, Gloucester, MA

January 4, 2013

Letter: Blaming bad deeds on ‘evil’ is bad decision

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

There have been many references to “evil” since the murders in Newtown, Conn. I do not intend this to devolve into a theological discussion or an argument about morality, but some will raise those two divisive topics anyway.

When we blame repulsive deeds on “evil,” we become complicit enablers. If an action is “evil,” we are inculpable. We didn’t do it. It was out of our control. We just blame some celestial malefactor and go about the day wailing, “Isn’t it just awful!”

So long as we tolerate conditions where children are stunted emotionally, intellectually, and nutritionally we will have angry and frustrated individuals who will inflict pain and harm on others. So long as we fail to provide psychological support services, we will miss finding the ones who will erupt into violence. The fact that so many are able to live in the same neighborhoods without being crippled is the best evidence we have that says we do not understand this complex problem. Any action we take will have effects we can’t anticipate.

The issue is not limited to owning weapons, constitutional rights, self-control, fear of ... . Ask the enablers of mass murders why they persist. Ask those who oppose good health standards why they wish to harm children of your family or your friends. Every one murdered has been someone’s child.

We need to think about the consequences of our decisions. We need to find those in need and discover what helps them. We need to listen to those who do the research. We need to stop listening to self-proclaimed experts who shout just to frighten us to do what they want.

For those of little empathy, consider this selfishly. If any of those who are murdered every day happen to include a family member or a friend, would you rethink your position?

Arthur Thomas