“Unsalvageable” humans?

An article in Taki’s Magazine refers to some human beings as “The Unsalvageables“.  Here’s an excerpt.

Some of you might remember Anthony Stokes. He was a 15-year-old DeKalb County, Ga., hood rat with a bum ticker who kept getting passed over for a heart transplant because of his “high risk” lifestyle, which included burglary, weapons charges, arson, and neglecting to take his prescribed meds.

Seeing how donor hearts aren’t found on trees (or in Dollar Trees), doctors were reluctant to give a young crime lord in training one of the precious organs. So Anthony’s granmoms or auntie or whoever the hell was raising him went to the local civil rights shysters screaming racism. Social justice gorgon Tara Culp-Ressler, managing editor of ThinkProgress, ginned up a media campaign, which soon went national. Anthony was given his heart transplant in record time by doctors who were basically told, “Perform this operation or you’re Mengele.”

Anthony Stokes was now armed with a new, healthy heart with a kickin’ beat. He was also armed with a variety of handguns, one of which he used on an old lady whose front door he kicked in during a brazen home-invasion robbery. After shooting at his elderly victim but missing, Tony carjacked a passerby, ran over a pedestrian, and lost control of the vehicle, smashing full-speed into a SunTrust Bank sign, closing his personal account for good.

. . .

… one of the ugliest truths about mankind [is that] some people are unsalvageable … Be it Jesus, the government, or any number of other icons, authors, or belief systems, most ideologues claim a savior for whom or for which nothing is impossible, including fixing the unfixable.

. . .

This denial of reality has forged a nation lousy with unsalvageables. I broached that topic last year regarding Baltimore. That city is an example of what happens when an area reaches what I call Critical Mass Unsalvageables (CMU). When you get too many unsalvageables in one area, the area itself becomes unsalvageable … unsalvageables outnumber decent folks to such an extent, people with aspirations are dragged down and reformers are rendered impotent. That’s what unsalvageables do in large numbers; like hive-mind aliens, they instinctively terraform the environment to suit their needs.

There is only one sensible approach to an area that has been afflicted with CMU: quarantine. Give the people who by their own merits can leave as much help as possible to leave. And then wall that s*** up, figuratively if not literally.

There’s more at the link.  The author goes on to discuss “unsalvageables” in the context of nations such as Afghanistan, and US involvement there.

There’s a harsh, unpalatable, but also undeniable truth in the author’s words.  I say that even though I’m a Christian pastor who’s supposed to believe (and preach) that everyone, no matter how steeped in evil, can be redeemed by Christ.  That may be true in the spiritual sense, but it’s not true in the physical, here-and-now sense on this earth.  I’ve served as a prison chaplain, remember?  I’ve seen feral criminals, deprived (through incarceration) of the ability to prey on the public, turn on prison staff and each other and prey on them instead.  It’s instinctive with them, unstoppable and untamable.  They’re innately vicious, predatory and self-centered, to the point where nothing and nobody else matters except that they get whatever they want, whenever they want it.  Their gratification outweighs every other consideration, and they don’t care how they go about satisfying it – or who they hurt in the process.

Therefore, much as I don’t like to admit it:  yes, there are human “unsalvageables” who are beyond our ability to rescue them.  I described some of them in my book on prison chaplaincy.  Their personalities are damaged, flawed or scarred beyond recovery, even though their souls may, by some miracle of grace, make it through the Pearly Gates to the kingdom of Heaven.  I don’t know how God’s mercy works:  I’m just grateful that it does, because I’m going to need an overdose of it myself!

As for “walling them up” or “quarantining” them:  I don’t think that’s practical, because they’ll break out of any quarantine short of incarceration in prison – and some of them manage to do that, sometimes.  I’ve worked in prisons where escapes have occurred, even from a high-security penitentiary.  The time, effort, hard work and ingenuity inmates put into planning their escape would probably make them millionaires if they applied the same qualities to honest work;  but no, that’s too much trouble for them.  They want all the rewards without having to labor for them – except, of course, the labor involved in stealing them.  They’ll apply that same effort to breaking out of quarantine.  The concept of a walled city prison, illustrated in dystopian entertainment such as the movie “Escape from New York“, simply won’t fly in the real world.  There are too many ways out.

The only solution would be to execute the “unsalvageables”.  I don’t think any civilized society could tolerate that – not without destroying its own collective soul from the inside.

What’s the answer to the “unsalvageables”?  I don’t know . . . except to say that I don’t want them anywhere near the society in which I live.  A basic regard for the safety and security of those around me requires their exclusion.  How to do that?  I don’t know that it’s legally, morally or ethically possible:  so the only alternative appears to be to make them so afraid to prey on others that they dare not do so.  Our present justice system doesn’t even come close to that, and there’s no likelihood that it will.

Perhaps, in the end, it all has to come down to Heinlein’s famous dictum:

“An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life.”



  1. Alcatraz and Devil's Island come immediately to mind. Their disestablishment, as I recall, came more from political factors than from any perceived ineffectiveness.

  2. Well, stencil, the USA owns Johnston Atoll. That's pretty far away and can't be easily swum away from.

    As to Christianity saving the body of unsalvageables… It's the soul that matters. Christianity is supposed to save the soul. The leper, with few exceptions, is still a leper, it's just that in Christianity, being unclean in body isn't held against the soul's ability to transcend. (Which, well, is quite different from many other religions of the time, which, well, may have been one of the pros of becoming a Christian.)

    And some people just can't be saved. Sorry. There are people out there that are just evil. Either they choose to be evil, are genetically evil (sumtin's wrong wit dat boy) or taken over by or opened up to spiritual evil (hag ridden or possessed or just working for the forces of evil.)

    I've met some plain evil people. Father- Mother- and Brothers-in-law all fit that mold. FIL just oozed evil, like a black cloud. Sensed that same feeling around some of the not-guilty-by-reason-of-insanity residents I watched over and met at the not-a-prison-for-not-criminally-insane place I worked at.

    Evil is real. Some of is is just from being born with the wrong gene. Some of it is nurture or lack of nurture based. And some of it, I swear, is from the other side.

    Only solution is to stop it by stopping the host, either serious prison or stopping the body. Some people can't or won't be redeemed. You can offer, try, attempt, force, but they are just… unsalvageable. Time to, as a society, face the truth.

    As to transplants going to bad people, there are a whole lot of factors that play into screening a patient. And, yes, one of them is lifestyle. A teacher or a monk or house-parent who doesn't do drugs, is not an alcoholic, doesn't do free-climbing or stop-and-robs, is a much better candidate for the simple reason that their chances of living a long life once the defective part is replaced is so much higher than someone who lives a risky life.

    Transplants aren't just plug-and-play. For the most part the transplant recipient is on really bad drugs for the rest of their life that purposely suppress the immune system in order to not have the host reject the transplant. Which means the transplantee must live a quiet (or quieter) and safer life than before. No going on 6 month outback walks alone. Constant monitoring of temp, blood pressure, intake/output. And constant checks by medical people. These constraints don't fit in well with someone living a risky lifestyle (risky being anywhere from jumping off buildings for fun to random sexual partners without using protection to, well, being a hood-rat, illegal drug user, alcoholic, or stop-and-robber.

    Why? Because, as stated above, pieces-parts are in short supply, and pieces-parts matching is a difficult thing to do. Blood types down to the nth degree, size, shape the whole nine yards so to speak. You just can't order up a new heart and have it show up immediately and perfectly matching your needs. (Well, if you're Communist China you can, as they harvest prisoners and undesirables for pieces-parts for the upper echelon (but that's a whole 'nother story…)

  3. England used their American colonies and then Australia as their criminal dumping ground for decades. Petty thieves and the like were deported, as more serious criminals were simply executed. A significant number of political prisoners were also exiled in the same manner.

    Send these folks to Africa, Peter? Pretty sure we could pay a nominal amount per 'emigrant' to many nations there to take them.

  4. my ninety eight year old mother-navy veteran-once told us that every citizen born in the USA should be issued a sealed single shot pistol containing one round of ammo when they turn eighteen years of age. for the rest of their life, they get one and only one, free shot for any lawful reason they choose. the qualification she made is that they have to be right about the deservedness of the recipient and would face the consequences if they were wrong.
    imagine how courteous and truthful we would all be to one another.

  5. "And some people just can't be saved."

    Of course they cannot. Particularly when what is in view of Who "they" are being saved from.

    During a conversation regarding His own preeminence (an directly in the context of the hypocrisy of humans) Jesus commented upon fear: "But I will warn you whom to fear: fear Him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear Him!"

    God in His mercy saves people from the imposition of His own justice, that was providentially expended onto Christ. This was done for two explicit reasons: "…God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory."

    Being omniscient, He anticipated human objections such an explicit declaration of sovereignty: "You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will? But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this? Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use?"

    This runs hot and straight directly into the boiler room of human arrogance and desire for autonomy.

    The job of a Christian is to be thankful for the mercy that God has had upon him, and to proclaim the Supreme Primacy of Christ as King of kings and Lord of lords. King of everyone and everything, Who will, in His good time, settle all accounts. On that day, everyone will find themselves in one of two conditions: either their sin will be adjudicated based upon the substitutionary atonement provided by Christ, or they will spend eternity under the exacting eye of a holy and righteous God ensuring that His justice is satisfied.

    "And some people just can't be saved."

    Of course they cannot. God has already said so.

  6. Mr Peter, this article stands as why I like reading you. You are a Christian pastor but you have a clear view of the world around you and you see what there is to see and make no bones about it. Too many pastors live in a fantasy world and do not want to view the world as it is of evil. I would love to be in the pews while you spread the Gospel and Sermonize.

  7. The 1978 story of teenager Mary Vincent and her attacker Lawrence Singleton (google their names) opened my eyes to the existence in this world of truly evil individuals. …who by their actions forfeit their right to be considered a member of general humanity, but rather who should be destroyed like a rabid animal.
    Harsh, but how else to deal with genuine evil?

  8. I've thought about this for a long time….

    Quarries/other open pit type mines. The steeper the walls, the better

    Fence around em (maybe minefields) and construct an elevator to the bottom.

    You get a change (or two)of clothes and some shoes every 6 months. Maybe a blanket.

    A medical check once a quarter. Time spent in medical care does NOT come off of your sentence….for every day you spend in the clinic/hospital, another day down in the hole.

    Throw food down once a day.

    Easy(er) to guard. No guards on the inside. Prisoners only. Guards only at the top of the elevator and at the fence(s).

    How or what happens inside the walls, well, that is up to those who chose not to live by the rules of society. If you make your time and get to leave, then the slate is clean. If not, a clean cremation and delivery of your remains to your family free of charge.
    I bet that the recidivism rate would be very low.

  9. Instead of walling them up, set up some kind of attractor, like maybe a machine that dispenses fried chicken or heroin, or maybe just a loud speaker. If they can get what the want there, then there's no reason to go anywhere else. The term 'self cleaning oven' comes to mind.

  10. Execution by the victim at the time of the crime is the most effective means of control possible. You have to arm yourself and be prepared to protect yourself no one else can do it for you.

  11. I remember finding Heinlein's Coventry a real possibility for the evil. He raised an issue about issue but that was an aside. We need to put these people out of society where they only harm each other and they will to the death. I thought the Channel Islands would make a good start and then we might buy up one of the Hawaiin Islands and dump them there and just float in food as required. We could surround the islands with the otherwise useless Riverine surrender monkeys. They probably woudn't surrender armed boats to unarmed convicts but I wouldn't put money on it.

    What I saw was Memphis. I checked it out as a retirement option in '99 and there were things I liked. Then, the city demolished its public housing and spread that blight over every inch of Memphis. Place sucks now. Glad I didn't move there.

    We won't do any of that but we have castle defense and citadel defense and the 2A. Of course people have no idea how fragile a home is when it has ground floor windows and glass doors.

  12. If those most affected by evil people were allowed to punish, money wouldn't be wasted on feral animals, and closure would be quicker.

  13. I recall reading that when Richard Pryor was researching the film Stir Crazy he visited a prison. He spoke to a convict serving life for murder. When he asked him why he'd killed those people he replied "Because they were home." Pryor said he hoped he never went to prison, but he was REAL glad those places existed.

    Mark D

  14. IT's so woke to claim man has no right to the death penalty. I detest the moral superiority they claim. Often they are really sharp people.
    I guess their first world problems are not complete.

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