Violence is part of our nature
The psychiatrist Hans-Ludwig Kröber on the background to serious acts of violence and the normality of "evil".
Professor Kröber, my three-year-old daughter suddenly asked me: "Dad, are there really bad people?" How would you answer that?
Of course it depends on a child-friendly answer. But if you ask me like this: Of course people always commit acts that we call "evil". That includes a strong score. The expression "evil man" suggests that the source of the evil lies within the person concerned and that this is basically how he is. We condemn the whole person and not just his deed. As a forensic psychiatrist, however, I consider crime and person separately. My concern is to understand the function of the crime in question, its motive, its goal. It always has something to do with the person, with their story and the patterns of thinking and feelings that arose from it, but also with the situation in which this person found themselves. Even the "baddest" person will hardly commit a crime if there is no reason to do so and the situation is unfavorable. On the other hand, since the Nazi era at the latest, we have known that morally strong people are sometimes willing to do terrible things…