As regular readers know, I am not a religious person. But I believe in evil. Not biblical evil. Just evil.
Credit: Salvador Dali and Classic Values
M. Scott Peck (May 22, 1936 – September 25, 2005) was an American psychiatrist and best-selling author. His first book, The Road Less Traveled, published in 1978, was an international best seller. Peck was a doctor who wrote with exceptional beauty, skill and clarity. He is one of my favorite writers.
Peck also wrote about evil in, People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil (1998). In that terrifying book, Peck brilliantly probed into the essence of human evil by providing vivid accounds of evil drawn from his psychiatric practice. If you want to know why I think some people are utterly beyond redemption, and must be caged, read this extraordinary book.
From the horror story on the front page of the New York Times today (“Law enforcement officials identified Mr. Roof, 21, as the suspect in the mass shooting at an African-American church in Charleston on Wednesday night that left nine dead, including the pastor, Clementa C. Pinckney”), let me show you what evil looks like:
Photo credit: New York Times. The photo captures Dylann Storm Roof, the killer, wearing a jacket with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa, top, and Rhodesia, as modern-day Zimbabwe was called during a period of white rule.
There is evil all about us. Peck saw plenty of it and it scared him. I see it frequently, and it scares me. Evil is why we need plenty of prisons. We don’t need prisons to exact revenge as much as we need cages to make us safe from evil.
That’s all, there is no more to say.