All Too Human

Recently a lady and I engaged in a short conversation pertaining to the recent mass shooting in San Bernardino, CA.

My first comment was in response to a young person who believes the only solution to prevent mass shootings — as well as accidental shootings — is eliminating all personal gun ownership.

Me:

Hence the importance of personal responsibility. Did you know that if you touch a hot stove, you’ll burn yourself? Or if you misuse a knife, you’ll cut yourself?

No one is denying guns are dangerous. But they are necessary to a free state, both as a nation and as an individual.

The lady (whom I will call GG) added her own thoughts starting with this one:

GG:

It’s my opinion that anyone who kills another human being, except in self-defense, is insane. (I know, PP supporters don’t agree with that opinion.)

Me:

Not insane. All too human, which is why self-defense is so necessary.

GG:

Unfortunately insanity seems to be a human trait. Notice I did say killing in self-defense does not indicate insanity.

Me:

Oh, I wasn’t trying to sound argumentative, and I apologize. I was agreeing with you on the self-defense part.

I just take issue with calling the darker parts of our human nature insanity, because given the right circumstances, we are all capable of murder. I prefer to call such acts by it’s real name: Evil.

To further expand on my thoughts, we need to avoid labeling mass shooters, and any other murderer (regardless of weapon used) as a form of insanity.

Insanity is defined as (per Webster’s):

1) a deranged state of the mind usually occurring as a specific disorder (as schizophrenia).

2) such unsoundness of mind or lack of understanding as prevents one from having the mental capacity required by law to enter into a particular relationship, status, or transaction or as removes one from criminal or civil responsibility.

3 a) extreme folly or unreasonableness
3 b) something utterly foolish or unreasonable.

When we describe horrendous acts as the result of insanity, we are basically saying the perpetrator is not of sound mind, and as such can’t be held responsible for the crime.

That’s dangerous ground to travel on. It not only prevents criminals from accepting responsibility — and the consequences — but it’s a way of blinding us to evil as if evil does not and cannot exist.

It’s also an insult to those who truly suffer from mental disorders — many of whom would harm no one as a result of that disorder.

We need to consider that most criminals — even mass murderers — are quite sane, and made what they thought was a hard, cold, rational, and reasonable choice. It’s a scary thought, but that’s reality. And we can’t fight that reality — that evil — until we first acknowledge that it exists.

 

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