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AMERICAN HERO

You have been diagnosed with a fatal illness---a fatal illness and you have under one year to live before you die.

Die? Just wither and die? Go gently into the night with all of that sweet, Dylan assonance?

The country roils around you with unanswered questions of marriage equality, emerging war in the Middle-East, government secured health care, immigration reform and much more.

For once you have the opportunity to make change in this world you love; a change much more than any single vote you would have cast could have proffered: A gun and a bullet and a target and a chance to change history---all of history beginning with the moment the gun sounds.

What would you do?

**************

by Novelistreply 2809/10/2013

All I will say is this... There are a few people who'd better pray to god that I never get a terminal illness. Just sayin'

by Novelistreply 109/09/2013

R1, I think you've given a perfectly beautiful sentence that I can twist around a bit to make ever more beautiful. I thank you for your creative thought and clever wording.

by Novelistreply 209/09/2013

Unless you're including a time machine to go back and kill Hitler in 1925, I'm not sure there are any real game-changer candidates out there, OP, at least not any that would elevate you to "hero" status.

You hate Limbaugh? Fine, he drops dead tomorrow, and there will be another lout to sit in front of his microphone the day after. The same is true with any politician or public figure--at best someone else steps up to carry their message, and at worst you help their cause by making them a martyr.

I think there are endless sons of bitches out there worth killing, but they're probably people no one outside law enforcement has ever heard of--the heads of the Russian or Mexican mafia, some abusive pimp, or maybe pedophile running loose, but they're not going to make you a hero.

I think a better fantasy is to be the guy who walks into the Fukushima reactor with a pipe wrench and fixes the radiation leak, or the guy who rescues the schoolchildren from the burning building but doesn't make it out himself.

by Novelistreply 309/09/2013

I love how people on DL are moral and ethical relativists - the ends justify the means.

Also, the arrogance of thinking that you know better than other people and have sufficient historical perspective to know with certainty who should be murdered is astounding. There were MANY people who thought that MLK was a anarchic radical and needed to be taken out - that he threatened the very fabric of the American way of life. And guess what, some "hero" did just that.

Condoning murder to achieve political ends is the garden path to hell. The threat of death at the hands of people who disagree with your political beliefs puts an end to all debate.

You may be many things - assassin, murderer, zealot - but, you're not a hero.

by Novelistreply 409/09/2013

R4, would you feel the same way if the bullet had been directed into the brain of Napoleon? Or do you not know that Napoleon killed nearly as many people as Hitler did?

by Novelistreply 509/09/2013

Napoleon, Hitler, Stalin, it really doesn't matter who you pick. You want to shoot that little Nimrod in North Korea? Fine, but he's just the puppet for the Generals who really run the show.

Be careful what you wish for. Probably the most successful assassin in modern history was Gavrilo Princip, the guy who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and started WWI in the process. He's a Hero in Serbia (his footprints in the sidewalk were a major tourist attraction a few years ago), but was WWI worth the price?

by Novelistreply 609/09/2013

Use all my skills from teaching chemistry and become a meth dealing BOSS

by Novelistreply 709/09/2013

R6, historically savvy and smooth as the velvet glove that holds the assassins gun.

Let's talk.

by Novelistreply 809/09/2013

R7--with my life and connections, I can bail you and your army of drug men out of jail for life, so let's talk.

by Novelistreply 909/09/2013

Obviously, you kill the important.

by Novelistreply 1009/09/2013

r5 - you're talking about time travel where we have the benefit of limited historical perspective. Even with our vantage of 200 years, you are still making a fundamental error.

1. The Great Man theory of history - that much of history is attributable to the actions of a single person.

2. Even if you do subscribe to the great man theory, that the historical forces in motion that gave rise to these men would not have produced another.

3. What about Einstein, Newton and other great men. Granted these were singularly accomplished people. But, progress inevitably continues. If not these men at that time, other men at another time. Only the timing and subsequent chain reaction of events would be altered. Their discoveries would have sooner or later occurred.

4. Which leads to the final point that no single historical event exists in a vacuum. Killing a Napoleon or Hitler in a time travel scenario would lead to a whole series of unintended consequences, delayed scientific discovery, other geopolitical conflict (what if the Soviet Union hadn't lost millions to WWII, do you think that another wider, ranging conflict with the US might not have occurred as a result of Stalin's need to maintain power in an ever-crumbling economy?)

Black Swan events are unknowable and unpredictable. Specific events are only significant when viewed with hindsight. At the time people are living them, it's virtually impossible to separate the true signals from background noise.

So, if we take OP's question out of some time travel scenario, I say again,that moral relativism and ends-justify-the-means thinking is a dangerous path. The historical forces at work are usually much wider than a single person. Whatever gave rise to one person would likely allow for another in his place - who may, in fact, be a lot worse with even more radical ideas. Consider the backlash - if the gays were responsible for assassinating someone, wouldn't that be the perfect excuse for a call to actions against gays by another more extreme person?

Where would it end?

by Novelistreply 1109/09/2013

Fuck the rest of the world...I'll be dead. I would love my partner as deeply as I possibly can, make sure my family gets my stuff, and leave the world a grateful man.

by Novelistreply 1209/09/2013

r4/11 again.

Oh, and as a side point. From a novelists perspective, this question is flawed.

It's not what most people might or might not do which adds reality to the character - it's what this specific character would do under the specific circumstances.

Character is plot and plot is character. The idea of character-driven stories or plot-driven stories is a false equivalency. All stories are character driven because all conflict, action/reaction, plot progression should be the result of CHOICES the character makes or responses.

Characterization is shown (vs. told) by examining the decisions a character makes under stress, not what someone (including the character himself in a first person POV) says - and how true that choice is based on previous actions.

These are all concretizations of certain abstractions of themes - depending on the build up (and the type of novel), helping a child across the street could be as big a scene climax as shooting up a school. Even EM Forster's Remains of the Day or Die Hard consistently show character by showing people making decisions and choices under stress to illustrate abstractions - not by telling us about a why someone made that choice.f

by Novelistreply 1309/09/2013

Oh silly, silly brethren. OP here and I marvel at your ability to rationalize that a single assassin's arrow into either the light or dark of society would be deferred with these absurd thoughts you've presented.

I make no attempts as a writer of history, but let's look at it this way:

The man who killed the King of the slavic countries and started WWI.

Hitler who killed 6 million people. WW2 that killed 46 million people.

Korean War, Vietnam, Granada, Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria.

One bullet. One silver bullet kissed by the millions that without this change in history would cause, would condemn, them all to death.

O! Silver Bullet! Find your destiny and save us from war.

by Novelistreply 1409/09/2013

Hello, OP here, I will review your comments within the day. The sun has come up here and I have not slept. I never sleep. I spend these hours cleaning the chemical oxidation off of my guns.

They shine and smile back at me, my cleaned and pristine friends. They love me. I click their triggers and smell their imaginary smoke.

My hands were born to hold these children.

by Novelistreply 1509/09/2013

Pretty sure I'd shoot OP for being so fucking pretentious.

by Novelistreply 1609/09/2013

R14 or OP

Your post is so incoherent from its intellectual pretension as to be incoherent.

That said, your grasp of basic history is lacking.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand was a royal prince of Austria Hungary, not the King of the Slavic countries.

And while, 60 million people died in WWII, killing Hitler might have changed who died, but a global scale conflict was inevitable, given the economic and political situation. Someone was going to rise to power given how punitive the reparations on Germany were from losing WWI.

Also, I note again that over 8 million men were lost by Stalin's USSR. The shambles of post-WWII were one of the limiting factors on Stalin's aspirations. The show trials of Pyatakov and others in the mid 1930s show that Stalin was already in trouble and was, not only trying to get rid of political enemies, but also looking for scapegoats to explain why the economic plans were failing. Eventually, he would have needed an external threat to rally his position. How many millions would have died during a more direct US-USSR conflict.

You have a very limited grasp of history... Or are unskilled at the use of irony to make your points. Either way, you add no value to any meaningful dialog.

by Novelistreply 1709/09/2013

I would suggest that if you must kill someone to make a difference, you would be better off ignoring political figures, hate mongers, or warriors and focus on those who make change through technology.

Killing Henry Ford (just as one random example) and delaying the start of the auto age, even for a few years, might have made more of a difference than killing Hitler. Without Ford, we might not have embraced the automobile as quickly (in Europe cars were a toy for the rich, not the average man), and the delay might have slowed the shift from rural to urban and from farm to factory. This in turn might have changed the political make-up of the Congress and The White House, and completely changed our national focus and/or our willingness to involve ourselves in foreign wars.

I would suggest that the Fords, Marconis, Edisons, JP Morgans, and Einsteins of this world have made far more difference than whoever holds political or military power in any given country at any given time.

by Novelistreply 1809/09/2013

Don't forget Eli Whitney.

by Novelistreply 1909/09/2013

Buy an AK 47, open up a can of whoop ass on Wall Street. Aim for white guys in suits. I'll get killed, but I'm taking bankers with me.

by Novelistreply 2009/09/2013

I've read this book before -- I think it was called "The Redbreast"

by Novelistreply 2109/09/2013

Well obviously you shoot the god-damned doctor that gave you the test results.

by Novelistreply 2209/09/2013

[quote]I love how people on DL are moral and ethical relativists - the ends justify the means.

Umm... okay.

[quote]Also, the arrogance of thinking that you know better than other people and have sufficient historical perspective to know with certainty who should be murdered is astounding.

Really, R4? The OP, R1, R2 and R3 astounded you by NOT naming anyone whom they thought should be killed, thusly bringing on your rant about how they had no business naming anyone who should be killed.

Try to get a handle on that premature ejacul-umbrage, honey. Also, your dimestore sanctimony could stand to be ratcheted down a few notches.

OP, if your hero can't hit the Koch brothers (who sorely need killing) please have him take a shot at my friend Julie. I hate her.

by Novelistreply 2309/10/2013

OP, I would use my bullet on you. And I would know that I've done something for which mankind - or at least, the people who know you - would be grateful.

by Novelistreply 2409/10/2013

R24 just closed this thread. Well done.

by Novelistreply 2509/10/2013

I'd shoot my neighbor's a/c unit, it's drivin' me nuts. The goddamned thing never shuts off, and the vibrations deny me a good night's sleep.

by Novelistreply 2609/10/2013

OP is also one of the gullible fools who thought the 'twerk on fire' girl was real, not a Jimmy Kimmel fake.

by Novelistreply 2709/10/2013

MARY! It sounds like I have a highly dramatic series of choices ahead of me!

by Novelistreply 2809/10/2013
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