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Monday, May 13, 2013

Whole-hearted Evil: Kermit Gosnell



     They say he joked about the size of some of his victims. “Big enough to walk to the bus stop.” They say he kept the feet. Cut them from the bodies and preserved them in jars. Trophies, I think, like the head of a deer, or the skin of a Jew stretched onto a lamp shade. At the trial, he smiled. Found guilty of three child-murders, he seemed surprised. Too evil to be real. But real.
     In Perelandra, by C. S. Lewis, the character Ransom wakes one morning to the discovery of the body of a colorful little frog, crippled and left to suffer. “The whole back had been ripped open in a sort of V-shaped gash, the point of the V being a little behind the head. Something had torn a widening wound backward—as we do in opening an envelope—along the trunk and pulled it out so far behind the animal that the hoppers or hind legs had  been almost torn off with it… He told himself that a creature of that kind probably had very little sensation. But it did not much mend matters.”
     Ransom follows a trail of twenty mutilated animals. It leads him to the character Weston tearing yet another frog, “almost surgically inserting his forefinger, with its long sharp nail, under the skin behind the creature’s head and ripping it open… Then he finished the operation, threw the bleeding ruin away, and looked up. Their eyes met.”   
     Weston “looked at Ransom in silence and at last began to smile… a devilish smile… It seemed to summon Ransom, with horrible naïveté of welcome, into the world of its own pleasures, as if all men were at one in those pleasures, as if they were the most natural thing in the world and no dispute could ever have occurred about them. It was not furtive or ashamed… Ransom perceived that he had never before seen anything but half-hearted and uneasy attempts at evil. This creature was whole-hearted. The extremity of its evil had passed beyond all struggle into some state which bore a horrible similarity to innocence. It was beyond vice…”
          They say he joked about the size of some of his victims. “Big enough to walk to the bus stop.” They say he kept the feet. Cut them from the bodies and preserved them in jars. Trophies, I think, like the head of a deer, or the skin of a Jew stretched onto a lamp shade. At the trial, he smiled. Found guilty of three child-murders, he seemed surprised. Too evil to be real. But real.

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