Dehumanization – The comfortable way out

I saw a short news report by the name “Catching A Monster“. It was about Peter Scully, a man who made videos torturing and molesting children, and then selling the videos internationally through the deep web. I came across his name when lurking around the depraved section of the swedish forum Flashback.

Looking through what people had to say on YouTube there’s the type of comments anyone should expect when we’re talking about people who do terrible things: “They’re not human. They don’t deserve to be viewed as human.”

Well, first of all, why would you act like humanity is some kind of honorary medal? You’re acting as if human beings in general are awesome. They’re not. They’re morons.

Second of all, people saying that this dude is a monster and shouldn’t be viewed/treated as human are naive. This is a part of humanity, whether you like it or not. That man is a member of our species. So are Hitlers nazis, the Islamic State, the people who performed the Armenian genocide, Japan’s “rape of Nanking” in 1937, and so on, the list of atrocities committed by man through time is long.

By dehumanizing people who do horrible things you’re moving the problem away from mankind. Thus you’re removing man’s responsibility and that makes it real easy not to think about it deeper than the surface. It’s simple-minded to solely dismiss someone as evil, it’s much more challenging to understand how someone would be able to do something terrible and why people are what they are.

As soon as you choose to dehumanize someone you’re opening yourself up to becoming as disgusting as them, by saying: “Only they are capable of evil. Not me.” And history has many examples to offer proving you otherwise. Sure, you might not rape and murder kids, but that’s not the only horror that could come from you choosing to stop viewing certain people as people.