Acknowledging Evil

Whether you love or hate guns, we all formulate the same question after mass shootings:

How do we prevent evildoers?

People are evil not things.   Police represent the good and gang-bangers the bad, yet whether guns are in the holsters of police officers or in the waistbands of gang members, they are just interchangeable objects.

Peoples intentions define good and evil, not the objects they wield.  Intent is uniquely human.  Objects have no intention.

Frustration comes from the realization that identifying evil in people might only happen after a horrible act.  Controlling objects is easier than controlling people.  Vanquishing guns does nothing to address evil.  Evelyn Waugh reminds us that, “There’s only one great evil in the world today. Despair.”

A free society recognizes and acknowledges the existence of and even the toleration of evil amongst its members.  Mikhail Bulgakov said, “What would your good do if evil didn’t exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared?”

Ursula LeGuin answers him: “To light a candle is to cast a shadow.”

Realizing that freedom casts many shadows, we should not despair over the existence of evil, nor let its threat extinguish our resolve to remain free.

 

 

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