Profoundly immoral, malevolent, vile, dishonorable, corrupt, depraved -- A quick Internet search for the definition of “evil” returns these terms, all of which might be used to describe the actions of the four individuals in Chicago who abducted and tortured another human being for hours.
In the days following the account of how Brittany Covington, 18, Tanishia Covington, 24, Jordan Hill, 18, and Tesfaye Cooper, 18, kidnapped and tortured a special needs teenager who believed them to be friends, speculations abounded. Why did they do this? Was it politically motivated? Racially motivated? A hate crime? Did these individuals have bad home training? Or was it just evil?
CNN's Don Lemon corrected one of his guests when that guest described what these individuals did as evil: “I don’t think it’s evil. I think these are young people, and I think they have bad home training.”
What an outrageous statement! “Bad home training”? Maybe failing to say, “Thank you” or to hold a door for a stranger classifies as bad home training. And we might rightly wonder where the parents of a disrespectful toddler are. But to abuse, humiliate, and torture a human being while laughing and posting it live to Facebook? What is that?
Just three days ago, the grandmother of Brittany and Tanishia Covington apologized to the victim of her granddaughters. Priscilla Covington told the DailyMail.com, “I am so sorry. I am so sorry. I apologize on behalf of my family to his. That’s all I can say.” Priscilla, who raised Brittany from infancy, also said, “My girl was not raised like that.”
That may answer Don Lemon’s other questions: “Where is your parent? Where is your guardian?” Her name is Priscilla, Don, and she says she didn’t raise Brittany “like that.” So I guess that just leaves us with evil.
If Don Lemon would agree that what these four individuals did to a disabled person is immoral, vile, or dishonorable, then why would he hesitate to call it evil? Why was it easier for Don Lemon to blame home life than it was for him to acknowledge these individuals’ actions were evil? Do we believe certain groups of people can be evil and others cannot? Do we assume certain cultures are more prone to evil? And even more disturbingly, do we now believe that evil can only be connected to certain political views? What a scary thought!
I’d rather we not politicize evil. I’d rather see evil as the effect of sin that it truly is. Evil actions are characterized by the absence of God. Evil people demonstrate a lack of fear or reverence for the Creator and those made in His image. Most of us by reason of living have seen evil wrought upon innocent people. We recognize it immediately. Almost daily we see men driving vehicles over innocent people, bombing public places, or shooting indiscriminately at unsuspecting human beings. Evil people come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Some are citizens of this country, and some are not. Evil people are Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. Evil actions are committed by quiet, reserved people like Dylan Roof, and they are committed by loud, raucous people like Brittany and Tanishia Covington, Jordan Hill, and Tesfaye Cooper.
Don Lemon should not insult conventional wisdom by confusing bratty kids with evil individuals. And neither should we be misled by an obvious worldview masquerading as reporting. We know what evil is.