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10 Examples of the Utter Depravity of Mankind

by FlameHorse
fact checked by Matt Hayes

Kurt Vonnegut, in an interview on the Daily Show, gave his opinion on human nature. “We are terrible animals,” he said. “I think that the Earth’s immune system is trying to get rid of us, as well it should.”

Here are ten reasons why this might be considered an accurate diagnosis of the human condition. For the sake of variety, the well-known cases of wars and genocide have been largely excluded, as most of the major examples have appeared many times on Listverse.


Happy Slapping

Happy slapping is one of the most idiotic fads ever devised. It began in 2004, primarily in the United Kingdom, and spread quickly into Europe. It did not catch on very well in America. Happy slapping began about the time the first true smartphones debuted, and involves at least two people, almost always teenage boys, attacking a total stranger with a simple slap to the face. One person films it via smartphone or video camera, and then the group runs away laughing to post it on the Internet. These videos are quite popular on YouTube.

This is how the fad began, but it didn’t take long for gangs of youths to use it as an opportunity to severely beat and rob a stranger. Well over three dozen people have been reported killed around the world as a result of this fad, while one member of the group films the murder, and then uploads it to the Internet. One of its more hideous incarnations presented itself in 2008 in England, when the two boys who intended to happy slap a stranger gave their phone to a teenage girl and said, “Film this.” She promptly did so, and stood by, calling for no one, while the boys punched and kicked a man to death.

Incidents of happy slapping still occur around the world, but they are extremely rare for two major reasons. First, the law enforcement agencies of the nations in which it is most popular, especially Great Britain, have learned to enact harsh penalties for it. The two boys mentioned above received six and seven years in prison; the girl two years. Second, it was only a matter of time before a group of youths happy slapped the wrong person. One of the more well known examples of this involves two men happy slapping a woman walking by with her boyfriend beside her. The boyfriend turned out to be a professional Russian boxer, who promptly floored them. 

Another incident, much closer to this lister’s home, took place in April 2011, in Raleigh, North Carolina, when three boys attempted to happy slap an old man passing on the sidewalk. That old man was an ex-British SAS Commando, who put all three of them in the hospital. Yet, the fad has not yet died, and it proves that some people still derive a simple enjoyment out of beating others up.




There is nothing wrong with humans hunting animals for the purpose of eating meat, even if high-powered, scoped rifles do eliminate the skill factor. But poaching refers to the illegal killing of animals for any reason. Almost all the most notorious examples stem from Africa, which harbors a breathtaking percentage of the world’s most magnificent animals.

Poachers rarely kill for the fun of killing. They kill for the money in the carcasses. Silverback gorillas are still poached for their hands, which are cut off and used as ashtrays. Elephants are killed for their ivory tusks, despite the nearly global ban on ivory sales. Anyone carrying ivory, who is caught in an airport attempting to enter or exit a country, is immediately arrested and tried. The ivory is confiscated and burned to ash. Yet poaching persists, because ivory is enjoyed by the rich, primarily in Asia, as jewelry. A single tusk will sell for $50,000. Elephants are also killed for their lower legs, which are hollowed out into wastebaskets.

Rhinoceros horns are still used in traditional Chinese “medicine,” even though all modern medical establishments in the world have denounced rhino horns as having zero medical value. They are made of keratin, which is what human hair and fingernails are made of. Some Chinese insist that they cure fever and muscle spasms. A single horn can sell for $250,000. Poachers are 100% indifferent toward the rarity of these species, and should they hunt one to extinction, they move on to another. Wildlife conservationists have started tranquilizing rhinoceroses and sawing off their horns to protect the animals. 

The most disgusting example of poaching is the annual slaughter of 50 tigers for the purpose of eating the penis. There are only 3,000 to 4,000 tigers left in the wild. It is stubbornly believed, throughout Asia, to cure impotence. It does not. And even with Viagra on the market, some rich Chinese men refuse to stop paying up to $6,000 to have a tiger killed in the wild so the penis can be eaten in a soup. At their present rate, poachers are due to extinguish all tiger species in the wild by the 2050s.




This topic has been discussed in depth several times on Listverse, so let us examine one specific example, the dragging death of James Byrd, Jr. On 7 June 1998, in Jasper, Texas, Byrd – a black man – accepted a ride from three white men, Lawrence Brewer, John King, and Shawn Berry. Berry and Byrd had passed each other many times in town. Instead of taking Byrd home, they took him to a wooded country road and beat him nearly to death, breaking 4 ribs, his jaw, his left shin, his left orbital bone, knocking out almost all of his teeth, and rupturing both his testicles by smashing them with a wrench.

Then they chained him by the ankles to Berry’s trailer hitch and dragged him for 3 miles down the road. They had pulled his pants down so it would hurt more. They testified to this much. He survived until his body swung out from behind the truck at a turn and struck a cement drainage culvert, ripping off his head and right arm. The three men then deliberately scattered his body all over town, dumping most of it in a black cemetery.

They were arrested when police found in the middle of the highway the wrench, with Berry’s name on it, that they used on Byrd. They found a Zippo lighter inscribed with “Possum,” which was King’s nickname. The crime is sufficiently despicable to make it onto such a list as this, but its most odious aspect is the fact that none of the three men has ever apologized. Brewer was executed on 21 September 2011, smiling as they strapped him to the table. He deliberately ordered a prodigious last meal, and then scattered it all over his cell. He spat in the priest’s face, and had this to say, “He was a g__damn n____r and I hope his family never recovers. As far as any regrets, no. I have no regrets. No, I’d do it all over again, to tell you the truth.”

King, who is awaiting execution, wrote Brewer letters attesting to the same absence of remorse and refusal to repent, and answered a prison psychiatrist, in response to the question, “Why did you do it?” 

“Go f__k yourself. I’m not afraid to be murdered for doing what’s right. That son of a bitch was a f__king black bastard, and he’s burning the “f__k in Hell right now. God is white.”

The online white supremacist community cheered the crime and called it a great day for whites, America, and God. They staged freedom marches around the courthouse during the trial. Berry has wisely never publicly shared his partners’ sentiment, and his silence spared him the death penalty. He will be in 23-hour lockdown until at least 2038.


The Gleiwitz Incident


Rather than bore you with another exploration of war, especially WWII, or the Holocaust, let us take a look at Hitler’s official casus belli, or “case of war,” for invading Poland. He had spent decades scientifically brainwashing the German populace with vitriol against the Jews as hoarders of land and wealth, ripe for the righteous plunder. But Hitler was no fool, and Mein Kampf alone was insufficient to gain the near-absolute support of Germany.

So, on 31 August 1939, the day before WWII officially began, a group of some 15 armed Poles attacked the German Gleiwitz radio station for the purpose of broadcasting anti-German propaganda. The message hit the airwaves, and one person died. Hitler promptly used this as an official pretext for invading Poland.

Except that the Poles were really Gestapo stormtroopers in Polish uniforms. They were under direct orders from Reinhard Heydrich himself to attack the radio station and send the communique. Heydrich thought up the attack per Hitler’s general wish to contrive a reason for war that would seem legitimate to the German people. During the attack, they murdered a captured German named Franciszek Honiok, an outspoken Polish sympathizer, by injecting chloroform directly into his heart. They then shot his corpse several times and left him at the scene.

Thus, we may fairly say that not only was Hitler a megalomaniacal, mass-murdering despot, but that he even initiated WWII for flagrantly dishonest reasons; he was a monster and a liar. He wanted more land for Germany, especially if it meant taking that land from Jews. He wanted them dead. He loved the idea. Germany’s official explanation of what happened at Gleiwitz radio station did not convince any of the major Allied powers. The dishonesty is no real surprise, but it offers a strong argument against whether Hitler or most of the Nazis felt any genuine remorse on their deathbeds. 


Kenneth Pinyan


You may not remember the name, but it’s most likely you remember his humiliating and disgusting cause of death. On 2 July 2005, he died of acute peritonitis, which is inflammation of the inner lining of the abdomen, after he allowed a full-grown Arabian stallion to engage in anal intercourse with him. The stallion tore a hole through his colon, and in addition to horse semen, his intestinal contents, including stomach acid, leaked into his abdominal cavity. 

This is a surgical emergency, but Pinyan, who was with two accomplices who also engaged in equine bestiality, repeatedly refused medical treatment, since his activity would be discovered. He finally consented to go to the hospital when the agony became intolerable, but by then he could not have been saved. One of his friends told a nurse that he was seriously injured in the colon, and then disappeared before paramedics entered the emergency room. Pinyan was dead on the floor.

It’s a ridiculous moment in our history, worthy of the most wounding, hard-edged humor. So why does it make the list? Because there were three men involved, all standing naked around stallions, filming each other having sexual intercourse with them, waiting their turns, and most importantly, the 40-acre farm on which this took place did not belong to any of them. They were trespassing for this purpose. They distributed their home movies to friends, acquaintances, and total strangers who communicated via the Internet their involvement in zoophilia. Pinyan’s film alias was “Mr. Hands.” Thus, the question is repugnantly answered: yes, there are lot of people around the world who do this, and who try their best not to get caught.


Animal Blood Sports

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The single most despicable crime humanity has ever perpetrated on other animal species is forcing two animals to hate each other and fight to the death. The title refers, here, to dogfighting, cockfighting, horse fighting, and so on. And why do we do it? Money and bloodlust. It is a gambling enterprise, foremost, and only one for degenerate gamblers. Gambling on a horse race is not criminal, not even sinful by most estimations. 

But gambling on two roosters fighting to the death indicates a lack of care for the wellbeing of a dumb animal that does not understand why it suddenly hates the animal facing it. These blood sports are crimes against the very minds of the animals. Horse fighting is very popular in Japan, and it’s just what you’d imagine: two horses biting each other’s faces and necks, rearing onto their hind legs and striking each other in the heads with their fore-hooves, all while spectators exchange cash and banter. 

Among the most well known incidents of this crime is that of Michael Vick, the American professional football player who was caught and imprisoned for running a dogfighting ring. The losing animals of these enterprises, regardless of the species, are almost always executed out of the owner’s hatred at having lost a bet. Vick personally drowned, shot, and electrocuted over two dozen pitbulls and bull dogs.



Lynndie England

Torture has been covered in many ways on Listverse, but consider it from a somewhat more existential standpoint. The concept of torture is uniquely human; no other species has ever been known to engage in this behavior. Perhaps the closest any animal would come to it is a cat when it plays with a mouse before killing it. But does the cat do this because it enjoys causing pain? Humans do, and the most infamous torturers throughout history have very rarely expressed a regret for anything except being caught.

Serial killer Dean Corll raped and killed teen and preteen boys, never girls, and he never killed them until after he had had his fill of torturing them. What reason can be given except an enjoyment in hurting other people? Feel free to peruse the old lists of torture equipment invented through the ages. Wonderfully imaginative instrumentation, wouldn’t you say? The simplest methods always seem to work the best: Attila the Hun’s army would castrate its prisoners of war, then boil them to death in oil. Why castrate them if you’re going to kill them anyway? It cannot be for the purpose of demoralization. The only purpose left is delight. When a family member is murdered, the word on the family’s mind is “revenge.” Some take it, some do not, but it is always at least briefly thought of. King Aella of Northumbria, in England, killed a Viking king named Ragnar. Ragnar’s sons caught Aella later and are recorded in some Norse literature as having “cut the blood eagle” on him. This entails tying the victim face first to a stump, cutting open his back, breaking his ribs out of the way, all the while sprinkling salt in the wounds, then pulling out his lungs and laying them across his back like bloody wings. If Ragnar’s sons did it, they did it purely for the satisfaction.


The Consecration of Templo Mayor VI


In 1487, the sixth temple to top the Great Pyramid of Tenochtitlan was consecrated under Ahuizotl, the eighth Aztec emperor. The ruins of the Pyramid complex are a tourist attraction in Mexico City. In order to appease the gods, especially Tezcatlipoca, the god of war, Ahuizotl ordered the sacrifice of over 84,000 prisoners from surrounding cultures. They were all executed in only 4 days. That’s 21,000 per day, or 875 per hour, or about 14 per minute. They were not killed humanely, if there is such a thing; their hearts were carved out of their chests, and then they were decapitated. If you’ve seen the Mel Gibson film Apocalypto, you’ve seen an accurate depiction of this form of sacrifice.

George Carlin referred to this event as “theater.” By the time the farce was over, the spectators walked in blood up to their ankles. It ran like a thin red waterfall down the Pyramid’s steps and is said in the Aztecan literature to have reached all sides of the plaza’s stone pavement by the fourth day. The corpses, along with their hearts and heads, were sowed into the fields of a 6-mile radius as fertilizer for crops.


Suicide Bombings

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The popular conception of the suicide bomber is of a lone male Muslim who decides of his own volition to kill himself along with as many infidels as possible in order to enter Paradise and receive his 71 virgins. The truth is much more complex. It is, understandably, very difficult to talk most people into killing themselves, and the Muslim extremists seek out the manic depressive for this reason. Anyone found to have few friends, or no love life, or any other reason to feel dejected is a prime target, and the standard procedure according to investigative journalists primarily in the Middle East is to bribe the potential bomber with money for his family.

The most nefarious examples of suicide bombings, however, involves formal training camps for the youth in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. The youths are given free food and shelter, and treated very well. In the meantime, they are masterfully indoctrinated into a seething hatred for all things Jewish, American, and Western. “The Great Satan” must be destroyed, they tell these boys and girls, and “the blood of the martyrs” is the only thing that can effect its destruction. 

In the end, most suicide bombers are teens, male and female, who have been systematically taught to believe in things like 71 virgins, or rivers of wine in a world of no hangovers, or any other description of Paradise. They are taught that Mohammed demands suicide bombings to rid the world of all things not Islam. Mohammed did not write anything of the sort in the Q’uran.


Chante Jawan Mallard

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There can be no more depraved act in the theater of human history than the crime Mallard committed on 26 October 2001, in Fort Worth, Texas. She drank heavily and did drugs at a party, then struck a homeless man, Gregory Biggs, on her drive home. She was traveling at least 50 miles per hour and ran into him with such force that he flipped over the hood and crashed headfirst halfway through her windshield. Mallard proceeded to drive home in this state, park in her garage, then go inside and go to sleep. She called no one. Biggs survived the impact for about 5 hours, though unconscious, and died in the early morning still stuck in Malard’s windshield. 

When Mallard, who had worked as a nurse’s assistant, woke and went to the car, she called her friends and bragged about having killed a homeless man, then requested help with the body. Mallard and two friends drove the car, with Biggs’s body hanging out of the windshield, to a wooded park near a landfill and set it on fire to conceal the evidence. The crime scene was discovered, but with insufficient evidence on a culprit, and the case went cold for 4 months – until Mallard began laughing with her friends about having killed a white man. One of her friends turned her in. Mallard was handed a 50 year sentence, and will be eligible for parole in 2027. During at least two psychiatric interviews in prison, she has indicated a regret at having not tried to save Biggs’s life, but has always added “because I went to jail.” On the subject of an apology, she has remained notably evasive.

How could a single murder make the #1 spot? Wars are among the most depraved acts of mankind. But we reluctantly justify most of them: Hitler had to be stopped; bin Laden got what he deserved. This entry cannot compete with the volume of #3, but it expresses the definition of depravity in possibly the simplest terms ever witnessed in recorded history: indifference toward the sanctity of human life, impudent joy in extinguishing it, and a petulant refusal of remorse.

fact checked by Matt Hayes