How could they? It’s a fair question and one that comes up at times like these. We want to understand why people hurt each other. Are the violent actors merely psychopaths who can’t be viewed through the same prism as the rest of us? Some of them are, but not enough to really answer the question. Are we all inherently evil and just waiting for a time, place, or situation to free our natural inclinations? Or do we simply use violence as a means to an end? In Aeon, Tage Rai argues that to understand the motivations behind wanton violence, “we have to risk a kind of understanding that threatens our own values, our own way of life. We have to gaze into an abyss.” I’m not sure the answers here (or anywhere) are entirely satisfying, but it’s definitely an interesting abyss.