Why I think twice before calling someone Evil

This year Robert Black died. He was a serial killer and paedophile. And, together with a long line of others before and after him, the newspapers branded him “Evil” and a “Monster”.  I do remember in 1994 I was struck by these headlines about Robert Black because I felt uncomfortable with them. And now I have cause to ask myself “Why?”

When I call someone “Evil” and a “Monster”

1) I’m using lazy shorthand

2) I can sweep distasteful acts under the carpet without reflecting on their true significance—in other words I’m avoiding pain

3) I am disconnected from humanity and devoid of compassion

Now, you may say This is all very well. But what about the victims? Those of you who know something about me and my history will know that of course I empathise with victims. But this post is not about victims—it’s about perpetrators. And interestingly it demonstates that, perhaps, I am capable of rainbow thinking after all!

In this 3 minute recording I explain a little more. Please listen and do share your views:


What do you think? Is it helpful to call people a monster and evil? Why do we call people “Monsters”?


4 Comments Add yours

  1. I made the mistake of saying someone was evil but realized what I meant was that the acts they committed are evil…though I am sure I would use that word to describe some people.


  2. bethanyk says:

    I really really like this. Listening to your words was very impactful. I had never really thought of this label we put on these people who do these horrible crimes. Do we lack a better term? Abhor, unfathomable, horrific, cruel, disgrace to humanity….there are many terms we can use to describe someone’s character that does not put them on a shelf as an unmentionable because we have been so lazy as to just call them monsters. Now I do agree with the monster term. I think it sums up what our idea of a monster is. Something that is a greatest fear, someone that does inhuman and unconscionable acts agains humanity, something that is the worst nightmare of children. I agree with monster and yet I also agree that labeling someone with one word does not fully put them in a category that they deserve because of their crimes. They are a human being who has committed these crimes. Just to say , “he’s evil” almost doesn’t make him ACCCOUNTABLE. If he is a merely a monster or merely evil then he cannot be accountable for these things. These are my thoughts on what you’ve posted.


    1. So sorry for the delayed response. I’ve been following you “in the background” so to speak. I like very much what you say and you came straight to something that I had missed: that people need to be accountable. Somehow I “forgot” that. It’s an interesting discussion and thank you xx

      Liked by 1 person

      1. bethanyk says:

        That’s so sweet. I follow everyone too and think and ponder and send my love and prayers out to those who share their stories like you.


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