There’s no such thing as an original sin.
–Elvis Costello/I’m Not Angry
Elvis may be right about that, and certainly you would think by now we’d have run out of new ways to be rotten, but I am continually amazed by the things that people are willing to do to each other. Inflicting pain and horror for..for what?
I don’t pretend to be a paragon: I’m inpatient, self-centered, sometimes unkind and more than a little thoughtless–but I don’t think I could live with myself if I did anything really awful. Scanning the news shows me horrors I could not even imagine myself performing. Raping children? Keeping a houseful of women hostage for years? Using Serin on a town? Blowing up a jet full of people? Serial killing? Genocide?
I don’t think it’s possible for me to understand what motivates these monsters. I’m hesitant to call them people, although I assume they started out as people at some point. The one thing I do understand is why so many monsters either kill themselves or commit suicide by cop in the end. If I did something so horrendous, I’d want to be dead too, but what kind of person would want to shoot everyone in their school?
We really want to understand. When something happens like the Newtown shootings or the Boston Marathon bombing we try to analyze the criminals and understand how their minds work. They must be different from the rest of us in some way. If they aren’t, what does it mean about all of us?
The thing is, this shit has been happening (if you go by the Christian Bible) since Cain slew Abel because Grampa Jehovah was being kind of a creep about the side dish Cain brought to his pot luck. Leave it to God to tell you to bring “whatever” to the party and then reject your vegetarian dish because his favorite grandson brought lamb. Most of us manage to go through live without killing our brothers, even if Grampa played favorites even more than Jehovah did. Does. It was a rough start to the human race, and we don’t seem to be improving as we go along.
Some people seem to go rogue from too much power. Others because they feel powerless. Some are raised with so much abuse that maybe they don’t know what normal is any more. There is an obvious difference in what motivates a dictator and a bullied teen who is lashing out. Does it matter though given that the end result is the same?
I don’t know. I don’t think anyone does. If we could figure it out, it seems like we would have in the thousands of years there have been people on the planet.
People and monsters.