Dear Killer, It’s Not Your Fault

Within hours of the Boston Marathon bombings, comedian-actor Patton Oswalt wrote a Facebook post that went viral, and then was picked up by the national media. He wrote (in part):

"This is a giant planet and we're lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in awhile, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they're pointed towards darkness.”

This is dangerously wrong. And Oswalt is hardly alone in this stupid thinking.

Every time there is another mass murder in this country, there is a flood of posts on Facebook and Twitter saying that the killer “must be mentally ill” or “would have to be mentally ill” to do such a thing.


Mental illness and murder are not the same thing. To say that the person or people who murdered two adults, and a child, and blew the limbs off of dozens of people yesterday had “snarled wiring” is wrong. Someone made a choice to kill. Calculated choice is not mental illness. It is evil. Evil is rampant in the world, and peace has been removed from the world. Yet lots of smart people that I know personally seem content to stare evil in the face and give it no blame. Down Syndrome, for example, is not a choice. Planting a bomb to slick the streets with innocent blood is a choice. A choice motivated by evil, not illness.

As long as we keep saying to ourselves, our children, and the evil culprits that they are mentally ill, we are encouraging evil. We are saying “The only people in the world who would commit such a heinous act are mentally sick.”

But people who are mentally sick are not accountable for their actions. People who are mentally sick don’t have a choice in their actions. People who are mentally sick don’t have the capacity for evil, for premeditation, for planning.

So why are we giving evil a pass?

Because we are afraid of being seen as religious.

Here are the facts. All accountable men and women must choose between good and evil every day. EVIL is inspired by a real and living Lucifer. He inspires and loves darkness. All GOOD things in the world -- all -- come from Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the light of the world. The only light. All of the light. When a person walks in darkness, that is a choice. When a person performs dark acts, that is a choice. When a person walks in light, that is a choice. Premeditated murder and terrorism, mass shootings, and violence that robs nations, communities, and families of peace should not be labeled “snarled wiring”. The wiring was good. The choices were bad.

The goal of Lucifer is to take away the agency of men and women. We give our will -- our liberty to make choices -- away  one day, one choice at at time, choosing a little darkness, then a little more, choosing to leave the light behind, choosing to love the dark. Jesus Christ is all about agency. He teaches us how to secure our personal will and agency through obedience to the laws that will protect our liberty. If you choose to follow Christ, your agency grows and is protected. If you choose to follow Lucifer -- who will teach you to love creating suffering for others -- your agency is diminished by your own choosing until you are enclosed in a prison of natural consequences from which  there is no easy escape. The love of drugs, violence, lying, and pornography are examples.

We have an obligation and duty to teach these truths to our children. We must talk to our children about choice and consequence. And we should also, as adults, talk to one another about choice and consequence. We must start naming evil when we see it, and not making excuses for people who have clearly and obviously been on a journey of evil.



  1. I agree, nicely said Caleb.

    As far as mental illness, this is as prevalent as physical illness, but probably worse in effect, due to not getting treatment. The lack of treatment occurs b/c of stigma, "unhealthy pride",& often poor medical insurance coverage.

    Your description of the sources of light and darkness in this world is true. Both sources are infinitely more powerful than we are individually. We can choose to submit to the power of light, or by default we will gradually be taken by the power of darkness.

    Although generalizing is less precise, mental illness does seem to have an affect on our freedom to choose light verses darkness, as it can affect our thought processes, feelings, and emotions

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I am not sure why people are so afraid to admit this!

  3. Here! Here! Accountability is sorely lacking in our society. Wonderful post.....

  4. Great perspective! Having mayjor depression and anxiety run in my family, it's a discredit towards them to say that people who willfully committ such horrible things were "mentally ill and couldn't help it." Even if the criminals were depressed or something, you can be mentally ill and still be a good person. It's a choice. Spot on, Caleb!

    I rented your Forgotten Skills book from the library and am intrigued! I have been snooping around Seed Savers and am interested in making some Pioneer Yeast, as well! Chickens would be fun I think I'd rather just buy the eggs from some of my friends who own some, haha.

  5. Wow, well said! Satan's time is running out and things are spiraling down, thank God that he sent his wonderful Son to redeem us! What a blessed hope we have!