On October 27, last Saturday, an armed man walked into a Pittsburgh synagogue and proceeded to kill eleven congregants and injure more before he was apprehended. Someone approached me today and asked me, as an intuitive, if I could have looked into this man’s eyes and known he was capable of such a murderous rampage. I didn’t know how to respond in that moment, but it got me thinking: how do I “know” when someone embodies darkness and would actually act on it? Many times in my life I have met someone and got, for lack of a better word, a “bad” feeling or knowing. I tend to avoid using the word “evil” because it’s a religious concept. But, truth be told, I believe there are evil people in all walks of life looking to inflict terror or cruelty in any way they can. Human beings encapsulate the whole spectrum of light and dark. Not all darkness is bad and not all light is good. Oftentimes someone portrays an image of love, solidarity, and compassion, but once you spend more time with them you can see the seething anger and disgust brewing inside. We are living in a world where people have multiple identities, a result of social media. You can have a perfectly civil encounter with someone, a pleasant conversation, only to find out on their Facebook page, or Twitter, that they’re racist, anti-semitic, misogynistic, etc. Or, you encounter a person who’s drunk, disorderly and obnoxious, and come to know that they’re extremely philanthropic and rescue blind dogs with three legs. Humans are complicated and their motivations complex and not easily understood in a traditional way.
But, there are people so deeply broken and damaged that no amount of love or therapy can rehabilitate a blackened, rotten, repugnant interpretation of the world. So, can I tell if someone will proceed to commit a heinous crime? The answer is no. Lots of people, if not all, have murderous thoughts all the time. (I’ll kill you if you…fill in the blank). I’ll read about some brutal act and think the world would be a better place if the perpetrator never lived. There are people I’ve known or encountered who I’ve found abhorrent. They may not be criminals, but it wouldn’t make me bat an eyelash if they were no longer here. I don’t predict the future and it’s really not possible to know who will follow through on these terrible antisocial impulses that emanate from the darkest recesses of their mind, and, conversely, who will have those thoughts but not act on them.
I am horrified by the number of guns in The United States. So many people are packing heat wherever they go, the supermarket, the movies, out to dinner, etc. The Beatles said “all you need is love”, and maybe so, but human evolution is nowhere near embodying the beauty and profundity it would need in order to live accordingly. The reality is I have to live my life; I can’t hide even though an event like this makes me want to. This despicable attack happened the day after I arrived here in paradisiacal Monterrey, Costa Rica, where there’s no television. Usually when a crime like this occurs I’m glued to CNN for hours alternating between a state of shock, tears, and straight up anger. Being so far away and reading the headlines online and speaking to my mother about it, I feel a little differently. I’m removed from the immediacy. I’m not watching the visuals, looking at the victims faces, hearing the desperation and cries of their loved ones whose lives have been changed forever. I’m here with horses for the next two and a half weeks. They are authentic, pure animals who radiate unconditional love and acceptance. I will embrace this fact and surrender to all the possibilities right here in front of me. I don’t know what’s to come, but I still have hope.