Friday, August 14, 2009

Out on Highway 61

There is a trend coming out of Hollywood that I've noticed.
These days, it's fashionable to talk about how killing leaves soldiers emotionally scarred and killing a man is such an awful thing. Several movies from Clint Eastwood, badass extraordinaire, for example, exhibit this behavior.
"But JT!," you exclaim, "Surely you are not about to contradict Clint Eastwood, the Lord of Men, the Banner of the Good and Light, the Man Who Played Dirty Harry?!"
I assure you, dear reader, that I will not, nor will I ever.
However, some people get the idea watching these movies, I'm sure, that all killing is some awful thing.
This is wrong.
Killing in war messes up a lot of people (in more ways than one). The problem with killing somebody in a war is that they're not necessarily an evil, rotten, shit person - they're just like you, only on the other side. They're just someone who happened to be born in a certain time and place that called for them to pick up a gun and join their nation in an armed conflict against some other nation, just like you. Killing in war is like looking into the mirror and pulling the trigger at what you see.

But this is not the only kind of killing there is, nor does this describe the only sort of opponent.
Take your average junkie or crackhead. This is a person that will break into a car for pocket change or pawn their relative's goods while they're at the hospital getting treated for a life-threatening disease. These are the people that look for your friends and family as they walk the street at night, knowing they don't know any better, and exchanging violence for hard-earned goods. And for what? Not for an ideal or to protect their country or because they were forced to - because they need a hit.
Take your average mob tough - Italian, Irish, Hispanic, doesn't matter. This is a person who could be making an honest living, but instead decided they'd rather become filthy rich by pretending to be a friend to their community but bleeding it instead.
Take your average rapist. And destroy them completely, utterly, and slowly.
Your average drug dealer.
Gang member.

The list of scum goes on and on, but they are all, ultimately, better off not being around. This isn't some little girl in another country made to carry a grenade into your camp - these are people who have made choices that involve harming good people for their own selfish benefit. Do people change? Sure - maybe 1 in 10,000 becomes a genuine good guy. Are those odds you want to play? And what happens in the meantime? For every one of these bad guys, many, many good people must be wronged. A druggie doesn't need cash for just one hit, they need a stream of income for a stream of hits. If you only stop the actions of one repeat offender - just one - you don't just prevent one crime, you prevent probably years or even decades of violence, thefts, killings, or worse.
"Is it wrong to take a life?" That's a poorly framed question. It ignores the nuances of reality. How about, "If you have the ability to save a multitude of the good by destroying a handful of corrupt individuals, is it conscionable to do otherwise?"
I've seen hard questions before. That isn't one of them.

Tomorrow's the last day to apply!

Stay Super.