What drives a man to be capable of evil? Is evil born into us, or are we always a victim of our circumstances?
On the third of January a tragedy occured in Laos, one that could have been easily avoided. A thirty eight year old man lured his twenty four year old wife into the forest of the northeastern Xieng Khuang province then murdered her with an axe blow to the spine. He committed this act as part of a plan to create a louk lord, a mystical talisman that has legends surrounding it about how it gives it’s owner great power and riches. The man planned to talk to ghosts with the aid of the louk lord and get them to give him the lottery numbers that he hoped would change his situation. Failing that he would have been able to sell the louk lord to the highest bidder for an extremely high asking price. However, it wasn’t the murder that would create the louk lord. These can only be made in a ritual using the foetus of an unborn babies. That’s right folks, this guy murdered his young, pregnant wife and cut the three month old foetus from her body. The man has since confessed to his crime but wont tell investigators where the body of his unborn child is.
So let’s re-examine this for a second. This guy is so poor that he holds the lives of both his wife and their unborn baby to be secondary to getting some cash in. People in the surrounding area would be willing to part with a small fortune for something that can only be made using the body of an unborn baby and would have been willing to pay him for it even after his pregnant wife disappeared. Either someone somewhere has bought the louk lord or it has been taken by one of the investigating officers, presumably to be used for the purpose it was created.
So back to the original question – what drives a man to evil?
One could argue in this case that the man would never have thought to do such a thing if he hadn’t been so poor or if he was born in another country free from such superstitions. One could also argue that his blatant disregard for human life would have driven him to find another way to profit from his wife and child, and that this murder may well be the lesser of two evils. The truth is we’ll never know what could have changed and, given enough time, we’ll forget about this as more immediate events draw our attention. The human mind is capable of dealing with the greatest of evils as a triviality, compartmentalising these things until they just don’t affect us given the right circumstances. What drives a man to be capable of such evil? We’re all just born that way.