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View Diary: The Moral Realities of Self Defense Shootings (238 comments)

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  •  It's the stuff they don't tell you.. (7+ / 0-)

    about in the books and movies about killing someone. I got this from a book about WW1 by a Sgt. Empey in "Over the Top." There was no doubt that the soldiers there had every reason to hate and fear the enemy, since they were trying to kill them. But Sgt. Empey revealed some things which people do not want to think about ahead of time if you are going to have to kill someone.

    The look on their face changes. It goes from the aggressive animal/predator trying to kill you and everything that moves, to the face of a 12 year old boy scared that he has lost his mom at the store. At that moment, you realize, before you pull the trigger, or as you pull the trigger, that this is not the same person as a second ago, that the human spirit, no matter how corrupted by bad ideas, bad environment, bad food, bad company and bad experiences, is at heart, redeemable. And in that instant, the roles reverse from THE BAD guy being the bad guy, to the good guy, you, being the bad guy. You realize that this was not necessary, that improving the ideas, environment, experiences and corruption from his, or your, life, would make the killing unnecessary and incredibly wasteful.

    And then the guilt starts. The guilt of all the times you yourself repeated the bad ideas, bad environment, bad language, bad feelings you wallowed in, did nothing when you could have made a situation better, all of your life, made it possible for people to become predators in defiance of their own character.

    And when the bullet hits its mark, you realize it is not recallable, and every detail, the creation of a hole in the body, the parting of the strands of fabric, the drops of blood, the shock and desperation of the other, stands out as obscene and grotesque, and somehow your own fault.

    I talked to a WW2 veteran from Normandy in Hermiston for a weekend when I bought a barn from him, and he spent two days telling me of his two weeks in the bocage, and how he killed a 16 year old German and was wounded by him, sent home, and had spent the rest of his 82 years reliving his guilt, saying that a better decision would have been to let the boy kill him, for all the trouble it had caused him to survive, shaking his head bitterly. I do not know if he had told anyone else, or had been waiting for a stranger to tell, and as a pretense, had offered his barn for sale. I was the one, though.

    So, if we were to break down the experience as eloquent people have done, and project ourselves into that experience honestly, and then ask ourselves, how are we going to feel afterwards remembering each millisecond of the event as an eternity, should we pull the trigger?

    I decided long ago that I would not. I get support from Christ  even though I am not a Christian, that if someone wants to strike my face, I should turn the other cheek and let him strike the other one as well. Far better to be hit than to live each second of your remaining life in the hell of grotesque memory. That way lies soul death, and even if you only have a second or two to live and love, it is preferred to an eternity of horrifying memory. That is wisdom. It is the way we are created.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 02:33:48 PM PST

    •  Major Winters in Band Of Brothers shot a young (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ginny in CO, splashy

      German soldier on D-Day, and that was the last time he ever shot at another person.

      "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens," -Friedrich Schiller "Against Stupidity, the Gods themselves contend in Vain"

      by pengiep on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 06:40:27 PM PST

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    •  Thanks for sharing this. I have heard (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      splashy

      many similar ones from vets I have cared for over 35 years. And I have read more.

      The reply to this from pengiep illustrates the paradox of men who fight together. It is because the high stress of battle releases endorphins, which are our unique bonding hormones. They are also released with singing, laughing, lactation, and orgasm. The bonds of family and friendship.

      Soldiers that go through battle together bond very strongly. The more battles, the more it grows. It is sometimes mistaken for a love of battle and killing. It is what helped the human tribes of 20,000 + years to survive danger - from animals, mother nature, and other tribes. Twisted to make more dedicated fighters in large armies. They are dedicated to each other more than country or ideals.

      I haven't given up hope that someday our big brains will be smart enough to apply the knowledge we have to stop the stupid stuff before it kills us all off.

      "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

      by Ginny in CO on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:08:35 PM PST

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