look normal.

      The last time I carried this kid he attacked me. As I was loading him in the car. He went straight for my eyes in an attempt to blind me. Only his inexperience saved me from serious injury.

      He was a fire starter, animal torturer and god only knows what else. If he hasn’t already killed someone it’s just a matter of time.

  3. avatar Alex Waits says:

    Sure. Not a hard decision, don’t bring violence upon me and mine, and you won’t get dead.

  4. avatar Renner says:

    Anyone that carries a lethal weapon for self defense had better be able to answer that question in the affirmative. As far as feeling remorse, I think its difficult not to second guess yourself from the standpoint of wondering whether you could have avoided the outcome.

    1. avatar Jonathan says:

      The question you need to answer is this person a threat to me or a 3rd party under a reasonable person standard.

      1. avatar JSW says:

        “…is this person a threat to me under ‘reasonable person’ standard?…”

        Uh, yes, that’s why I’ve drawn a bead on his forehead.

    2. avatar bLoving says:

      The problem, as I see it, isn’t a matter of “can this person who is behaving evily be redeemed?” Given sufficient time and therapy I’d guess darned near anyone can change their evil ways.
      The problem is: I have neither the time nor the training to help this slob with his psychological and emotional problems before he kills me – so I’ll use a gun instead and just feel a bit weird about it for a few days.

  5. avatar Noishkel says:

    A bullet; if it comes to do actual evil. Otherwise it’s just words, so then nothing.

  6. avatar Swilson says:

    It would be hard to believe there are truly good people and not to believe that there are also truly evil people. If you are someone who would rape another or kill another to take their stuff you are an evil person and you deserve no sympathy regardless of the why or how you became that way. You deserve extreme violence to eliminate you from ever being able to commit those sins again. I would lose no sleep.

  7. avatar kevin says:

    It doesn’t matter. We defend against or punish people for what they do, not who they “are” or what they think. Are they “evil?” Who cares? Its what they do that matters.

    1. avatar Don says:

      ^^ This….

    2. avatar DrewR says:

      I agree. If someone is trying to harm me or those I care about I couldn’t care less why they are doing so. If the guy breaking into my house is doing so to steal money for food it is no different than if he is stealing money for drugs, he is a threat and will be pacified. I would feel no remorse no matter what the circumstances were. If he needed food he could have asked, and I would have given what I could. As soon as he tries to take something, however, he has proven himself a danger to me and mine and I will respond with whatever means necessary to eliminate the threat.

    3. avatar Cliff H says:

      1. When confronted by evil it makes absolutely no difference it’s source. Considerations such as that may cause you to hesitate, and die.

      2. Many, possibly most, “mental health professionals” are desperately searching for something to make them relevant in the present society. To date the only thing they have come up with is to prescribe potent psycho-active drugs. These are NOT CURES. They treat symptoms and only work so long as the person keeps taking them, which is not a guarantee unless they are under close supervision.

      3. However a person comes to present a threat of evil to society it is clear that in a majority of cases once this happens they cannot be “cured”. I reference the high rate of recidivism in the criminal justice system and the noted above inability of the professionals to actually cure anything. Want more proof – watch a few episodes of “Hoarders”. They always bring on some psychologist or other professional to help and the struggle is seldom successful. Even when they clear up the mess the hoarding issue almost always returns at some point.

  8. avatar Rokurota says:

    Practically, it doesn’t matter. Whether you’re evil, misguided, or the product of a broken home, if you intend to do me or others harm, I’m going to stop you, with a JHP if necessary.

  9. avatar samuraichatter says:

    If you don’t believe evil exists what will it take? How many sorted tales from human history must their be to convince a person that evil is real? It is dogma, religious or otherwise, that convinces people that it doesn’t; base survival instincts alone are enough to convince most who are otherwise unindoctrinated that evil is indeed real. The naive optimism that (some) human beings possess scares the crap out of me . . . ρυσαι ημας απο του πονηρου

  10. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Yes. Evil people exist. I’ve seen quite a few. Even got to interview a serial killer. That was some scary sh!t.

    1. avatar -Peter says:

      Wow. Yep, that guy needs a bullet.

  11. avatar Bosko says:

    Evil not only exists, it is alive and well and breeding like cockroaches.

  12. avatar Gov. William J. Le Petomane says:

    Just my outlook, but there is evil and there is wickedness. The guy that mugs you or sells drugs on the street is wicked. The fact that he has no regard for others makes him wicked. The term ‘evil’ I reserve for those who make me question if they are even committing their crimes of their own volition or if they serve a higher power (wittingly or not). I don’t believe for instance that a whole nation can commit itself to the extermination of an entire race of people because someone comes along who is a good orator and tells them to do it. I believe that people can be lazy, selfish, godless and wicked but not evil. That said I have little sympathy for the wicked and I see no alternative when faced with evil than to eliminate evil’s instrument(s).

  13. avatar Justin says:

    I’m not religious in any way shape or form and I still think there are people who are Irredeemably evil. I don’t care why they are that way be it their childhood, their brain chemistry, whatever.

    I’m not going to have a debate with an individual who is a threat to my life or the lives of my family. I’m not going to give them a pass and let them do harm because they didn’t get enough hugs as a child or they lived in poverty and now they take whatever they want even if they have to kill to do it.

    I may feel sorry for the individual after the threat has been neutralized or seek out a reason for their actions but in the monument it’s clear cut, threat and response. I’ll deal with any guilt or remorse after the danger has passed.

  14. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    Yep. This is a case where self-termination would be greatly appreciated. I hate to say it but this individual is not really human.

  15. avatar Weylon says:

    I think all your above scenarios are possible and true. And I believe that many people can be redeemed and that it is our duty to rehabilitate those that can be. Kids that grew up abused, or in a war zone like Chiraq, or were however damaged as children deserve love and to be shown a different way.

    And there are the irredeemable. Sociopaths or psychopaths can’t be changed, it is in the wiring of their brain. We have a moral obligation to keep these people from hurting anyone, and I personally think the death penalty is far more humane than life in prison. We have to forgive these people, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be executed. We can’t murder someone for revenge, that only causes damage to ourselves. You can still be compassionate and understand that to protect ourselves and everyone else we may have to kill. Then there are people who kill for greed. They fall into the “Completely, irredeemably, selfishly, violently amoral people” category. The death penalty is a punishment to hopefully dissuade those people.

    Every single person is different and unique, the problem is far more complex and nuanced than as stated in your question.

    To answer your last question, I have a permit and have carried every day for over a decade. I practice religiously. And to stop someone “who poses an imminent, credible threat of grievous bodily harm or death” I would not hesitate or have remorse.

    Thank you for posting a thoughtful and interesting question.

    1. avatar pcb_duffer says:

      I hope, should the circumstances ever arise, that I will act without hesitation. I also hope that afterwards I’m alive to feel some remorse. I believe that that’s what differentiates the Normals from the psychopath / sociopath / evil.

    2. avatar JSW says:

      Excellent, Weylon.

  16. avatar DaveL says:

    Some things don’t follow here. If somebody’s violent tendencies are the product of, say, early childhood environment, that doesn’t mean they can be ‘fixed’. Just because we know your tuna fish sandwich went bad because you left it outside in a mud puddle all day, doesn’t mean I can fix it for you.

  17. avatar More Dead Soldiers says:

    Yes. Most of them work in government.

  18. avatar neiowa says:

    Does Irredeemable Evil Exist?

    Obviously and I voted against her in Nov16 (and Nov 2008/12).

    1. avatar Don says:

      ^^ FTW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. avatar strych9 says:

    The folks that see “evil” as an outdated religious concept are not very familiar with English and therefore think only of the noun in a supernatural context (it has others) rather than evil as an adjective. Perhaps modern usage is imprecise.

    As for my personal opinion, yes, for lack of a better term “evil” does exist in human interaction. Just look at the ISIS guy yesterday saying that he raped 200+ Iraqi women and that this is a “normal” thing that “young men need”. I can’t think of a better word for that than “evil” but perhaps that’s because English, or my understanding of it, is too limited. I mean “heinous” and “malevolent” come to mind, but while these words are not lacking in panache, they don’t really encapsulate how fucked up what that guy is doing/saying really is quite as well.

    As for confronting it, well if the folks who see it as a religious concept were right then I probably would have some serious questions. People aren’t an entity I fear but a dragon, a demon, a ginormous spider the size of a VW or something… yeah bumping into that might make me scream like a school girl and run away. The spider definitely would.

    As to whether or not those people who engage in evil behavior are irredeemable… I don’t know. I’m probably not qualified to make that judgement. What qualifies as “redeemed” after someone has committed truly despicable actions that lack any semblance of a moral or ethical rationale? In order to know if someone was redeemable we’d first have to have an agreed to standard on what action(s) and/or contrition would qualify someone as “redeemed” and then we’d have to see if said person could meet those standards. These are words I think we use far too cavalierly (looking at you Mrs. Clinton) without pausing to really reflect on what we’re actually talking about.

    Personally, I think that we, as humans, sometimes don’t crave any form of justice or corrective action but rather we often prefer a form of retribution. For example: while Ted Bundy certainly wasn’t a nice guy and probably was wired in a way that “corrective action” [Insert joke about wiring him correctly in the electric chair here.] wasn’t really possible I can’t agree with the people who celebrated his death nor can I agree with those who said it was “necessary”. If someone tells me Bundy “had to die” for his crimes I simply ask “Why?” and I’ve never gotten a rational answer. While I can empathize to a degree with the people who say they’re relieved when the killer of their family member is put to death I also recognize that such an emotional response is to the anger they feel towards the killer and therefore isn’t a really much of a justification for killing said killer. There’s a large conversation here about lethal force that I won’t get into.

    So, for me it comes down to this: If someone is a credible and eminent threat to your safety, or the safety of another person in your vicinity, use whatever force is necessary up to and including assisting the BG in shuffling off this mortal coil. Short of that on a personal level you’ve got no business getting involved. This gets a bit more complicated when you get into larger groups of people, existential threats to groups etc. but I don’t really think that’s within the scope of today’s question.

  20. avatar Joe R. says:

    ABOVE ALL we can know GOD, the ALMIGHTY FATHER, CREATOR of Heaven
    and Earth, and all that is visible and invisible because HE alone creates all from nothing, order from chaos [1][2].
    We can know Man, Mankind, ourselves, for we cannot make anything, or bring into order anything from that which is not already made, or in possession of an order already assigned by GOD.
    We can also know evil then because evil can only destroy (bring “Ruin”) [3], and will only be found working to bring about chaos (the end of everything). . . . It is not enough to say that Man has a nature, like every other living thing, and that when we act against that nature, which is beholden to Societal Agreement [10], under GOD, we have given ourselves over to something that we are not.
    Though we commonly acknowledge and consider animus, it is also true that both the faithful, and those professing atheism or agnosticism alike are not strangers to citing “divine intervention”, if not for any other reason than incomprehensible circumstances or behaviors.
    Of our species, it is fair to say that, while evil is something apart from Man [11], we are the sole (species) possessor of it. We alone do for it, what it cannot do alone.
    So we ponder then, is evil in pursuit of us to do its bidding because we alone can? Is evil settling for the only movable agent that is weak enough that it can subdue, or, most importantly, is evil here solely to destroy Man?
    Regardless of which selection you make from the above choices it is logical, for your minimum level of Security [12], to employ a two-prong Clausewitz-ian [13] strategy, in developing a defense. First by considering that 1) the best strategy is always to follow your first instinct until you are certain that you are incorrect, and 2) that never can it be assumed that a possible adversary is interested in anything other than your immediate and total destruction, and
    that a hope for a negotiated peace is devoid of anything of any promise. To which the author also humbly adds: to that which can be labeled “enemy” should always (regardless of any and all other contrary experience) also be labeled focused, tireless, fearless, insidious, fathomless, relentless and hungry.
    Thereby, we re-approach the three possibilities above out of necessity and say ALL may be true. So, we return to the first question above:
    “Where then is the seat of evil; where lies the antithesis of all that evil is not.” [J.M. Thomas R., TERMS, 2012, Pg. 180-182]

    There are things one must not contemplate…There is an obscenity of evil which
    contaminates the observer. There is a limit to what it is proper for a man to see. He must not
    think of this, or look within it, or try to learn the nature of its roots.” Ayn Rand, Atlas
    Shrugged, pg. 215, Plume Publishing, Penguin Group, NY, 1999. “And base things of the
    world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to
    bring to nought things that are:” 1 Corinthians 1:28. “Once harm has been done, even a fool
    understands it.” – Homer

  21. avatar former water walker says:

    Irredeemable people? I can think of 3…The ant-CHRIST,the false prophet and Judas come to mind. As a redeemed believer in JESUS CHRIST I’d like to think everyone can be redeemed. What do YOU think RF? After your kin was slaughtered by Naziis? Iwill guard home and hearth against the evil that men do. When I see young teen thugs murder in Chicago I know there is a devil…

    1. avatar JSW says:

      “…When I see young teen thugs murder in Chicago I know there is a devil…”

      Right there. The Devil is ‘irredeemable’, (some) people are evil and some can be redeemed,’but’, they have to ask for and accept that redemption, then live it out.

  22. avatar Wiregrass says:

    I believe there is hope for everyone to turn from evil. I sure hope so for my own sake. But sometime fate just doesn’t let that possibility play out.

  23. avatar NATAWS9 says:

    Some men reapair cars, some men debate well and become politicians.

    Others make it there life’s ambition to prevent the wicked from having their way with the innocent.

    If evil didn’t exist in this world there would be no suffering forced on someone by another.

    Whether I claim to have the balls to step up to overwhelming evil is irrelevant but if I was overwhelmed by evil I would hope the society I lived in would provide what was needed to overwhelm that which was evil first.

    Obviously that isn’t possible in certain sections of society as shown in the Paris attacks as the killers walked around on video carefree without a hint of resistance.

    That is a greater fear to me than the evil itself.

    To answer the question, yes and I’d hope so.

  24. avatar Big Bill says:

    All of the smart-ass answers are good, but the real answer is this:
    Truly evil people exist, and there is even a name for them: psychopath.
    A psychopath differs from a sociopath in that the sociopath has no conscience, and can’t differentiate between right and wrong.
    A psychopath has a conscience, he just doesn’t care if what he does is right or wrong. That person is truly evil.

    1. avatar Justin says:

      I think you might have those two mixed up basically a sociopath knows the difference between right an wrong they just don’t care or their conscience is weak a psychopath doesn’t know what’s right or wrong.

      A lot of CEO’s and upper level management of big corporations have sociopathic traits as it allows them the Moral “flexibility” to succeed no matter what the human cost.

      1. avatar Big Bill says:

        “I think you might have those two mixed up basically a sociopath knows the difference between right an wrong they just don’t care or their conscience is weak a psychopath doesn’t know what’s right or wrong. ”

        You’re right, I mispoke.

        “A psychopath doesn’t have a conscience. If he lies to you so he can steal your money, he won’t feel any moral qualms, though he may pretend to. He may observe others and then act the way they do so he’s not “found out,” Tompkins says.
        A sociopath typically has a conscience, but it’s weak. He may know that taking your money is wrong, and he might feel some guilt or remorse, but that won’t stop his behavior.”

        From here:
        http://www.webmd(dot)com/mental-health/features/sociopath-psychopath-difference#1

  25. avatar Robert says:

    Honestly I don’t think it matters if they are evil or not. If someone or something presents an imminent threat to myself or my family I will end the threat. If they survive fine, if not too bad for them. From my perspective the only thing that counts is the safety of my family and myself, why someone was attacking doesn’t matter, only the act itself matters.

  26. avatar ActionPhysicalMan says:

    I don’t have any moral qualms with killing such a person. I’d serve on a firing squad if called upon to do so. However, if a killer is somehow determined redeemable, I also have no problems letting them live, fixing them, and letting them contribute again, maybe not let them go but at least be a productive citizen from prison. If there is a god, I would be satisfied at allowing redeemable ones to atone and try to save their soul. How do you determine who is redeemable? I don’t know. I would hope someone else would know the answer to that one.

  27. avatar Ing says:

    I don’t know if evil exists in any absolute or supernatural form. What I do know is that people are capable of doing very evil things. Those of us who are not evil and have loved ones to protect have a responsibility to stop violent evil when it targets us.

    I’ve used sudden (nonlethal) force on people who posed a nonlethal physical threat to me and mine, automatically and without hesitation, so I think if the situation demanded it, I wouldn’t hesitate to kill. Although you never know until you’re there… But if you force me into a me-or-you decision, I’m damn well going to make sure the answer is YOU, not me.

    Even if killing an evil person was necessary and right, I’m also pretty sure actually killing someone would mess me up in a big way. The couple of serious fights I’ve been in (in the sense that serious anger was involved) bothered me for days to weeks, even though I won and escaped virtually unscathed. I really hope I never have to find out what it’s like to live with someone’s death on my hands.

  28. avatar Cesare says:

    I have to think so, especially in the sense you seem to imply. To my read you suggest an individual without proportionality or limits in regard to what they are willing to do to get what they want in the moment with perhaps minor afterthought given to consequences. They are most definitely out there. I think 2 things cloud the issue somewhat. 1, in terms of enemy action there is a fine line between ‘absolutely anything’ and ‘what you didn’t expect’. 2, by the time the proverbial hammer comes down I have less then no interest into the which of the why as to how they got there. At that point it would seem at least one of us is in the wrong place at the wrong time, I only pray it is them.

  29. avatar tiger says:

    Answer? Watch a ISIS video or two. You will never ask this question again.

  30. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

    I do not believe that there is absolute and irredeemable evil. Do any of you remember the documentary ‘Child of Rage’? You’d think that that little girl was beyond redemption, but she’s now a fully functional member of society now. She’s an RN now, working in a neonatal unit. That being said, I believe that there’s a point of no return, where a person’s crimes have been so severe as to necessitate removing them from society. So basically, I have no solid answer to that question.

    1. avatar kenneth says:

      Not exactly accurate, but as good as one usually gets from watching TV.
      “Beth Thomas, RN, BSN, is the adopted daughter of Attachment Therapy proponent Nancy Thomas. To our knowledge, Ms Thomas is one of only two independent adult survivors of Attachment Therapy/Parenting to speak well of the practice. She works with Nancy Thomas and her company Families by Design in promoting Attachment Therapy and its parenting methods through lectures and materials sales.”
      http://www.childrenintherapy.org/proponents/thomasb.html

  31. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    I believe in redemption. No one is irredeemable, though some may seem to be. I also understand that many evil people, for whatever reason, never achieve that redemption and take that evil to their graves.

    The person I point my gun at is most likely not evil to the core. More likely it’s someone who is selfish enough to take what he did not earn, and show a blatant disregard for human life in the process. It is most likely someone who envisioned a quick financial gain without completely thinking through the potential consequences.

    And if he chooses me or mine as his victims, those choices may prove fatal.

  32. “Those who hold these opinions usually argue that violent people can be cured. Do you buy that?”

    I don’t. In thousands of years of civilization, the cure would have been discovered by now. I feel no obligation to risk my life trying to cure a violent person. The social contract says, live and let live. You break your side of the bargain, the contract is void. May God have mercy on your soul.

  33. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Does evil exist in our world?
    Of course. How else do you explain Hitler, Stalin, Mao, etc.?

    Am I ready to confront an evil person?
    That is why I have firearms and an ample supply of ammunition.

  34. avatar Stu in AZ says:

    I don’t use my environment to justify my actions. I have free will. I expect the same of others.
    Declare otherwise on a wide enough scale and civilized society cannot survive.

    1. avatar Big Bill says:

      “I don’t use my environment to justify my actions. I have free will. I expect the same of others.
      Declare otherwise on a wide enough scale and civilized society cannot survive.”

      The problem is this: some people use their free will to do evil.
      There is no other excuse for the fact that we need laws. There is no other explanation for the fact that there are those who commit violent crime. Who violate the laws.
      Declaring that there are those who commit violent crime, doing evil, doesn’t doom society at all.

      1. avatar Stu in AZ says:

        What I meant was, blaming someone’s circumstances for their actions can lead to the failure of society. Just look at our current predicaments with overcrowded prisons and wanting more welfare to deter crime. It’ll only get worse.

  35. avatar Louis Marschalko says:

    Jeff Cooper called them “goblins”. That sorta includes the philosophical descriptions and the operational in a single word.

  36. avatar kenneth says:

    The very words “good” and “evil” have now ceased to have any meaning. Organized religion has done that which they do so well, namely destroy all meaning of words so that all communications have now become little more than babble.
    So I prefer the terms “positive” and “negative”. Most people can still figure out that these are polar opposites, even if only from installing a car battery(backwards, naturally) or wiring a set of speakers.
    So the answer is; shooting someone committing, or about to commit, the negative act of great bodily harm is no issue of conscience. The one committing such acts is the one mired in negativity. They are the one at fault. If they die, or come to great harm from their own negative actions, that does not affect me and my actions. So long as my actions were positive, it is their conscience and attitudes that need dealing with, not mine.
    It’s a non-question. It is the situation and the attacker that should dictate the defenders actions, not free will choice. My only choices are to allow the attack, or not.

    1. avatar JSW says:

      “…The very words “good” and “evil” have now ceased to have any meaning. Organized religion has done that which they do so well, namely destroy all meaning of words so that all communications have now become little more than babble….”

      Righhhhttt.. it was organized religion that tells us we have to accept homosexuality as ‘normal’; it’s organized religion that tells us we have to allow our tax dollars to fund in 200K (+/-) abortions a day; it’s organized religion that impels us to allow ‘temporary insanity’ pleas as excuse for evil behavior; it’s ‘organized religion’ that tells us we have to accept evil into our homes, legalizing pedophile sex and bestiality.

      I could go on and on about this, but you’re wrong. Period.

      Yup, it was organized religion.

      1. avatar kenneth says:

        Seems like you failed to read my post since you just duplicated a lot of what I posted.
        I said that one of the things organized religion does is destroy the meaning of words. I did not imply that that was the ONLY thing they destroy. Indeed, they are very good at destruction, in all its forms. I include ALL organized religions in that…. every one of them.

  37. avatar Gordon in MO says:

    If you want proof of evil in this world, watch some of the ISIS videos of them beheading people or burning them alive.

    Evil is alive and well in this world and it is spreading, even here in America.

  38. avatar pcb_duffer says:

    I agree that there are “truly evil people in this world. Completely, irredeemably, selfishly, violently amoral people …”. But rather than “put down like rabid dogs” I would argue that they should be locked up away from society / civilization. Yes, there are circumstances in which, in the heat of the moment, killing is the only rational response. And yes, the cost in dollars of warehousing the evil is not inconsiderable. But the costs to society of arguing that some people are disposable, and should therefore be disposed of, are also very high, if more difficult to directly count. Just one man’s opinion.

  39. avatar James69 says:

    1st – 13 year olds should not be hanging out with 15 and 19 year olds. 2nd – GREAT grandma’s raising the kids….. Too much free time is not a good thing. This happened about 30 mins from me.

  40. avatar James69 says:

    The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness. For he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you.

  41. avatar Thomas says:

    Of course evil exists, within each and every one of us because we’re born into it, and it’s why God sent Christ to die for us to provide hope and a different way. The difference is whether or not we choose to restrain that tendency, and most of us do. Irredeemable? Not according to the Good Word, and even though it’s my manual for life, I struggle with that piece of it (and loving others like Christ loved us). I understand it like this…

    We are all redeemable if we choose to be redeemed, however that does not absolve anyone of consequences of their actions past, present or future. If you choose in a moment of weakness to succumb to your evil nature and intend me or mine harm, I only hope you and the Man upstairs are squared away first, because I will do everything in my power to send you on your way to meet Him. On that note, I hope in this lifetime I never have to use my weapon take another life, ever. Should it become necessary, I will not hesitate to do so.

  42. avatar Joseph says:

    An old Texas DPS Trooper once told me, “Some people just need killin” I reckon that answers the evil question.

  43. avatar Chris Morton says:

    I’m not at all religious, but I do believe in evil.

    Evil people do serious harm for the sheer enjoyment of it. They can cloak it in platitudes and excuses like, “the will of Allah”, “the dictatorship of the proletariat”, etc, but when it comes down to it, those are just after the fact justifications. Like Heath Ledger’s Joker, they hurt people because they LIKE it.

    You’re not going talk them out of it. You’re going to stop them… if you choose to, by main force. If I had to shoot a Patrick Ferguson or a Nidal Hassan, to protect myself or others, I’d do it without a hint of guilt. If you’re shooting up the LIRR or the Ft. Hood PAC Center, there’s no reason for anyone to feel sorry for you if you get shot.

    I was born with a tragic shortage of empathy. I have just enough compassion to feel sorry for AIDS babies or Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Sorry Abu, you didn’t make the cut. However I did get quite the laugh out of your JDAM enema…

  44. avatar explainist says:

    the Hillside Strangler turned out to be 2 people working together – how did they find each other? The first strangling took three and a half minutes. standing there talking to each other, “Hey this takes longer than they show on TV”

    that is stone cold 200 proof evil from downtown Evilville

  45. avatar Martin says:

    As others said, the question of how evil a person is should have no effect in a tactical situation. It is impossible for me to divine how evil or irredeemable a person is during a situation where said person presents an immediate threat. One simply acts to stop the threat; wasting time to try to guess how evil a robber is is in fact a dangerous thing to do.

    That being said, I do oppose death penalty in virtually all cases. Sure, I do think that it would be better for a society as a whole to simply execute certain people. However, I’m all too aware of the fact that a lot of people were convicted of crimes they did not in fact commit and I’m disinclined to forget that some regimes are perfectly willing to use capital punishment as a form of murder.

    Killing someone in combat is often a necessity. The time factor alone often makes the use of deadly force the best option available. Courtrooms do not operate under similar pressures.

  46. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    In our modern and sophisticated world view we forget that the ancient peoples got it right. Evil does exist. My Christian upbringing says that all people may repent and seek salvation, but my faith also says that there are those who are so corrupt that God has given up on them. I’ve worked in law enforcement for over 25 years and I’ve encountered a few people who I genuinely believed were possessed by demons. I can’t explain it – and I’m sure that those of you who are not religious will disagree and laugh when I say this – but I really feel that I’ve had to deal with real Satanic evil on a few occasions.

  47. avatar Ralph says:

    Irredeemably evil or worthy of redemption are concepts that have no application to a situation that requires ballistic self defense. There’s only life or death, and there’s no time or reason for navel-gazing.

    Philosophically speaking, it seems that some people are beyond redemption and others are not. Nobody knows which is which. But if you can believe their relatives, every bad guy who ever met his end at the hands of his victim was just turning his life around.

    1. avatar Sarah says:

      This
      I am sick of these pseudo religious arguments about “evil”. All that matters is whether there is imminent threat and whether or not you are willing to use deadly force against it. Period.

      1. avatar Big Bill says:

        “I am sick of these pseudo religious arguments about “evil”. All that matters is whether there is imminent threat and whether or not you are willing to use deadly force against it. Period.”

        I agree, IF you are only talking about life on an extremely personal level; I.E., when you personally are threatened by a person intent on doing harm.
        However, society isn’t just you. It’s all of us. And society needs to look at things a little differently.
        While it’s fine for you to say, “If someone comes after me or mine, that someone will end up dead.” Society, though, needs to protect those who aren’t willing to kill everyone who looks threatening. And society can’t do that by simply killing everyone who “looks threatening.”
        So there’s a big difference between you, personally, and society. And that’s what the questions is about.

  48. avatar Me says:

    Let’s see, columbine, Sandy hok, aurora movie theater, pulse night club…… hell yes evil exists, would I have been a first responder to ANY of those, I would not have hesitated, I would have shot till those sick pukes were cold, reloaded and repeated, without on scoche of remorse, protecting innocents does not make me an evil man, it makes me human, and Spartan so to speak.ill be the first to say I had a fucked up childhood, live in slum neighborhoods with a family on welfare, I’m not out trying to ruin families, or cause mass casualties.

  49. avatar rt66paul says:

    From a religous point of view, I believe there are evil people out there. Souless, children of Cain. They do not have a mark, as the LDS believed, but there are people with no empathy, only caring for themselves with pyscopathic tendancies.

    I was taught, as a Christian, that anyone can be saved, but just maybe these people can not

  50. avatar Bob G. says:

    In a word, Yes. This (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Carpenter) piece of garbage raped and murdered a friend of mine and her fiance, shortly after high school graduation. During my college summers, I worked in Mendocino County at a Boy Scout camp. We all found out later that this monster (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonard_Lake) had been living a few miles away, and the camp caretakers who lived there year-round had me the monster and his accomplice in the grocery. I cousin of mine vanished — without a trace, car and all — while traveling. There’s a pretty good chance she met someone similar to the goblins linked above.

    I have personally had to defend myself against potentially lethal threats (I employed a pair of sticks one time, a utility knife another, a chain used to lock my bike on another) All three of these involved two or more assailants, and in all three cases I feared for my life if I was completely in the power of my attackers. Compliance and talk may get you out of a situation peacefully, or it may simply tell the other person — or persons — that they’ve chosen a good victim and can escalate the attack. I want the option to defend myself because I know in my heart that evil exists out there.

    Don’t go gently into that good night,
    Bob

    If you can’t decide to defend yourself and do whatever is necessary, you should not be armed.

  51. Robert Farago,

    Are you suggesting that you are going to Google your assailant before you shoot them?

    In the case you cite, and in the Hi-Fi murders cited by user ‘lew’, the criminals were too vicious and stupid to avoid being caught. However nasty they were, the body counts were limited by rapid arrests. How about this guy…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_DeMeo
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NthC-CDXgE

    Wikipedia claims that DeMeo killed around seventy people. You need to watch the YouTube video through. A couple of commentators state that DeMeo was pure evil. Towards the end, the Mafia instructed DeMeo to kill one of his crew, an old friend. Evidently, he felt bad about it. When the police approached him and warning him that he would probably be murdered, he told them he was a soldier, and he would accept his fate. Clearly, DeMeo had moral standards, however screwed and sociopathic.

    The old mob had rules about who could be attacked, and what crimes could be committed. This was not out of a sense of decency. They understood that if they pissed off the general public, there would be a backlash.

  52. avatar JSW says:

    Not only does evil exist, ‘irredeemable evil’ is alive and well and tempting every one of us daily.

    Deal with it.

  53. avatar Joatmon says:

    http://www.yourdictionary.com/evil

    Here’s some definitions of evil. Do I believe in evil? Yes, to a certain point. What I believe in mostly is sociopathic and psychotic behavior.
    The guy robbing you may not want anything more than your money to buy drugs. Does that make him evil? Sociopath? Psychotic?
    JWM transported a teen who tortured animals, started fires and other things. Psychotic? Absolutely. Evil? By definition yes. What about the days when he did nothing to anyone or anything? Evil then?
    One of the definitions was to do something morally wrong. Who hasn’t really? I know I have. Am I evil or did I just do wrong? I didn’t kill anyone. I didn’t set anything on fire. I didn’t try to physically harm anyone. But by definition, I’m evil. She would probably agree.
    Evil to me is pure, meaning that you have no good side at all.
    Would I defend myself? I have twice but none of them were evil. They wanted what I had and I wouldn’t give it to them. I will continue to defend myself and those closest to me.

  54. avatar Isaac says:

    The author poses some interesting questions and honestly I’m not sure I have the answers but I’ll take a shot at this one.
    Does evil exist? Evil actions — sure, evil people — I honestly don’t know, almost any person can have decent qualities (i.e. even Hitler was known to take good care of his dogs and Eva Brown) so I don’t think anyone can exist being only evil/bad.

    The bigger question is why do l/when can we use lethal force? In my view person’s views on evil can be subjective hence that isn’t a very good rule! However a demonstratable, reasonable, threat of death or great bodily harm, that has to be stopped immediately and which you are an unwilling participant in seems a better way to go in deciding to seek a ballistic solution (regardless of whether or not it results in the threat’s death).

  55. avatar Mike W. says:

    There IS evil in the world. PERIOD. No doubt about it.
    There are SO many factors involved, suffice to say don’t be naïve and SO trusting of EVERYONE.

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      1. avatar Michael Ejercito says:

        The above comment is proof that there is evil in the world.

  56. avatar Michael Ejercito says:

    Yes, there is evil.

    http://metro.co.uk/2013/10/02/charisma-carpenter-you-can-have-a-good-life-even-after-something-terrible-happens-4130335/


    ‘I’m appalled. I don’t feel justice was served. He raped a 13-year-old girl.
    He asked her if she was a virgin, raped her, then asked if she liked it – he’s
    very sick.”- Charisma Carpenter

  57. avatar DetroitMan says:

    In my faith we don’t believe in irredeemable evil. There is always a chance that someone will realize the error of their ways and change them, even if that chance is small. For that reason, I oppose the death penalty but support life imprisonment.

    That does not change the fact that people commit evil and must be opposed. If a person is in the midst of a violent act or impending violent act against an innocent, deadly force is an entirely acceptable means of stopping them. I have been the victim of a crime, and I know that perpetrators do not stop to consider the harm they do to others. I will not sit idly by and allow myself, my family, or a stranger to become a victim. If I ever have to shoot anyone, I hope they survive. But if they don’t, I am comfortable that it was a consequence of their actions, not mine.

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