I just finished a riveting action/ crime novel, and it was a page-turner: The main character is a bodyguard, protecting a lottery winner. 7 people get killed in the story. 5 characters are personally responsible for at least one of the seven deaths. 3 of the 5 killers also get killed in the story.
Of course, the reason the bodyguards are the good guys is that they kill people who killed before, or who showed a willingness to kill. On one level, I understand that reasoning.
But if you always manage to kill the potential threats before they kill your charge, are you not more murderous than they? After all, you were quicker than them to choose killing over other options. How willing can you be to kill anyone who vaguely looks like a threat – and still be rightly regarded as a protector, instead of a murderer? Is the satisfaction we find in stories like these perhaps symptomatic of wanting to justify the murderous part in our own hearts?
Should we really read a book like that, or watch a movie like that, with mindless enjoyment? Or is it a time to examine our own hearts for violent intent?
I don’t know. What I do know is this: People who label themselves “pro-life” because they want to make abortion illegal, but who ask no questions about the condoning of violence in stories or pornography, about war, about affordable medical care for all, about taking in refugees from violent countries, about the death penalty, cheapen the term pro-life.
What do you think? If you ever thought about when it is right to kill, please drop us a comment. What do violent stories say about us who enjoy it? What conclusion did you come to?