Some People Need Killing Book Summary - Some People Need Killing Book explained in key points
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Some People Need Killing summary

Patricia Evangelista

A Memoir of Murder in My Country

4.3 (102 ratings)
18 mins
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    Some People Need Killing
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    A pledge to kill

    Rodrigo Duterte told a simple and compelling story about what had gone wrong in the Philippines: Poverty. Crime. Corruption. All the problems plaguing ordinary Filipinos, he said, were caused by illegal drugs. It was the durugistas – a catch-all term for addicts, users, and pushers – who were to blame for everything from failing schools to dangerous neighborhoods.

    Drugs, asserted Duterte, made people paranoid, heartless, and mindless. Addicts robbed, stole, and extorted to get their fix and raped and murdered when they were high. Duterte said there were 3 million – no, 4.5 million – drug-crazed Filipinos. If your neighbor’s kid is a junkie, he told his supporters, you should kill them – you’d be doing their parents a favor by putting that monster down. 

    In the mouth of another politician, these words might have been little more than rabble-rousing rhetoric. But Duterte meant it. For many voters, this was the appeal. Since the fall of the dictatorship in 1986, Filipino politics had been dominated by respectable career politicians. Liberal reforms had been locked in and the economy had grown but the spoils were unevenly distributed. While the middle class prospered, impoverished Filipinos felt abandoned. 

    Duterte, the self-styled man of the people, ridiculed the high-minded talk of wealthy liberals – they didn’t understand the world beyond their gated communities, he said. Human rights didn’t cut it in the crime-infested neighborhoods where most Filipinos lived. The only way to help ordinary citizens was to eliminate the scourge of illegal drugs. And the only language junkies and dealers understand is force. To Duterte, it was mercilessly simple: some people need killing. 

    To hell with the bureaucrats and the bleeding hearts, Duterte said – they got us into this mess. He promised to fix it and replace rehabilitation with retribution. His plan was to kill all 4.5 million of the so-called drug-crazed citizens. Morticians, he claimed, would grow rich during his time in office. 

    Distressingly, Duterte’s pledge to kill won him the presidency in 2016. Thousands of durugistas were gunned down by the police during his six-year term. Officially, these were violent desperados resisting arrest. In reality, most raids targeted small-time crooks and users and went down like executions rather than attempts to apprehend suspects. State-sanctioned vigilantes, meanwhile, added to the death toll: according to human rights organizations, by the end of his presidency in 2022, Duterte’s war on drugs had claimed up to 25,000 lives. 

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    What is Some People Need Killing about?

    Some People Need Killing (2023) is a detailed and empathetic chronicle of the Philippines’ drug war between 2016 and 2022. It records the murders perpetrated by police and vigilantes during the presidency of Rodrigo Duterte, which resulted in thousands of deaths. Delving into the lives of both perpetrators and victims, Evangelista captures the climate of fear created by a government that believed that “some people need killing.”

    Some People Need Killing Review

    Some People Need Killing by Patricia Evangelista (2021) is a thought-provoking exploration of the dark side of human nature and the complexities of morality. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers a raw and unflinching portrayal of the human capacity for violence and the sometimes difficult decisions that need to be made.
    • Through powerful storytelling and vivid character development, the book delves deep into the moral gray areas, challenging readers to question their own beliefs and values.
    • The author's insightful analysis of various true crime cases provides a gripping narrative that keeps readers captivated from start to finish.

    Who should read Some People Need Killing?

    • Readers interested in investigative journalism and human rights issues
    • Fans of narrative nonfiction with a focus on social justice
    • People seeking in-depth analysis of the Philippine drug war

    About the Author

    Patricia Chanco Evangelista is a Filipina journalist and documentary filmmaker. Her work covers topics related to conflict, disaster, and human rights. She serves as a multimedia reporter for the online news outlet Rappler and contributes as a writer-at-large for Esquire magazine. Some People Need Killing is her first book. 

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    Some People Need Killing FAQs 

    What is the main message of Some People Need Killing?

    To understand the complexities of justice and morality in the context of targeted violence.

    How long does it take to read Some People Need Killing?

    The reading time for Some People Need Killing varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Some People Need Killing a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Some People Need Killing is a compelling book that explores the nuances of justice. It's definitely worth a read.

    Who is the author of Some People Need Killing?

    Patricia Evangelista is the author of Some People Need Killing.

    What to read after Some People Need Killing?

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