'Evil visited this community'.

Position:COMMENTARY
 
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Byline: James P. Ehrhard

As reported by the Washington Post, over 200 million weapons are in circulation among the American civilian population.

'Evil visited this community."

Those were the words of Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy the day that Adam Lanza executed 20 children below the age of 8 and six adults at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Although, sadly, the stories of mass shootings seem numerous of late, the massacre of 20 young children sitting at their desks in their elementary school as the Christmas holiday approached has struck a particularly deep nerve with the American people writ large.

I believe this is because in our collective subconscious we felt that even in the world of the deeply depraved, young children sitting in the elementary school classroom are off-limits to massacre by gun. A person may be deranged, but he must see that, right?

Yet it is evil that does not see such a limit, and Mr. Malloy was correct to use that specific term.

St. Thomas Aquinas in the 13th century believed that evil was not an independent thing, but rather the lack thereof -- to him, evil was the non-existence of good.

Such Thomist philosophy is of course metaphysically complex, but attempting to put it in a simplistic way, a 5-year-old kindergartner knows nothing but the joy of life and the innocence of discovery: He is filled with good. You see such an unanalyzed moral clarity in the laughter of such a child. Yet an evil person lacks any innate sense of such good innocence. Under Thomist thinking, this privation of the good, is evil.

More often than not our society fails -- as manifested through the 24-hour media world surrounding us -- to accept the fact that evil people do evil things for no other reason than that they are evil.

Already we hear discussion that the shooter was mentally disturbed and psychotic, such that he is not culpable. This talk may be a consequence of the need to fill airtime or Internet space, but a disservice is done to society in that we fail to face the hard truth of existence.

Evil exists and sometimes cannot be avoided. A person who executed 20 young children at point-blank range with numerous shots into each young body is evil, and no excuse is to be made for his actions.

The second response from the 24-hour media world is to blame the guns in the shooter's hand, and...

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