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Does Committing a Single Heinous Crime Make You Evil?

Committing a crime is generally considered bad practice. A parent would be disappointed that their child had broken the law, and once done, you are labelled a criminal. A law breaker must automatically state to any employer that they have been convicted and it follows you through every official avenue, job applications, even volunteering often includes a mandatory criminal records check. But is it too easy to condemn someone technically classed as a criminal as evil? Even someone who has taken a life? Can we ask ourselves that given the wrong circumstances, a different life, that we wouldn’t have done the same in the same circumstances? Is murder black and white and can we honestly just label someone as being ‘evil’ for a single act?

Crimes vary hugely based on the individual circumstances and many state that given an outside threat self-defence on behalf of a family member or friend is completely acceptable. Perhaps violence is already a part of your daily life and you have no choice simply because of where you live. However, once you are convicted for a crime you are labelled as a criminal. Some say this is justified and that those who murder others can never be rehabilitated, and your actions have affected the victim’s family for life. But our prison system is based on the principle of rehabilitation and the idea that people are not inherently evil and can make changes in their lives after a single damaging act which could have been caused by circumstances outside their control. So perhaps the label of ‘evil’ should not be attached freely, even to those who have committed crimes.

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