Evil Knows No Social Class

Every Friday my syndicated column appears in a bunch of newspapers in southeastern Ontario and Saskatchewan.  This week, I want to talk about evil, where it is found and what to do with it.

This week’s column deals with a horrible murder that took place in Ontario, the province where I live, just a few weeks ago. Tim Bosma went missing from his Ancaster home right when I was in the middle of a speaking tour in that neck of the woods, so I saw his posters everywhere, and just really feel strongly about this case.

Tim advertised his truck on kijiji; two guys came by to see it, and he took them out for a test drive. He was never seen again. Millard was arrested a week later, and Tim’s remains were found on Millard’s property.

Tim was a strong Christian (well, he still is, as now he is face to face with his Saviour). He and his wife Sharlene and their 2-year-old daughter attended the Ancaster Christian Reformed Church, which has come alongside them wonderfully. I just ask that you keep that family in your prayers. How absolutely awful to have your husband killed like that.

Ancaster resident Sharlene Bosma spent Mother’s Day in agony, wondering about the fate of her husband Tim. After taking two guys out to test drive a truck he was selling, he was never seen by his family again. His body has now been found.

Police charged aviation heir Dellen Millard. Bosma’s truck had been located at his mother’s house. He had been identified as having been with Bosma. Yet when he was taken into custody, his lawyer, Deepak Paradkar, expressed incredulity that the police would zero in on his client. According to the CBC, Paradkar said, “He’s a very unassuming, humble person. He’s intelligent, well-educated and financially well off, so there’s no motive here.” He went on to note that Millard had attended the Toronto French School. How could someone who attended an elite private school be suspected of doing such a thing?

Forgive me for feeling a little sick to my stomach at that statement. Evil knows no social class. I do not know whether Millard is guilty or not; but I find this “why would a wealthy person do this?” statement offensive in the extreme. Are we supposed to believe that rich=good and poor=bad?

A few years ago I read a brilliant book by psychiatrist M. Scott Peck of The Road Less Traveled fame. In People of the Lie, he wrote about the most frustrating part of his practice: coming face to face with evil. And evil people, he thinks, can’t be cured, short of a major spiritual intervention. What they need is a priest, not a doctor.

Over and over again Scott Peck saw in his office people whose state of mind couldn’t be explained by their upbringing, or by psychiatric theory, or by conditioning. He saw people who chose to lie when the truth wouldn’t have harmed them. He saw people who cared nothing of those around them, while still giving the impression that their love could not be questioned. He saw people who would lie to your face, but when accused of it would question your sanity. These people were dedicated to deception for one reason: to deflect any responsibility for their own moral choices.

It’s not the fact that evil people do wrong that is so terrible, says Peck. All of us do wrong. But, Peck says, “the central defect of the evil is not the sin but the refusal to acknowledge it.” It’s narcissism to the nth degree.

And these people are everywhere. They’re doctors, and lawyers, and executives. They’re married. They look outwardly normal, but they cause chaos wherever they go. Many of us have experienced this in our families or at our workplaces. There’s someone we could never quite get along with, but every time we question them they turn it around so that we’re the ones with the problem. They can’t be pinned down. They’re slippery. They’re slimy. And they’re scary.

Peck ended his investigation weary and disheartened. Psychiatry does not have the answers for evil people. They can’t be “cured”, except perhaps by an exorcist. Therefore, it’s time to call a spade a spade and not muddy it up with diagnoses making it sound as if these people aren’t culpable.

So, Mr. Paradkar, I don’t know if your client is guilty, but I do know that rich people can cause havoc just as much as poor people can. And until we admit that evil has no bounds and no excuse, we’ll be living a lie as much as they are. Instead of lies, let’s tell the truth: Evil exists. Evil can be anywhere. And evil needs to be resisted, not excused.

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  1. “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?” – Jeremiah 17:9 (NASB)

    • Michelle du Toit says:

      Man’s problem is NOT environment,
      Man’s problem is NOT education,
      The root problem is a wicked heart, where a sin-nature rules. The sin-nature is the cause of all wars, crimes, and man’s inhumanity toward his fellow man! The ONLY solution for the sin-nature is the CROSS of CALVARY!
      Romans 3: 9-10, is what unsaved man really is.

  2. It always drives me crazy and breaks my heart when society (the media in particular) tries to find reasons why someone did an evil thing. Usually they end up blaming the parents. How man evil acts have been committed by people who grew up in somewhat normal homes? Their parents weren’t perfect but they were FAR from horrible. But the media latches on to the idea that it MUST have been something the parents did and rakes the poor parents, who are grieving over the fact that their child could do such a thing, over the coals. I don’t think society is comfortable with the fact that sometimes there is no explanation. And analyzing all the What Ifs and Should Haves is absolutely not productive, especially if you are not personally acquainted with the individual you’re What Ifing and Should Having.
    Melissa recently posted…Why I Don’t Miss Cable.My Profile

  3. LindieS says:

    And who’d a thought that a commander of one of the most important military bases in Canada lead a double life. That of a commander and a psychopath?

  4. I remember when I was a teenager, the BTK killer was caught and I asked my dad what could make a man do such horrible things. He told me that what we often forget is that there is evil amongst us and sometimes evil comes in the form of man. We try to make excuses for their behavior, trying to make sense of it all, but the only explanation is that evil has a firm grasp on them. Some men just aren’t driven by feelings, money, or power. They do what they do because they enjoy inflicting pain and watching people suffer. And what’s really scary is that people like that are all around us and we often don’t even realize it.

  5. It’s interesting here in the U.S.: the government will give a security clearance to someone who has been convicted of murder, but not to someone who has bad credit (no matter the circumstances).

  6. I always appreciate your insights, Sheila. I was struck by the same comment from Millard’s lawyer and wrote about it
    on my blog. If you’re interested, you can check it out here:

  7. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps what the lawyer meant was that there was no motive to steal the truck because his client could have easily afforded to buy one himself? This argument would only fly if the only possible motive was theft. I agree that evil knows no social class – just trying to look at the other side to see why he would say something that otherwise sounds so odd. I pray for Tim’s family. I know the pain his children are going through because I have been there too.

  8. Count me also, as one who shakes his head at how many people deny the obvious, that evil does exist. For the suspect’s attorney to state that his client wouldn’t do such a horrible thing, because he’s rich and went to an affluent school, displays a total ignorance of human nature. It reminded me of many years ago, when the tennis superstar John McEnroe was having one of his famous on court tantrums. When I told a co-worker that I thought Mr. McEnroe was behaving like a spoiled little brat, he replied: ‘Yeah…but he’s a ‘rich’ spoiled little brat.’ As if all that money excused him for his bad behavior.

  9. There is a reason for all the evil in this world – his name is satan. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). In other words, with the demonic.” John Eldredge has an excellent blog post on this that he wrote after the Newtown massacre in the U.S.

  10. ButterflyWings says:

    It comes down to lawyers will say anything to defend their clients. If the accused was poor, he’d tried to claim that was some reason for not being guilty.

    But yes, there is a huge problem in society with thinking that people who are “respectable” couldn’t possibly commit evil acts.

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