Of all the animals, man is the only one that is cruel. He is the only one who inflicts pain for the pleasure of doing it.Mark TwainIt's been a brutal week in the annals of crime. A madman mowed down 49 people at a gay bar in Orlando. Another madman shot and stabbed British MP Jo Cox to death in Leeds. In a German courtroom, a 94-year-old former SS sergeant, Reinhold Hanning, was found guilty of 170,000 counts of accessory to murder at the Auschwitz death camp and subsequently sentenced to five years in prison.
Here in Canada, Dellen Millard and Mark Smich were both found guilty earlier today in the murder of Tim Bosma. Not far away, Michael Rafferty, who with his then-girlfriend Terri-Lynne McClintic sexually assaulted and killed Tori Stafford in Woodstock in 2009, announced he'll be appealing his conviction.
I'll never understand what happens in the minds of people that allows them to cross the line and deliberately end the lives of others. Maybe I'm too naive for my own good, but with every new case that hits our collective radar, I continue to shake my head at the potential for humans to inflict pain and suffering on others.
I recognize that they're the minority, that most of us on this planet are good, kind and caring people. But the very fact that the potential for such darkness exists at the fringe of our species - or, in the cases above, in our own neighborhoods - makes me wonder if there's some higher-order reason for any of this.
Because I can't imagine that any of these people - members of the LGBTQ community, an elected official and mom of two, six million Jews, a young husband and dad, and a girl who loved butterflies and her brother - deserved to have their lives cut short for any reason. I can't imagine why the human condition includes such cruelty, and why we haven't done a better job of somehow dealing with it.
Because there is no justice when a life is taken simply because someone decided that this should be so.