We as humans like the image of the villain. A simple clear evil indicated by a twirled mustache, over applied make up and lacquer nails, or pale skin and snake slit nose. We accept all this happily because it gives us an excuse to attribute their actions to their evil nature. “They do it because their evil.” That’s the end of that no more need for thought maybe a little moral outrage, a few cries of disgust and we can wash our hands of it.
I miss this simple explanation but I am no longer a child watching Disney films. I am a young adult watching real world event unfold before my eyes. There are no more villains those committing atrocities are people, humans, flesh and blood. I wish I could use one of the many over simplified explanations like terrorist blow themselves because their poor, uneducated, brainwashed, sex crazed, mad men. Unfortunately a person of intelligence can cut through these arguments like butter. Sageman does and forces us to realize that these are normal people.
Works such as “Standard Procedure” force that fact even harder. This movie shook me not because of the images but the people. I was not shocked or horrified by what they did as much as I was as my reaction to them. I liked some of them as people. They reminded me of my friends, of me. (Did you laugh at the jibe about country music?) Lynndie England was only a few years older than me in those infamous photographs, around the same age of a Sweet Briar girl.
I want to hide like anyone else. I want to say the human race is awful, it is capable of such terrible things but that is not enough. If we don’t realize that what causes terrorist to strap on bombs with the intention of killing hundreds of civilians, or soldiers to humiliate and torcher is in us we asking for trouble. The human evil is in all of us.
I am capable of torturing another human being.
I am capable of murdering hundreds of civilians.
I am capable of evil.
If I do not know this I will not be able to stop myself.
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