Jay Austin and Lauren Geoghegan didn’t believe in evil so they biked freely through ISIS territory in the Central Asian country of Tajikistan during a global bike tour.
The couple’s two-year trip ended with ISIS terrorists stabbing them to death.
“I don’t buy it. Evil is a make-believe concept…”
“I’ve grown tired of spending the best hours of my day in front of a glowing rectangle, of coloring the best years of my life in swaths of grey and beige,” Austin wrote in a blog post after he and his partner quit their jobs in July of 2017 to go and explore the world together on their bikes.
“I’ve missed too many sunsets while my back was turned. Too many thunderstorms went unwatched, too many gentle breezes unnoticed.”
EVIL DOESN’T EXIST
On his blog, Austin continued, “You watch the news and you read the papers and you’re led to believe that the world is a big, scary place,” he wrote. “People, the narrative goes, are not to be trusted. People are bad. People are evil. People are axe murderers and monsters and worse.”
“I don’t buy it. Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own—it’s easier to dismiss an opinion as abhorrent than strive to understand it. Badness exists, sure, but even that’s quite rare. By and large, humans are kind. Self-interested sometimes, myopic sometimes, but kind. Generous and wonderful and kind. No greater revelation has come from our journey than this.”
After recording these thoughts, he wrote that a driver in Spain tried to run him over. Instead of heeding the warning, they drove through Muslim territory on the border of Afghanistan.
A car rammed into them and two other bicyclists in a pre-planned attack. Five men jumped out and stabbed the four people to death.
The attackers released a video claiming they swore allegiance to ISIS. Authorities said later they tracked down the terrorists and killed four of them.
It was too late for the idealistic bikers who began their trip in Africa and were at the beginning of the second year of the trip.