Former police inspector Rolando Mendoza held 25 bus passengers hostage in Manila on Aug. 23, 2010 to protest his dismissal from service on extortion charges.
Eight tourists from Hong Kong died; the deadliest attack on visitors in the Philippines. Mendoza died in the assault.
The next day, the whole world roared with anger and pointed a finger at his dead body crying "Monster! Monster!"
Human history is filled with stories of men and women who have done horrible things. Adolf Hitler killed six million Jews and Joseph Stalin's reign of terror in the U.S.S.R. led to the deaths of approximately 20 million people.
And then there are those like Mendoza, ordinary citizens whose sudden acts of violence flood our TV screens and hold us captive. We are shocked by the brutality that we see, and we howl and scream in anger.
"But we love our bit of terror," blogger Kevin Musgrove once said.
Those delightful moments of terror that give us our adrenalin rush safe from accompanying danger. We like our demons dressed up in the costumes of pantomime, our villains bedecked in hi-vis personae. We can hiss and boo with childish delight because it is safe to do so. We are the magpies chafing a passing cat: we know the danger and we know we are outside its reach.
We like to think human civilization has advanced dramatically in the past thousands of years, that we are no longer barbaric, that we have become civilized as shown by the comfort of our homes, the beauty of our parks, the order in our streets.
But as Friedrich Nietzsche once said, all civilizations remain eternally the same, despite the changes of generations and of the history of nations. That while societies may progress, human beings don't; and our capacity for cruelty and violence remains infinite.
That while we sleep peacefully at night, we are acutely aware that the monster that is Mendoza lives in each of us, quietly bidding his time.