In case you missed it, actor Sean Penn wrote a long, rambling piece for Rolling Stone about “El Chapo” Guzman, the Mexican drug lord who recently escaped from prison. Somewhere in the 10,000-word essay is a surprisingly trite, pandering, and frankly embarrassing interview.

More interesting is the way Penn seems to perceive a life-long criminal whose cartel ships more heroine, coke, meth and pot into the U.S. than any other – a ruthless thug who has brutally tortured and murdered countless people, including their families. Here’s an excerpt:

Are we, the American public, not indeed complicit in what we demonize? We are the consumers, and as such, we are complicit in every murder, and in every corruption of an institution’s ability to protect the quality of life for citizens of Mexico and the United States that comes as a result of our insatiable appetite for illicit narcotics.

As much as anything, it’s a question of relative morality. Are we saying that what’s systemic in our culture, and out of our direct hands and view, shares no moral equivalency to those abominations that may rival narco assassinations in Juarez? Or, is that a distinction for the passive self-righteous?

Penn apparently has a long history of identifying with and even befriending brutal, violent, evil men, including Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez and Cuba’s Raul Castro. Wonder what the attraction is? Maybe he sees himself as a misunderstood villain. Or maybe they’re all vegan. Wouldn’t that be ironic?

We won’t kill anything that has a face … unless of course it’s human. What? Of course we won’t eat them. What do you think we are, barbarians? 

Sean Penn Hugo Chavez

Sean Penn and Hugo Chavez

The radical actor was reportedly planning to meet with ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, but the radical Islamic terrorist leader abruptly canceled, saying it wouldn’t be “prudent” and that he was an “enormous fan” of Penn’s work and hoped there would be “no hard feelings,” according to The New Yorker.

Penn was apparently quite disappointed. I mean, wouldn’t you be?

I bring this up because Penn is among the most vocal and visible proponents of an insidious cultural trend among sadly misguided uber-progressives to empathize with criminals and terrorists and blame their victims. Innocent people who are brutally raped, tortured, and beheaded are somehow responsible for the inhuman acts of evildoers. Or, according to Penn, they’re at least complicit. That’s just sick.

The Mexican police say the interview helped them recapture El Chapo a few days ago. He now faces extradition to the United States, although I wouldn’t hold my breath. Nevertheless, that’s a silver lining.

Image credit: Sean Penn