We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011)


Evil seems like a simple enough thing to describe. It is the opposite of good. In a world of black and white, the hero is good and the villain is evil. Unfortunately for us, the world is not black and white. It is not always that easy to tell good from evil. People are not always upfront with who they are or what their intentions may be and this may rest entirely on their trust level with you or society in general. Parents see more into the heart of their child than anyone else, yet they may be the most blind to the truth that lies within. The horrible school shooting in Sandy Hook, CT is the most appalling of the many recent mass shootings in this country. People who were functioning members of society committing savage acts of slaughter and violence. Now, I’m not saying that this guy who shot up a bunch of Kindergarteners led a perfectly normal life and did nothing wrong before he walked into that school, but my point is nobody ever thought he would do anything like that. Especially his mother and father, right? Maybe.

Any parent who has a special child will have some battle stories to share about the struggles of raising someone who seems indifferent to the pain they cause, whether the child realizes it or not. I use special in a way meaning just that, special, not handicapped. The child may seem perfectly normal to one parent, yet impossible to handle by the other. As the child grows, he may exhibit extremely troubling personality traits that will no doubt have a logical explanation. Kids have ways of attempting to manipulate their parents to get them to do what they want, and it usually starts very early in life. A child drops a stuffed animal. The child cries. The parent picks up the animal and hands it back to the child. The learning has begun. Some children are better at it than others, honing this skill through adolescence and their teenage years. With all the programs now in place to protect children from any kind of mental or physical harm, if the child becomes aware of how to start manipulating their parents in society’s rules then there is very little chance for the parents as they become locked in a situation of raising a potential psychopath. Put another person in the parents’ situation and give them the same information and it’s more likely that the child will receive the help they need, but I truly believe a parent will love their child no matter how they act or what they do. A parent will do anything to see their child happy when everyday seems to be filled with anger and pain. A parent will continue to try for their child if there is the slightest chance of helping them. This leads them past the point of what a normal person would tolerate. Everyone has a breaking point and unfortunately sometimes its not until after tragic events take place.

We hear these descriptions of mass murderers all the time. He kept to himself a lot. He never talked very much in school. As a child he hurt small animals. During sex he enjoys strangling or choking his lover. He had an obsession with knives/guns/fill in the blank weapon. He was extremely personable and charismatic. He was abused as a child. The truth of it is I probably just described half of the world with at least one of those sentences. Evil is all around us, its everywhere. Its in our schools, our neighborhoods, our shopping malls, our offices, our tv shows, our movies. Evil is in more places now than ever before for the simple reason that there are more people now than ever before. The key to fighting this evil is not to make laws that would intend to inhibit it, but to actually not fight it at all and accept this as part of the world that we live in. Having an expectation that pure evil can be stopped by a law is akin to expecting to govern someone’s dreams through bureaucracy. If we succeed in eradicating all evil from the earth then we will have also succeeded in the extermination of the humanity. I’d like to think that there’s a lot of good in humanity and if evil must exist so that we are able to have that, then that’s fine with me.

-Wes Kelly