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|I agree with you (I think)
Written by Ivonne
(10/8/2009 9:09 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Predators, penned by Bridget D
To me, "predator," particularly in the context of sexual predation, is a word that should be reserved for a very specific brand of egregious conduct, that which involves, as Barbara very nicely puts it in this thread, "the calculated evil and pleasure to be derived expressly by conquering and destroying someone." Willougby is thoughtless, selfish, and indiscriminate, but still, his state of mind does not rise to this level. In my view, including less vicious behavior under the "predator" rubric dilutes somewhat the active malice of those who genuinely fit the standard. For this reason, I do not consider Willoughby a predator.
By the same token, I do feel that, even if Willoughby does not fit this narrow definition of "predator", his brand of reckless indifference and thoughtless selfishness yields, at least in Eliza's case, results not far separated from those of a more willful, premeditating actor. Consequently, his misconduct, while less evil, lies closer to malice than negligence along the intent spectrum. To briefly take up the criminal law analogy mentioned, Willoughby, while not comparable to a first degree murderer, is similar to one guilty of manslaughter through gross negligence or reckless endangerment. That separates him more, to my mind, from someone whose ordinary negligence causes physical injury short of death than from one who kills with premeditation and malice.
I'm not sure if that is what you have in mind, but if it is, I agree with you.
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