Hunting The Gene For Evil


We’ve got the killer’s DNA
And you know what that means—
We’re going to look for evil
In some broken set of genes

We’re on a search for evil’s cause
And here’s an added plus:
We’re looking for an answer
That will distance him from us.

So, yeah, I’m behind the others on this (the Cuttlekids are still here, so I’m having fun in meatspace), but it seems there will be a search for answers in a place pretty much guaranteed to find something utterly meaningless and useless… which is exactly what is wanted.

You already know I think most of the public hypothesizing has been an exercise in self-protective othering; we see a monster who looks remarkably like us, and need to distance ourselves from him. Whether we blame the removal of prayer from classrooms (good people like us who want prayer would never have the sort of evil in our souls that could cause behavior like this), mental illness (the outsider label of choice for centuries), or an unfortunate genetic predisposition (it’s not his fault; he’s just different from us normal folk), we are pursuing an explanation that allows us to look for blame rather than cause.

There are abundant causes we can point to in the environment–but those are things that apply to the rest of us, as well as the killers that make the headlines. Mind you, most killers don’t make the headlines. We usually kill people by ones and twos, and hardly ever make the national news. Chicago, today, hit 500 homicides (oops–499 and counting); New York is on track for a 400-homicide year. We know that New England has the lowest regional rate of murder, and that the South has (by far) the highest. This is not a genetic difference, this is a difference of cultures, of economics, of education. But these are differences we could actually look at meaningfully, with an eye toward making changes. Maybe that’s why we’re looking at genes instead.

Far better to have something that we cannot change, that allows us to blame someone else, than to find something we *can* change if we accept that there are no monsters, just people like ourselves, and that it’s normal people, not monsters, who are killing one another by the thousands every year.

Comments

  1. says

    Importantly, the murder rate in New York is FAR below the historic highs.

    So, either we’ve evolved over less than a generation…or…oh, I dunno, sensible gun control laws and a changing culture away from violent gangs that control the crack trade is making a difference there…maybe?

  2. Randomfactor says

    I suspect based on the history of these events that the mass-murderer gene is located somewhere on the Y chromosome and is also correlated with the gene for caucasian skin-coloration.

    That should narrow the search down quite a bit.

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