Skip to main content

Evil Deeds, not Evil People

Kenyan terror. Pakistan funeral bombings. Iraq, Syria and all the old favourites seem to be witnessing increased intensities of religious fundamental madness. Massacres all over the place. The people who are being slain and injured are presumably perceived as 'evil' in the eyes of the murderers - and therefore no doubt 'deserved to die' (or so their god tells them, one might imagine. Nice god). The world condemns these madmen (and women in Kenya we hear) as evil. Everyone hates everyone else and we all want to kill each other, whether inspired by voices, beardies, media and politicians, or just personal outrage.

Marvelous. Blood begets blood. Kill a person and you anger their friends and family. They now hate you too. Sons, brothers and cousins sign up to avenge their death. Commit an atrocity, and watch the ranks of neo-nazis swell. Watch retaliations by Norwegian mass murderers, Muscovite thugs, Kashmiri tribesmen and Syrian 'rebels'. Feel your own blood boil as you watch TV images of children brutally smashed by guns, gas and bombs. If you had a rifle and a clean shot, would you hesitate to put one in the head of a terrorist murdering little kids? Probably not.

What bothers me is that we are defining the people who commit these atrocities as evil. We are then saying they deserve evil to be done to them. Lock them up forever, if not 'just take them out'. All of us, democratic states and terrorists alike, brand the person as the problem, not the acts they do. We want to stop the symptoms instead of tackling the causes. It's human nature.

When I was trying, hopelessly, to encourage my young kids to behave in a manner vaguely resembling considerate humans, I was told: "Never say 'you're a naughty boy'. Always say 'you've done a naughty thing'". Or 'that's a silly thing to do', rather than 'you're a silly boy'. The thinking behind this was simple. Tell a kid they're naughty or silly, and they know naughty and silly kids do naughty and silly things. How else were they expected to behave? True to form and fulfilling expectations. But by inferring or actually telling them they're good and clever, there's a chance that they will recognise that their actions were out of character with good and clever people, and therefore unacceptable - and not just unacceptable to observers, like parents and teachers, but to themselves as well. Clever boys don't do silly things. Good kids don't do bad things.

When we brand a person as evil, then we believe that whole person does not belong in our society or even, perhaps, does not deserve to live. But if we brand their actions as evil, and presume the person is a relatively normal human being who is capable of understanding the way we feel about what they did or want to do (child abuse, bombing, theft, etc), then there remains a chance they might change. But if we declare them to be 'abusers' and 'terrorists' etc, how do we, and they, expect them to behave, now and in the future?

There are two ways to stop a terrorist from committing acts of atrocity. Physically prevent them by killing or incarcerating them - but in so doing, encourage, like the Hydra who grew more heads each time one was cut off, their hatred to multiply within their communities as a result. Or should we consider them to be human-beings who can be taught rational behaviour from a position of respect rather than aggression?

I'm not saying forgive evil deeds. On the contrary, punishments need to be proportionate, and the people who are in the process of committing evil deeds, or are about to, need to be stopped - fast and effectively. But what I am saying is that we must not make the mistake of branding these people and their supporters as innately evil. If we do, we negate the potential for any process of persuasion towards another path of behaviour and understanding. How can you negotiate or try to reason with a deranged mind? You wouldn't try. But if you accepted that all minds, within reason, have the potential of forming rationale argument and you accept that there's another perspective of understanding that you also might need to appreciate, then from a position of common respect there's a chance evil deeds can be avoided.

Evil deeds exist. Evil people don't.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Phillips screws - yes I'm angry about them too

Don't get me wrong. They're a brilliant invention to assist automation and prevent screwdrivers from slipping off screw heads - damaging furniture, paintwork and fingers in the process. Interestingly they weren't invented by Mr Phillips at all, but by a John P Thompson who sold Mr P the idea after failing to commercialise it. Mr P, on the otherhand, quickly succeeded where Mr T had failed. Incredible isn't it. You don't just need a good idea, you need a great salesman and, more importantly, perfect timing to make a success out of something new. Actually, it would seem, he did two clever things (apart from buying the rights). He gave the invention to GM to trial. No-brainer #1. After it was adopted by the great GM, instead of trying to become their sole supplier of Phillips screws, he sold licenses to every other screw manufacturer in the world. A little of a lot is worth a great deal more than a lot of a little + vulnerability (watch out Apple!).

My gromble is abou…

Introducing Product Relationship Management - it's what customers want.

Most businesses these days have Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems which store and process vasts amounts of information about us. They use this information to generate communications, amongst other things, which target us to buy their products and services. CRM is all about how a business relates to its customers: Past (keeping them loyal through aftersales and service), Present (helping them buy through bricks and clicks channels) and Future (prospecting).

Most businesses will at some stage have declared themselves 'customer-centric'. They will probably have drawn diagrams on whiteboards that look something like these:



But there's a problem with this whole approach of keeping the customer at the centre of your world and the focal point for everything you do.Is it what the customer wants? Of course companies who ignore their customers eventually go out of business. And those who treat their customers well, tend to thrive. But is it really in the best interests …

The Titus Trust Deceives British Parents to Brainwash their Kids

I have a son who went to a well known preparatory school (7-13) in Surrey. He came home one day clutching a leaflet for fun activity holidays that the school promoted every summer. The Titus Trust operate several camps around the UK where they organise fun outdoor activities for youngsters. Something caught my eye in the leaflet hidden in a paragraph in one of the sections describing the holidays. They used the word Christian. It was the only place in the whole leaflet that the word was used. My suspicions raised, I hunted around the leaflet for more clues and found the imprint which said something like 'A Titus Trust Charity' (the name of the camps was on the title of the leaflet). I dug deeper and found some disturbing evidence of who was behind these 'fun' camps. This is what I wrote at the time to the headmaster:
Dear Headmaster

XXXX came home the other day extremely excited about an outward bound camp next summer that he and his friends had been told about by a rep…