During the last few weeks, I've been reading quite a bit. Regardless of genre, there is a trend in the books I've read to dismiss evil as paranoia. So the protagonist tries to warn someone in the book. It could be the general populace, it could be the heroine or hero, it could be his boss. Whoever he/she's trying to warn dismisses the warning because evil has not been a part of their lives.
The thing is...this dismissal of evil is realistic. Except for those individuals who have demonstrated their badness to each of us personally, we tend to believe everyone else is good. Oh, they're not perfect, but we're comfortable with them.
The few people out there who assert that no one can be trusted are dismissed as paranoid. This is particularly true of children. Yet I suspect that children have a much clearer idea of who is evil and who is not. They see adults as they really are because adults don't prevaricate with them. Children are perceived as powerless. When a child refuses to spend time with an adult, his caretakers should pay attention. Most kids are not paranoid without reason.
Adults dismiss their own feelings of uneasiness when they should be examining those feelings more closely. Our early warning system is there for a reason. Stop. Listen. Look behind the facade. When someone warns you about someone, don't dismiss them out of hand. Instead, make your own observations.
The more power the individual has due to position, the more likely he/she will abuse that power. Are all people in powerful positions evil? No. But we should never let the position blind us to that possibility.
Consider the revelations in the last few weeks regarding abusive priests and Boy Scout leaders. They are classic cases of evil masqueraded by positions of power.
Is this a comfortable subject? No. But evil walks our world. Wishing it would go away will not make it so. Refusing to acknowledge it will not make it disappear. Only with vigilance can we protect ourselves and those around us.
If that makes me paranoid...well, better paranoid than blind. The zombies aren't coming. They're here.