By now, most of the country has learned about the kidnapping and torture of a white, special-needs teenager by four, young blacks in Chicago. The reason we all know about it? Because one of the four perpetrators decided to live-stream their actions on Facebook.
(Warning, disturbing images.)
The full video is rampant with abuse, including forcing the young man to drink toilet water, kicks and punches, and burns with cigarettes. All the violence is punctuated with shouts of “F*ck Donald Trump!” and “F*ck white people!”
Despite the brutality, CNN’s Don Lemon doesn’t believe the act was evil. Rather, it was “bad parenting”.
Without a doubt, bad parenting played a role in such a vicious attack. But why are our elite so afraid to call such a vicious attack against a white, evil? Would doing so unravel much of the social justice mantra that only whites can be evil and racist?
There is a great danger in being unwilling to call something evil if it threatens the popular cultural and political worldview. If we can say this act is not evil because of bad parenting, where do we stop? Did the soldiers at Abu Ghraib have bad parenting? If so, are they innocent of committing evil? Did the Khmer Rouge, communists who slaughtered tens of thousands in Cambodia, have bad parents? Did the Nazis have bad parents? Again, where do we stop with this logic?
Furthermore, if we run with the bad parenting idea, are the young blacks in the video innocent while their parents are guilty? Shall we charge the parents instead of their children? Of course not.
If we are to have a decent society, we must be willing to recognize personal responsibility and hold individuals accountable for their actions. We must also be willing to recognize evil.
If the act is not evil, what is the point of prosecuting the four individuals? More to the point, if violating the dignity of and causing harm to a special-needs individual isn’t evil, then what is it? Are there utilitarian times when it is okay to do so? In the case of these black youth, is it not evil because they feel oppressed by white America and therefore are free to “vent” their frustration? Can the parents of these perpetrators be excused for “bad parenting” because they themselves were oppressed or in poverty? Is this act ultimately white America’s fault for creating a racist system of laws and economics, privileging themselves at the expense of people of color?
As you can imagine, such thinking opens a Pandora’s box of problems for society, problems that will tear us apart, create chaos, and ultimately return us to the state of nature. Everyone will find someone else to blame for bad or even evil actions.
No, despite one’s background and upbringing, we must continue to judge an individual’s actions and hold him accountable when he is in the wrong. We can look to causes in order to better prevent evil, but we cannot allow evil to go unpunished.