Confronting Evil in Our Time

That’s right, I said it. The “E” word. Evil. A concept that is not talked about enough these days, even in many of our nation’s churches.

The concept of evil, or an actual belief in it, began to be replaced in the 1960s by sociological theories that sought to explain evil (or cover for it). Theories about socioeconomic condition, and biology and eating too many Twinkies began to replace the age-old belief that there are people out there who are evil. Even those who were eventually judged by most people as evil — those who committed acts that were unexplainable by sociological excuses — were described as people like you and me “who just did a bad thing.” Ted Bundy described himself that way right before his execution. Ever hear that one applied to kids these days? It’s standard operating procedure by the left: “Billy, you weren’t bad … you just did a bad thing.” That takes all the responsibility away from Billy, as apparently his actions occurred in a vacuum, and he bears no responsibility for it or control over it.

What does all this have to do with you?

It has everything to do with you. You have chosen to protect yourself and your family by carrying a firearm and/or other defensive devices for emergency use. But have you thought about what you might be confronting someday: a person who is truly evil?

A person imbued with evil is a person who has no remorse for anything he or she does. Here are just a couple of examples of evil in action. In Charleston, West Virginia, on July 24, a suspect set a woman ablaze with gasoline while she was sleeping on a porch, causing terrible injuries. Police are still searching for the suspect, who had no known connection to the victim. Or check out the New York Daily News piece from June 29 about Frank Yeager of Bucks County, PA, convicted of “hunting realtors” for the purpose of raping them. Yeager personifies evil. Make sure you take a look at his picture. These are just two examples of many recent news stories that define what I am talking about.

I had my first encounter with someone who was evil in about 1980. I was working as the jail paramedic at the Licking County Sheriff’s Office and was responsible for inmate care in the jail. I had been working with both felony and misdemeanor inmates and got along with them just fine. Back then, we had no real hardcore criminal element in the county to speak of. Most of the inmates had done stupid things, sometimes repeatedly, but the ones I had encountered were not evil. (I’m not saying I went out for beers or anything with them after they got released. I’m just saying that none of them were evil.) I hadn’t even encountered evil while working the road as a reserve deputy sheriff at the time.

One of my main responsibilities as jail paramedic was to do an initial health screening — mainly for communicable diseases — for all new inmates entering the jail population. These were normally not a big deal, as it meant time away from a jail cell for the arrivals and they were willing to comply. One day, I encountered an inmate who stood out from all the rest — John Glenn Roe.

Roe was in on a charge of burglarizing a small gun shop in one of the villages in the county. I began the questioning in the usual manner but noticed something immediately different about the guy. Roe never did or said anything threatening to me. He answered all of my questions. But I could feel something different about him that I had not felt about the other burglars housed in the facility. I realized I was, for the first time, feeling the presence of evil.

I told students in my women’s self-defense classes after that time that I knew that John Glenn Roe would someday kill someone. I knew it without a doubt. And I was frustrated that there was nothing I could do about it. I certainly couldn’t go to a judge and say, “Hey your honor, can you lock this guy up for life? You see, I believe he is evil and will eventually kill someone.” That would have been met with skepticism at the very least.

Roe was sentenced to 3 to 5 years in prison, as I recall, and got out in 2½. Soon after he got out, he and a friend of his, whose name I don’t remember, kidnapped a young wife and mother — Donette Crawford — when she stopped at a carryout late at night after work for milk. They kidnapped her from the parking lot and brutally raped her. At some point, they strangled her and shot and killed her. They then dumped her body at the old trash burning power plant in Columbus. I believe both of them got life in prison. Ms. Crawford met evil that night and, sadly, in those pre-concealed-carry-permit days, wasn’t prepared for it.

I guess what I am trying to say is that while you, the concealed carry permit holder or home defender, are a good person, there are others who are totally the opposite — without mercy, humanity or compassion. They are evil. Whether they are carrying out a terrorist attack against people in Boston running a marathon on a beautiful day or confronting you in your home or on the street, these are people whose purpose in life begins with hurting the innocent; that’s their main objective, not a secondary outcome.

You have to be prepared for encountering evil. It will come as a shock when you encounter it and feel what I’m talking about. There is a definite presence that is radiated, and you have to be ready to react to it and not be frozen by it, or you will not survive.

I experienced another brush with evil at the jail during an encounter with a temporary inmate named George Burton. Burton was in our facility from the state prison for additional court hearings. Burton was in prison for life. Several years prior to my encounter with him, he had shot a 14-year-old girl who was working at a small family ice cream shop in the head with a shotgun. Burton did it because he felt she had not filled his milkshake cup full enough. He was bad enough that he was kept segregated from all the other inmates in a solitary basement cell. I felt evil radiating from him when I administered his medications.

37 years ago, there weren’t as many of these individuals out there as I believe there are today, and those manifesting evil seem to come at ever younger ages, and their acts are beyond the pale. Don’t deny it exists. Just be ready for your encounter with evil and be ready to react. Your life and those of your family and friends depend on it.