To understand true evil, you have to see it. That’s why the yearly 9/11 memorials are so important. Millions of Americans saw their lives grossly harmed after Muslim terrorists committed mass murder on that day in 2001. Their leader, Osama bin Laden, was pure evil and eventually was killed by Navy SEALs.
But that event did not assuage the pain he caused.
In my town there lives an elderly man whose two sons were killed in the World Trade Center. This man has led a life of honor, contributing mightily to his community and to his country. He and his devoted wife suffered unimaginable pain 17 years ago and every day since. There are tens of thousands of other Americans suffering as well.
The man in my town still believes in a just God even though no justice was granted him. He well knows that he will never understand why evil visits the virtuous. He simply accepts the fact.
In America, many of us tend to look away from evil.
How can thousands of murders take place in Chicago without a national outcry? How can some call dope pushers who sell deadly substances “non-violent” criminals? How can clergy abuse children? How can people falsely accuse others for money or power ruining lives?
The evil list is extensive. But those who actually acknowledge an evil presence in the world are relatively few.
In writing my upcoming book “Killing the SS,” I saw first hand that evil lurks in every human being. The Nazi SS guards who oversaw massive murder and torture in Hitler’s concentration camps were usually common folks before the war; farmers, merchants, laborers. Yet they killed babies, children, and adults without objection.
Then they ate dinner.
Millions of Germans looked away from the evil of The Third Reich and some even helped the war criminals escape. It is simply incomprehensible. But it happened.
Today, we give lip service to fighting ISIS and other evil barbarians. But very few Americans actually do the brutal work that needs to be done. The rest of us often take a “pass” when evil drives by – especially if it doesn’t attack us.
But evil does, indeed, affect the righteous and the awful alike. It exists inside each human being and it is active in villains everywhere.
We must see evil for what it is and fight hard against it. We must also understand that no one is immune from it. A good man on Long Island can tell you that first hand.