Comments about ‘Doug Robinson: Horrific crimes show the thin line between good and evil’

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Published: Monday, April 21 2014 11:55 p.m. MDT

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Spanish Fork, Ut

The line between evil and good isn't thin at all. Seeing someone take out the trash and wave hello in the morning doesn't automatically mean they are "normal" or "good". It is a misnomer to think that evil people act evil all the time. Hitler was really generous to his friends, kind to his girlfriend, and gentle with animals. But people that knew him well undoubtedly knew he was cruel and evil. The people that need to be asked in these stories are the perpetrators closest friends, their family, perhaps their employers. "He always waved", "he smiled when he drove by", "he loved his dog" means very little to me.

John Charity Spring
Back Home in Davis County, UT

Biftacular is absolutely right. The general public has become so lazy and complacent that it has all but forgotten that evil exists, and as a result, fails to be on the watch for it.

The greater question, which Robinson largely ignores, is: why is evil becoming more and more prevalent? It does no good to recognize that evil exists, unless society is then willing to fight against it.

One major source of evil is the modern entertainment industry. Indeed, modern Hollywood produces one movie after another that glorifies gang violence, drug use, and deviant sexuality. It is completely naive to think that the public can consume this evil without imitating it and becoming more and more depraved.

Another source of the problem is the entitlement mentality promoted by the current government. The liberal handout of welfare and other entitlement dollars has created a large segment of the population that has a "me first" attitude. This segment believes that laziness and sloth are desirable, and as a consequence, are more prone to engage in criminal activity.

In short, the ignorant and slumbering masses must awake to a sense of civic responsibility before it is too late.

Salt Lake City, UT

Re: John Charity Spring "The liberal handout of welfare and other entitlement dollars has created a large segment of the population that has a "me first" attitude. "

Do you mean like the big investment banks and insurance companies which were bailed out by the Federal government, and continue to be supported with near zero interest loans? Now, that is ENTITLEMENT on steroids.

Your remark here is wide of the mark, Mr Robinson's list is full of people who would be called sociopaths by psychologists. And that's what the are. Such individuals have always existed. Liberalism didn't create them.

Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

It is human nature to want to be able to dismiss people with simple judgments. Prejudice can enhance, as well as diminish, what we see in people. Hence the American adoration and admiration of people with wealth.

In the Old Testament, God warned the people against having kings. Why would anyone want a king to govern them, over their own agency to choose their leaders? I suppose it's easier and more comforting to make yourself believe in a benevolent monarch than having to weigh issues and use your own judgment.

We can't ever truly know someone because most of us don't even know ourselves. I am reminded of a poem by the late Stevie Smith.

Nobody heard him, the dead man,
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he's dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always
(Still the dead one lay moaning)
I was much too far out all my life
And not waving but drowning.

Tooele, UT

Re: "Such individuals have always existed. Liberalism didn't create them."

That's probably true, but liberalism certainly empowers them, encourages them, and covers for them until serious things happen, then suggests their evil is our fault, and that "fairness" dictates that we excuse or overlook it.

Look at the damage done to suggestive children by Hollywood liberals, in the name of freedom of speech. And that done to families by political liberals in the name of humanist compassion. And, then, there are all the liberals engaged in the medical, psychological and sociological industries, who insist on clinicalizing evil, suggesting there is some medical or psychological intervention that can substitute for moral rectitude.

Liberalism exalts a variable, secular humanist approach to evil, eschewing moral absolutes. Even though this approach has always failed.

In other words, liberals surrender to, explain away, or, quite often, embrace evil, if it's personally convenient to do so. In doing so, they often find ways to convince themselves of the moral superiority of their position, even as it predictably wreaks havoc in the lives of real people and the Nation.

Genola, UT

I am too busy trying to root out evil in my own character to spend much time trying to recognize it in my neighbor.

one old man
Ogden, UT

If liberalism "created" all these people, perhaps someone can explain why some of them, at least, were known to friends and neighbors as "conservative" in their beliefs.

Is it possible that at least some of the people named in this article really were not "evil" until some crisis pushed an otherwise sane person over the edge? Is it possible that what we are seeing is part of the legacy of Ronald Reagan who shut down not only mental hospitals but much of the support that was available for "normal" people who were reeling under pressures in their lives but had no place to go for help?

Is it possible that better mental health care coverage under ACA might be at least a partial solution to reversing the tragedy that Reagan's dumping of mental health support created? Are people who crumble under life's pressures "immoral" in some way?

Is it possible that this is not something created by "liberalism" but actually by "conservativism?"

Even thinking such things is probably some kind of "immoral liberalism" to people who find it easier to cast blame than to actually THINK and try to find better solutions.

university place, WA

"Look at the damage done to suggestive children by Hollywood liberals, in the name of freedom of speech."

Okay. What, specifically should I be looking for?

"And that done to families by political liberals in the name of humanist compassion."

Okay. What, specifically should I be looking for?

"And, then, there are all the liberals engaged in the medical, psychological and sociological industries, who insist on clinicalizing evil,"

Okay. What specific evil(s) have been "clicnicalized?"

"eschewing moral absolutes"

Name one moral absolute. Just one.

Virginia Beach, VA

"Is the line between good and evil — between normal/nice guy and aberrant/sociopath — really that thin?"

Apparently, one man's aberrant sociopath is another man's normal, nice guy.

Look at the Mountain Meadows murderers, the vast majority of whom maintained positions of respect within the Church both before and after the murders . . . In spite of the heinous nature of the crimes . . . murdering civilian men, women, and children . . . and leaving their naked hacked-up bodies, unburied for scavenging animals to consume, and then stealing everything that had once belonged to these innocent dead.

And yet these men went on to prosper in society and raise families and grandchildren, and experience the joys of old age surrounded by family . . . And that is something their victims would never know.

Were these murderers evil? . . . Or were they normal, nice guys who had a bad day?


I agree with Bifftacular's post. Only a superficial people think that someone is good just because he or she acts friendly. A smile and a wave cost little especially if it is to succeed in covering sinister ongoing murderous evil or other deplorable secretive conduct.

Politicians and sociopathic personalities, not always the same thing of course, know how to ingratiate themselves with those from whom they wish to profit or easily accomplish a good reputation. Reputations are built on good deeds not talk, handshakes and nice suits.

OTOH there's nothing wrong with being sincerely friendly, quite the reverse.

sandy, ut

One thing you must consider is that sociopaths and serial killers are very often very good liars. They know how to act a certain way and create a facade that they are normal, when in fact they are far from normal. They know that they can deceive others, and they take pride in it. They don't bother their neighbors, and are often friendly with them because the last thing they want is for their neighbor to think they are capable of heinous crimes because then the gig is up.

Midwest Mom
Soldiers Grove, WI

We set ourselves up for a fall, when we see the potential for evil only in others. Frequently, it is our strengths, and not only our weaknesses, that get us into trouble.

Maybe this woman was so kind to the children of others because of her own guilt. Many people compartmentalize their lives in this way. It's like a chain smoking friend of mine who would only eat organic food.

Provo, UT

If killing people is evil and originates from liberalism then why did conservatives elect twice a repub President who loved starting wars in the middle east?

Tooele, UT

Re: "Name one moral absolute. Just one."

Oh, that's easy. In fact, I can do better than one -- here's two:

". . . Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart . . . ." and ". . . Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

Those are moral absolutes. The fact that some choose not to comply, or that others choose to interpret them to suit their own fancy, or that some may not even believe -- does not change their status in the slightest.

American Fork, UT

My goodness people, my guess is if you did a study you would find murderers are probably split pretty 50/50 down the conservative/liberal line. Also I'm not sure I buy the evil is getting worse line, I suppose it's possible, we are certainly taught that in church on Sundays, however if you study any sort of history you quickly realize humans have been doing pretty terrible things to each other for a very very long time.

university place, WA

". . . Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart . . . ." and ". . . Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

The first presupposes the existence of a "Lord," something not supported by evidence and the other is the tried and true "golden rule" which, while a good idea, is clearly not an absolute.

Murray, UT

Some of the comments on this board are extremely concerning. Suggesting that someone's political affiliation is some how related to ones propensity to commit crimes is nonsense. Suggesting that hand outs are defining of a "taker" or "me first" society is very disingenuous. The vast majority of people are intrinsically good people who want to work hard and provide for their families, suggesting otherwise, without providing any peer-reviewed research, is only your opinion, not fact. Also, it's extremely unfortunate that these programs have to exist because tax policies favor a very small and powerful wealthy group more so than any other group because they have the most influence over politicians. When was the last time you saw any efforts made on behalf of the most marginalized group in society?

Tooele, UT

Re: ". . . why did conservatives elect twice a repub President who loved starting wars in the middle east?"

It never happened.

Just a quick reminder -- the first Gulf War was started, not by Daddy Bush, but by Saddam Hussein invading and raping his small neighbor, and our ally, Kuwait. The war in Afghanistan, by Osama bin Laden who, as de facto ruler of a large part of Afghanistan, made a formal declaration of war on the US, then followed it up with the largest attack on US territory since WWII. The Iraq war was started, not by Baby Bush, but by Saddam Hussein making incessant, in-your-face threats against us and the world -- threats rendered credible to Democrat and Republican alike, not just by his past serial aggressions and use of WMD -- but by his admitted stockpiling of WMD equipment and precursors.

At least Republican wars were directed to threats against us and our interests. Unlike Democrat wars, which tend to use US troops as logistic support to, or the air arm of Islamist movements in countries of absolutely no importance to US interests.

Let it Go!
Omaha, NE

I think that kind of message is seen in the villain of Frozen. Nice for 2/3 of the movie, then discovery of evil changes everything.

No wonder Jesus states "By their fruits ye shall know them." But I think it's more than just seeing the number of good-or-bad things someone did. Rather, it is their attitudes and reasons towards their actions that we should watch out for.

Is it a good thing for a bad guy to help the good guy fulfill his mission in order to accomplish his own purposes? Remember, he is helping the good guy. Therefore, he is good, right?

Tooele, UT

Re: "The first presupposes the existence of a "Lord," . . . the other is the tried and true "golden rule" . . . clearly not an absolute."

Yeah, well, the beauty of a moral absolute -- a belief that certain actions are absolutely right or wrong, regardless of other circumstances such as consequences or intentions behind them -- is that no one gets to argue with it or explain it away.

Sorry, but loving The Lord is always right.

Not loving your neighbor is always wrong.

No amount of liberal guile, sophistry, or dissimulation can change it.

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