Bad acts don’t necessarily mean people are badI was asked by a reader of a recent essay claiming most people are good, how about the bad?
By: Bernie Hughes, Superior Telegram
I was asked by a reader of a recent essay claiming most people are good, how about the bad?
Her point was that even if bad people are a small percentage, they can do lots of damage: How about them?
So, I decided to give the bad topic a look see.
In the good people essay, I claimed about 95 percent would fall into the good category. I didn’t mention that good people sometimes do a bad thing. They most likely will have apologized for any bad results of that action; most would make themselves a promise they would never do that again. Their conscience bothers them.
But today, we are discussing bad people, people that do many bad things. They appear to be trashing the Golden Rule.
Google listed a long list of evil men. It was a worldly list and didn’t include any Americans. I don’t know if they didn’t believe any existed, or if they thought they shouldn’t be parading our bad news.
The two top men on that evil list were Joseph Stalin, Russian leader in the mid-1900s, estimated to have killed 2.5 million to 10 million people.
Second was Adolph Hitler, which many of us old fogies remember. Hitler caused me to enlist in the army Dec. 10, 1942. He was the German leader in the early 1930s, and is reported to have killed 6 million Jews in the holocaust. I would have probably rated him No. 1.
Today we’re dealing primarily with bad people and not bad actions that good people may have done on rare occasions. Many of us have heard, or know of, people who have done bad things. Media is replete in citing such cases. News media highlight the bad; it must sell. I believe the news media are doing more with good news or so it seems to me. It’s great for us to hear those too.
Were bad people born bad?
I doubt that.
People are born with a variety of pluses and minuses, but we assume most babies are not only cute but good. Something must happen along the way that changed them.
Some may have been children of bad people; they may have learned such habits.
Most of us followed our parents teaching. Most tend to follow the faith of their parents; political beliefs too, and that list goes on.
With other bad people, we can assume that something negative must have happened along life’s way. Their circumstances may not have been normal — not being treated decently in childhood.
Some exceptions may have occurred when they became friends with people who were doing bad things and they followed suit. We hear of mental problems in the mass shooting incidents. We learn that some of those people were taking medications that could well have altered their behavior.
In any case, their bad behavior was learned, adopted.
Knowing that there are bad people, most of us have been taught and warned of certain behaviors, so hopefully, we don’t accommodate bad behavior.
Scams have recently increased, and we are warned to avoid falling into such traps. We know bad behavior does exist, even if most people are good.
An example we should all remember is that all the water in the world will not sink a ship if the water doesn’t get inside the ship. And such with the negative pressures of life, they can’t harm us if we don’t let them in.
The greatest tragedy in our country, is not the bad things that some people do. Fewer bad happenings would occur if conscientious citizens in our democracy did not remain silent.
Bernie Hughes, Ed.D, is a retired educator who resides in Superior. He can be reached at email@example.com