The genetics of evil?

Adam Lanza
Adam Lanza

My knowledge of genetics is limited, to say the least, and by limited I mean non-existent. However, I am not above making an ass out of myself for the sake of spouting my opinion. So if anyone out there is a geneticist and wants to tell me how much of a dumbass I am, please feel free.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook shooting a study was started to look into the genetic makeup of Newtown gunman Adam Lanza to see if there was anything in his DNA that would make him prone to the brutality that he committed. Call me a Luddite if you wish, but I hate this idea for two reasons.

Let’s just say that something is found in Lanza’s DNA that was also found in the DNA of other mass killers. The first thing that comes to my mind is that every criminal defense attorney in the world will have their clients tested and will use this in their defenses stating “You honor, my client couldn’t help himself. He has the evil gene”. And as we all know in today’s society it’s not about personal responsibility but what they can get away with. Then we’ll have mass murderers walking free claiming their rights have been violated if they’re arrested for their crimes.

My other fear is that this ‘evil gene’ is discovered but not everyone who has it ever goes on to commit jaywalking let alone mass murder. But why take that chance? If you’re a family expecting a newborn and the genetic testing turns up the ‘evil gene’ why take chances? Just end the life before it even begins. Sure that’s called eugenics but why should a practice endorsed by one of history’s greatest monsters inconvenience your life. So, what if it’s only a slim chance he could turn out to be the killer? Pregnancies have been terminated for much more trivial reasons such as possible physical defects this is actually helping the world right?

My last fear that anyone possibly carrying this gene that actually survived birth would be stigmatized for the rest of their lives if word ever got that they had it.

I’m all for using every method at our scientific disposal of preventing further tragedies like Newtown but unfortunately, not everyone in our society is mentally capable of grasping what the results of these findings might be. In our society, we are too often ruled by knee-jerk emotion rather than calm analysis.

5 thoughts on “The genetics of evil?”

  1. This isn’t something new really. This is a interesting story about a neuroscientist caught right in the middle of this situation.


      1. Great link by the way. I understand that this has been studied for years but with Newtown in the news so much lately I thought I would use it as an opportunity to express my opinion on it.

        While we possess so much knowledge in our time not all minds are capable of understanding it. It’s the ones that don’t that really scare me.


        1. Your right, there are so many ways this could go wrong. In our desire to understand we might end up giving this behavior an excuse.


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