Great, Satan

A Weekly roundtable on the subject of evil


"Most crimes are [evil], as far as I'm concerned. Just the fact that you don't care about other people or their property, that's evil. It might be something as small as ripping off a kid's bike, all the way up to molesting a child. It's easy to tell right from wrong: one's right, and one's wrong. The worst crimes for me are sex crimes on children. I had to deal with one boy who was six or seven who'd been molested and raped by his sister and a female cousin for four years. He'd talk about the occasions like they were nothing. 'Yeah, they'd take my thingy and stick it inside 'em.' 'Your thingy?' 'Where I go pee-pee out of.' He'll be totally screwed up by this and may even become a sexual predator himself. Evil." Darren, cop, Long Beach.


"It's the movie I just saw, which was Crossroads with Britney Spears. I feel all tainted now." Anonymous twentysomething girl, currently unemployed, currently pees on guys for money.


"This was at the peak of the civil war, the early '80s, and the whole city was under military curfew. One of my associates in the student movement, a fellow economics major, disappeared around this time. Then so did two other guys I knew—and who knew me. I hid out in a janitor's closet on campus for six weeks. Each night, I had nightmares that the killers had entered the building and were tiptoeing toward me in the dark. They never did. After about a month, just after dawn, all three of my friends were discovered where they had been dumped—probably from the back of a military jeep—right in front of the university's main entrance. They were naked and covered in bruises and had been rolled up like mummies with barbed wire. Sometime either before or right after they died, their penises had been chopped off and stuffed in their mouths. It was a long time ago. I don't have the nightmares anymore, but I can still picture that image." Jose Cerro, who asked that his real name not be used, studied socialist economics in Managua, Nicaragua, in the early 1980s. There, he met his future wife, Marta, who took part in the Sandinista uprising when she was 13 years old and was wounded by a .50-caliber bullet fired from a U.S.- made helicopter gunship. Cerro never became an economist. A Spanish-language teacher who earns about $5 per day, he lives in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, just blocks from the town's military base.


Belinda: Ay, but you know we must return good for evil. Lady Brute: That may be a mistake in the translation. Sir John Vanbrugh from his playThe Provok'd Wife, which was very popular while being attacked as immoral. Vanbrugh wrote it in 1697, five years after serving a jail term in France for espionage.   "I asked someone about this the other day. I said, 'Isn't it weird, when you take the most disenfranchised group of people, you find oppression and discrimination even within them? Do you think that's just what we do?' And he said the people who are the oppressors are role models for the oppressed, so when the oppressed reach that position, they carry on the tradition. And so you would need a big lightning bolt to come down and start us over. So I don't have the utmost faith in the good of humans—but, hey, dolphins? I think they'll do okay without us!" Diana Meier, youth services manager at Garden Grove Youth Drop-in Center, an outreach and support facility for at-risk youth in Orange County, recently discovered the dark side of dolphins. "The females swim in pods together, and if a male comes along and wants to impregnate a female, he kills off all the young she already has so only he can propagate the species. That made me very sad—like, 'Oh, my God, even dolphins have evil!'"   "I was working a [basketball] game—we're talking eight- and nine-year-olds—and this coach is just screaming at the kids. He's yelling at them to take the ball out. He'd even yell good stuff, like nice shot or nice pass, but always yelling. It was pissing me off, and I was just praying he would yell at me so I could ring him up [assess a technical foul], but he never did. I just thought he was the worst guy in the world. Then the game ends, and this guy comes over and shakes my hand and says he hopes he wasn't talking too loud but that he's worked on the runway at LAX for the past 18 years and he's totally deaf in one ear and partially in the other. Then he turns around, hugs his kid and wheels out this old guy in a wheelchair who I guess was his dad. Damn!" Mike Cleary, Long Beach youth and recreation league basketball referee who says his closest rub with evil on the court was the time "some guy in a rec league game at Jordan High School got so mad he punched a guy, ran over to the sidelines, picked up a chair and started swinging it over his head, saying, 'I'll kill all of ya!'"   "Evil is that which is negative for you and that which you cherish. Good is that which has a positive effect for you and those you hold dear. Both are utterly subjective, and anyone who would tell you otherwise are simply fanatics attempting to bind you with their ideology. Of course, if you disagree with them, guess which label you will merit?" Peter H. Gilmore, high priest, Church of Satan.   "All spirits are enslaved which serve things evil." Percy Bysshe Shelley, whose first wife, Harriet, pregnant from an affair at the time, drowned herself after her husband had abandoned her for the 16-year-old Mary Godwin. Percy then married Mary, who had already given birth to their child, to avoid further bad publicity. Two years later, Mary wroteFrankenstein. Four years after that, Percy drowned in the Mediterranean.  
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