SFP

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  • AshlaBoga

    “But for that damned gun, I could have lived guiltless and clean, at the mercy of the world.”

    Is he blaming the gun for his actions?

    Is he merely picking a point at which his path became set?

    Either way, deontology would give him two options: A) follow the rule of never murdering and B) follow the rule of keeping promises.

    • tiropat

      if it weren’t for the gun he wouldn’t have had the option to do anything he regretted. Similarly is Alison didn’t have superpowers she wouldn’t have the option to do what she did.

    • bta

      I think he’s cursing the power the gun gave him. Powerless, he wouldn’t have had this choice to make.

      The parallels with Allison’s powers should be obvious.

      • AnonoBot9000

        Fallacy.

        He was never powerless, even without the gun he could have still forced open the doctors door, and threatened to beat him to death with his bare hands. The gun was simply a shortcut. A prop to act as an easy scapegoat for his choice to kill, after the fact. After all these years, he is still shifting the majority of the guilt for the action onto an inanimate object.

        Allison’s powers have no bearing on her decision to kidnap and assault someone, they were simply the means to which she performed it.

        People manage the same acts in the real world, without super powers, all the time. Any decision she made is on her, and her alone.

        • Campor

          I think you’re severely undervaluing how much strength a gun in this case gives you, not just in the force you can exert on people but also how confident you are in exerting that force.

          • AnonoBot9000

            I have been in a situation where killing a person would have vastly improved my life / sense of safety, along with other people close to me, while owning and having easy access to fire arms.

            I still managed to not do it. The gun doesn’t make people kill people. People use it as an excuse for their own moral shortcomings.

            And just to be clear, this is in reference to situations like the professor outlined, where there was no actual pressing need or even a logical reason to kill the person. I am not making judgement calls on for example, someone being attacked, then shooting and killing the attacker or the ilk.

          • Campor

            Again, you’re not taking into account the mental effect of having a gun in a desperate situation. It’s all well and good for you to react differently individually, but anecdotal evidence isn’t very solid evidence. On a macro scale, having access to tools or weapons that someone else doesn’t gives people the idea that they can wield that power they have more readily even if they were otherwise decent people which could resolve a situation better.

            Hell, you can see it even in tiny communities here online. Someone can be a wonderful, charismatic individual until they’re given an ounce of power over others (such as being made a moderator or administrator on a forum) and suddenly they’re almost tyrannical in their methods, wielding their power as a cudgel because they think they know what’s best in that moment.

            That’s how human mentality works in general. Just because you don’t/didn’t doesn’t mean that isn’t the case more often than not. There is a reason that anything to do with power also stresses either great responsibility or corruption.

          • AnonoBot9000

            And again, you are using the “power” to absolve the person of any responsibility for their actions.

            Becoming a moderator does not make a person suddenly become a tyrant. It is not an anthropomorphic entity hovering over them and controlling their every action via wires. They were always that person, they just did not have the excuse to act upon it.
            Their upbringing still brought them to the point where they can make the decision, “It is OK for me to act this way, to the detriment of others.”

            Just because it is often the case, does not suddenly absolve those people of their guilt or make their actions justified.

          • Campor

            And he’s not actually saying it does. You’ll note he’s using his actions as insurance to Allison that he won’t spill her secrets, because he knows they’re awful. He’s saying that without that power (in this case the gun), he wouldn’t have been able to exert his influence on others and there’d be one more person alive than there is now.

            He’s not absolving himself of guilt, but he’s not ignoring the influence that having a gun had on his decisions either. Both are present.

          • AnonoBot9000

            I’ll admit he isn’t completely absolving himself of the guilt, but he is diverting a lot of it onto the gun. The act of killing was still entirely on him, the gun had nothing to do with it other than providing an easy means. He may as well blame his friend for choosing that religion. If it weren’t for that they would have never been in the situation at all.

          • JustDucky

            Did you really need to cross that particular line in defense of an NRA slogan?

          • phantomreader42
          • AnonoBot9000

            And again, the only thing the gun did in this instance, was allow him to shoot the doctor to kill him. Opposed to strangling, beating him, etc to death.

            His anger at the doctor did not come from the gun, it came from his possibly mistaken hunch that the doctor was refusing to offer aid due to his religion.

            It still would have existed had he not found the gun, and he would have still likely forced entry to demand aid. It just would have been more difficult without the rifle.

          • Campor

            ‘It still would have existed had he not found the gun, and he would have still likely forced entry to demand aid.’

            I disagree, not least of which because what does he do once he’s in? How does he ensure the doctor works on his friend? The threat of a gun (and the sense of power it instills in the holder) is not something you can just ignore, instead pretending that everything would occur in pretty much the same manner just with more difficulty.

            Holding a gun- or any tool, really- when others don’t carries with it a sense of superiority. The small change to the mindset can alter any number of thoughts, colouring them in various ways. The mind isn’t so simple that you can ignore a huge factor and pretend it doesn’t play some part in how he thinks.

          • AnonoBot9000

            The same way he does with the gun. “Fix my friend or I will beat you to death.”

            The gun did not cause him to be angry with the doctor, or distrust him. That was from the situation they were in. It would still have existed without the gun.
            He already considered himself superior when he decided the doctor was religiously persecuting his friend at a mere glance of the doctor.

            He still would have been there with his friend bleeding out in his arms. He still would have had that anger and resentment at the doctor for refusing to help. He still most likely would have forced entry into the house and forced the doctor to help.

            Even if you take the gun out of the equation, what is the doctor likely to do when confronted with the threat of violence, and the only demand is “try to do your job!”

            He is still a doctor, and would have likely still attempted to save the kid without trying to fight off, an even unarmed, man. He would have been able to fight back after failing. But lets be honest here, given the mental image of most “backwaters doctors” as older, and the silhouette shown, he likely wouldn’t have been a match for the professor, even unarmed.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            Or the doctor calls for help. his neighbors, seeing him under assault by a man, come to his aid. Seeing that this man has a member of that hated religion with him, aid is in the form of beating both of these men to death.
            There are many factors that come into play without the absolute power of that gun. You say the professor gives the gun too much power, but I’d say you don’t give the gun enough.

          • CanuckAmuck

            A man can reasonably fight back against a beating. And perhaps the Doctor in this scenario had a physical advantage in the fisticuffs area – who knows?

            But a gun is a great equalizer. Regardless of one’s own size, the gun one can wield can pack quite a punch.The casualness with which you propose your alternate scenario reveals your lack of practical experience in such matters. Now, don’t be so silly as to take that as any sort of affront to your “manhood”, it’s just an observation.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            What if Gurwara knows himself though? This is a thing he’s thought about a lot. So if he’s correct, sans firearm the doctor would likely have closed the door, and as he said, NONE of it would be his fault. Not just the Doctor’s death, but his friends as well.

            If he had the gun and chose not to do what he did, threatening the doctor, his friends death would, he’d fear, be his fault. After all, he could have MADE the doctor try. If he didn’t, that guilt wouldn’t be there, since the situation was far less certain. He only had the choice because he had the power. And as has already been pointed out, that’s the parallel with Alison.

          • GreatWyrmGold

            The gun didn’t force Gurwara to kill; it gave him the power to do so. With great power comes great responsibility; with great powerlessness comes great deniability.

          • Would life imprisonment have greatly improved your life and those of the people around you?

            The gun may not make you kill someone, but in the heat of the moment it makes the act so much easier, the result so much more certain.

            However for calculated actions the gun merely opens up further options that may be judged inadvisable when considering the longer term prospects.

            Gurwara’s situation wasn’t quite heat of the moment, but it was certainly made while under sufficient stress (breakdown of civil order, massacre in progress, death of a friend, what happens if I don’t shoot this guy?) that his judgement can be reasonably considered impaired.

          • Philip Bourque

            While a gun certainly makes displays of force easier, it is more a recognition of a threat than actual strength. A person aims a gun at you and what else are you suppose to think other than ‘they are going to kill me’? All the while you completely miss how fragile human life is and how easy it is to end. I prefer strangulation as you cannot avoid responsibility and power over a person’s life is literally in your hands.

          • Scott

            I cannot help but think that either one of three situations applies here:
            1) You are a soldier or other manner of war-fighter
            2) You are a murderer
            3) You are talking out your ass

            I’m reserving judgement to allow for the possibility of number 1 but I’m pretty sure it’s number 3

          • Elaine Lee

            You are a man. I am a 5′ tall female. And I have held and shot guns. (Not at a person, mind you.) You are severely underestimating the power a gun gives you. It is absolute power over any unarmed person you’re pointing it at. It also gives you distance from your victim, which is a huge psychological advantage for anyone wanting to exert power over another. Under no circumstances would I get into a physical altercation without that kind of weapon.

          • Arkone Axon

            “The Good Lord made man, but Sam Colt made ’em equal.”

            A gun is a tool. Weapons are tools. The only reason a firearm is considered exceptional is because it’s a REALLY GOOD tool. Like the difference between a power drill with a screwdriver bit, and a dime. Both can be used on a flathead screw, but one of them is a lot more efficient at the task.

            (My point is that I agree with you. I would say that there are other weapons suitable for smaller, weaker individuals – knives in particular don’t require strength, just speed and a willingness to make someone bleed – but yes, a good firearm is THE tool for the small, the weak, the physically disadvantaged, in order to protect themselves from hostile threats)

          • AustinC123

            ‘a gun is not a weapon, it’s just a symbol of intent to kill’

        • CanuckAmuck

          even without the gun he could have still forced open the doctors door, and threatened to beat him to death with his bare hands

          It’s a lot more difficult to do either in real life than it is in a video game, you know.

        • GreatWyrmGold

          You’re never technically powerless, only sufficiently lacking in power to be unable to accomplish your goals. But who cares about the distinction? Only the most ridiculous of pedants.

          • AnonoBot9000

            There is a large difference between technically having the capability to kill every person on the planet, and being able to kill one, likely much older, person without a rifle.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            Why are you so sure they were dramatically older? Facial hair is not necessarily a sign of age. Plenty of younger folks around the world have had beards before hipster fashion emerged in the more recent past. The doctor could well be a reasonably fit man in his late 30’s early 40’s, for all we know. You make three assumptions with your reasoning.

            A. The doctor was so obviously Gurwara’s physical inferior that there would be no doubt Gurwara could immediately overpower him.

            B. Gurwara would immediately decide to use physical violence in absence of a gun, which Gurwara himself seems to indicate he does not believe is the case.

            C. The doctor would respond to threats of physical violence from Gurwara without a gun in the same way he would to Gurwara’s threats with a gun.
            We have no certainty on any of those points. Whereas we can be certain that having a gun made him more a threat then he would be without it by default, no matter how the character stats otherwise could be compared.

          • GreatWyrmGold

            Well, yes, but if neither of them want to kill everyone on the planet, what does it matter?

          • Weatherheight

            ::flickers his ears and blushes at GreatWyrmGold::

            You’re too kind…

        • Insanenoodlyguy

          The gun adds a far greater degree of certainty however. Without the gun there’d likely be a fight. The Doctor may have felt far more emboldened to defend his home, and may have been armed as he had time to collect a weapon without a gun pointed at him. Any number of things that would make the situation less certain. Also, unlike the threat of a gun, every blow to the doctor would weaken his ability to help the friend. Would you want a doctor with a concussion operating on you? Don’t underestimate means. Means change your perspective because means make viable options where they otherwise are not. The gun was more then a prop.

          • phantomreader42

            The doctor wouldn’t have even NEEDED to “collect a weapon”, he was performing surgery, that requires sharp objects.

          • Tylikcat

            Do either of these people have any clue on how to handle either knife or gun in an offensive capacity? I’m guessing it’s pretty likely both don’t.

            I’ve done knife fighting. I’ve done unarmed defense against knives. I’m not spectacular at either. But a scalpel? Okay, first off, I am absolutely aces with a scalpel – I do microsurgery a lot. But damn – yes, you could one for a weapon, but it’s a small relatively fragile blade. (I was going to say tiny, but that’s just the blades I work with.) Utter pain in the ass, especially if you didn’t know what you were doing.

            But… this whole situation is nuts. You have someone with some kind of assault rifle, yes? (Guns, totally not my strong suit! And most of my shooting has been with handguns.*) Who may or may not have any clue. And you have a doctor with… scalpels? Maybe some surgical scissors? Oh, and suturing needles, can’t forget that! I mean, none of these are really ideal for the space. But, seriously, the guy is going to have to have a brass uterus if he’s going after Gurwara, with his rifle, with a scalpel. (Or some *serious* training. And even then, he might be better off with common household implements.)

            * Other than my foster brother taking me out to a quarry to teach me to shoot with a .22, and refusing to drive me home until I was marginally competent, because someone who couldn’t shoot was more dangerous than someone who could, when we were in our teens. I was all “Seriously?!” I do vaguely want to get better, but, busy.

          • phantomreader42

            You seem to have missed the phrase “without a gun” in the comment I was replying to.
            It’s a whole lot easier to kill someone with a gun than with nothing at all, even untrained, and especially at close range.
            If the gun was out of the equation, the situation gets more complicated, and the doctor gains a lot of advantages, among them possession of sharp objects and intimate knowledge of anatomy. It would be difficult to kill someone with a scalpel, but if anyone knows where to strike it would be a doctor.

          • Tylikcat

            Mea culpa. I was mostly skimming the prior discussion. Honestly, I find much of it more than a little ridiculous. Most people aren’t particularly inclined towards major acts of violence – they don’t really know how to go about it (even late teen early twenty-something men who think they do) and have psychological inhibitions about committing it (okay, a bit less for said same men, especially when they travel in packs.) Guns simplify and abstract the whole process… and even there, it’s really darn hard to train soldiers to actually shoot people for real.

          • AshlaBoga

            “it’s really darn hard to train soldiers to actually shoot people for real.”

            Yes, guns don’t kill people. People kill people.

            Switzerland has a high amount of guns/person. Yet, their gun homicide rate is fairly low. The number of guns is less important than human psychology. Actually, I think that’s true of pretty much every tool – the person wielding it is what matters.

          • Tylikcat

            They have a high amount of guns, but they also closely regulate ammunition. (I suspect there’s more to it than that, but it’s not that close a comparison with the US, afaict.)

          • Campor

            You also require training in Switzerland, which you don’t in America. In fact I’d say Switzerland is one of the countries with far better gun control than most of the world, it’s just that they focus more on the actual control aspect than the removal that places like Australia have done. Both have been effective, but Switzerland’s version I think would be more realistic if America were going to take their gun control seriously.

          • Weatherheight

            “Guns simplify and abstract the process”.

            I like this phrasing, especially the “abstract”.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            At the door though. In the scenario that some angry man is trying to break down your door (assuming he got it closed), one might take steps to prepare if they believe he will inevitably get inside. or he might simply flee out the back. I think we could argue the potentials all day, the real point is that without the gun things become a lot less certain. I disagree with Anon that without the gun simple fisticuff violence or the threat thereof would achieve the same results and outcomes. And I think we agree on this.

        • motorfirebox

          Well, two things. One, he’s not actually seriously blaming the gun. He’s simply wishing that he’d never been given the opportunity to make the choices he made. Likewise, Alison has never attempted to blame her powers for her actions.

          Second, the gun was not merely a shortcut. The threat to beat someone to death is vastly lesser than the threat to shoot someone. And the ability to kidnap and assault someone is vastly increased if you’re a literal superman. The power differential does change the moral equation, for the same reasons that we have different punishments for assault vs assault with a deadly weapon.

        • The gun makes the issue of relative physical capability irrelevant. That’s not a minor adjustment to the calculus of violence.

          • Alan_A

            I recall a conversation years (decades) ago with a New York City police officer who’d taken a full-time job as a photographer with the union. He was still officially a patrolman and entitled to carry a gun, including off duty. But he’d stopped carrying it. He said he thought that pulling out a gun instantly escalated and polarized a confrontation – it was suddenly much more dangerous because the threat of violence forced people into reactions, and took options (especially for de-escalation) off the table. So to him – similarly to Gurwara – a gun produced a difference in kind, not just degree – it closed off options and created new ones that, practically speaking, wouldn’t have existed had there been no gun.

        • shink

          Wow, this, this is amazing. Alisons powers take away all the disincentives that stop most of us from pursuing violent action. The challenge of gaining access to whoever you want to harm? Easy to get around when you can fly and literally punch your way through buildings if you wanted to. The chance that others might interfere and stop you (and presumably harm you as well?), no one on there right mind would stand up to Alison, and anyone else is easily swatted aside. The chance that the other person will come out on top in the fight? The number of people who can physically threaten Alison in this comic so far are 2, and neither one wants to or is in a position to get in her way again. Legal consequences for her actions? That’s just funny. The only reason she has to not harm others is the social consequences and the guilt, and she could literally wait for someone to be alone, swoop down and break there vocal chords, and then drop them in the ocean if she wanted to, effectively removing all evidence that it was her and likely dodging loss of social capital. But we have guilt, you can’t escape guilt unless you’re a sociopath or psychopath, and Alison is neither.

          This is what power gives you, opportunity to act. Most of us technically have the opportunity to harm others, but lack the motivation (and possibly resources) required to gain the means to ensure success. Even if we don’t lack that, we fear consequences of our violent actions (social isolation, imprisonment, guilt, personal harm). A gun gives someone much the same power over others as Alisons powers do albeit to a much lesser degree. There’s a chance for example that you screw up and get to close and they attack you, or that outside parties interfere, it doesn’t really help you bury evidence, and the law will likely still come after you. Gurwara in his situation had a gun and society was so broken down that the consequences that could’ve been visited upon him by outside forces were null and void, and as such having a gun in that situation was basically as good as having Alisons powers.

          • Tylikcat

            This kind of logic always kind of cracks me up.

            Okay, there’s always guilt as a dismotivator, but that’s so… are we six?

            Seriously, what do you actually want to do with your life? Because for a lot of us, killing people and hiding the bodies is working against our own goals, and actively getting in the way of forming the kinds of relationships with other people we like, even if we don’t get caught. (Those are two separate things, BTW, thought there’s overlap.)

            That doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of room to screw up. But the idea that guilt and fear are the primary ways to social order are… well, pretty distasteful. If probably accurate for a large portion of the populace.

          • Arkone Axon

            I think you’re misreading what Shink was saying there. They were pointing out that Alison is basically like Gurwara-with-a-gun, at all times. Capable of doing whatever she wants, whenever she wants, and the ONLY thing stopping her is her own morality, her fear of a lifetime of regret over her actions. Not because we’re six, but because we’re invulnerable, invincible, and as far as we know neither law enforcement nor the military can stop us from doing whatever we want… just like Gurwara with his gun in a war zone.

          • Tylikcat

            Ah, no. “The only reason she has to not harm others is the social consequences and the guilt…” say Shink, and then mentions nothing but guilt.

            My point is that yes, it may only be based in her morality, but that doesn’t have to spring from either fear nor guilt. Morality doesn’t have to have that basis. There are better reasons to do primarily positive things and avoid killing people.

          • Arkone Axon

            “Then mentions nothing but guilt.”

            Yes… that’s the point. The only thing stopping her is her own guilt. She can do whatever she wants, whenever she wants. She could go back to Max right now, crush his hand, make him empower a bunch of other biodynamics, then drop him in the ocean and laugh at him, “sucks to be you!” She could then go rob a bank – not just the money, but the bank itself. Then drop it on a crowd of protestors whose politics she disagrees with. And no one could stop her. The only thing holding her back is her self-image, her fear of becoming someone she doesn’t like.

            And yes, there are better reasons to do things, and there are better ways of doing them… and she’s talking to a professor in the hopes of finding those better reasons and methods. The child soldier is seeking a better way than the path shown to her by the system that encouraged her to be a useful distraction from their mismanagement, corruption, and evil.

        • bryan rasmussen

          Just how buff was young Gurwara?

        • bta

          >People manage the same acts in the real world, without super powers, all the time. Any decision she made is on her, and her alone.

          Yes, it would be nice if we could live in a world where people never ever fail their Will saving throws.

      • Jon

        This is precisely how I read it as well – the gun gave him the power to force the world to change according to his will, instead of just being forced to react to whatever was thrust on him

      • Kid Chaos

        “If you give a man a gun…there’s a much greater chance that he’ll shoot you in the ass.” 😯

        • Weatherheight

          Gene Wilder as the Waco Kid:
          “Yeah, I was the kid…it got so that every pissant prairie punk who thought he could shoot a gun would ride into town to try out the Waco Kid. I must’ve killed more men than Cecil B Demille. Got pretty gritty. I started to hear the word draw in my sleep. Then one day, I was just walking down the street, and I heard a voice behind me say, “Reach for it Mister!” I spun around and there I was face to face with a six-year-old kid. Well I just threw my guns down and walked away….little bastard shot me in the ass!!”

    • CanuckAmuck

      Is he blaming the gun for his actions?

      Is that what you’re taking away from this?

    • motorfirebox

      He’s wishing he’d never been given the opportunity to make the choices that he made.

      • Tylikcat

        Or, maybe, that something like this particular choice came to him, if at all, some other time? Not that day. Not when he was that particular young man, with his dying friend.

        When I look at the utterly ridiculous life I’ve lived, so many parts of it come down to chance (and no few acts of kindness). There have been a lot of difficult situations that I’ve learned a lot from… but that I don’t have this level of guilt following me around is partly because of what world I’ve lived in, and what choices I needed to deal with when. Three cheers for not living in a war zone (yet). (Ha, I even tried, sort of. More than once. Well, at least once, there was no sort of about it.) My lessons about power and its misuse, and consent, maybe have been sobering, but are mostly fairly well filed under learning experiences.

        Most of that isn’t about choice, it’s about situation. Oh, it’s possible that being in much worse situations I would have been a paragon, but I’m not betting on it, and it’s far more likely that my learning experiences would have come with a body count. Possibly my body.

    • If your only tool is a hammer, all problems become nails.

      That’s the problem guns, or punching people superpowers, create.

    • pidgey

      He didn’t blame the gun for his actions, he blamed the gun for his feelings of guilt. He obviously recognizes that his choices were his own, but that doesn’t change the fact that had circumstances been different, so too would have been his choices. The point isn’t about assigning blame for the act of murder (he is clearly responsible there), but rather assigning blame for what created the power dynamic to which he responded so poorly.

      This seems obvious when you consider who he’s talking to. He isn’t talking to someone with a gun, he’s talking to someone who’s feeling guilt over a screwed up situation created by a power dynamic. Do you really think his point to Alison here is “you don’t have to feel bad because it’s your power’s fault, not yours”? That would be inane, and would make her feel worse, in any case.

  • Thraia

    I really miss the backgrounds in these kind of panels. The backgrounds for this comic are always so beautiful and even though the flat colours can really deliver the emotion of a scene, showing the normal and simple world continuing behind them without a care could really make this scene stand out even more. For me, at least.

  • Fluffy Dragon

    The gun is Max. or rather, the dossier sent by Patrick.
    If she had not found out about Max’s power, none of this would have happened.

    or, I guess, more literally.. Alison’s own power is the gun.

    • AveryAves

      Actually that’s interesting, I didn’t think of the dossier as the gun, I had thought Alison’s power was the obvious metaphor
      Of course they both work, but which is more valuable in discussing this?I _think_ the super strength but

    • AnonoBot9000

      The gun is a fallacy. There are millions of owners who manage to not shoot or kill anyone whenever they become angry. The act of possessing a “weapon” does not suddenly make you willing or capable to kill or injure others.

      Do the “gun” or “powers” make it easier to perform the act? Yes, admittedly, they are a shortcut.
      Does it make it impossible or infeasible to perform the act without it? Not in the slightest.

      The guilt of their respective actions is still entirely on Al and the Professor. They, as people, made the choice to hurt others to satisfy their desires.

      Any attempt to deflect the guilt onto their having found the weapon, or having their powers is simply cowardice and unwillingness to accept the blame for their actions.

      • Fluffy Dragon

        you’re forgetting the setting.
        for the professor he was living through what was essentially a war-zone.
        When the average person fear for their own survival, other lives become valued cheaper.
        then add the old idiom “when all you have is a hammer, all problems look like a nail.”
        when all you have is a gun, all solutions look like a bullet.
        if he didn’t have the gun, he might have tried to solve the problem any other way… but he did, and he didn’t.

        • AnonoBot9000

          That is still on him, not the gun. There was no reason to shoot the doctor. He did not refuse to work on the patient after the threat of violence, he did not attack the professor.

          He could have simply walked away at that point, and been relatively clean. Threatening the doctor to work on his friend could be forgiven given the emotions involved, no one was actually hurt.

          The Prof however, simply made the choice that it was OK for him to kill, because he was angry.

          That it was OK for him to take a life, based on nothing but a hunch, in order to make himself feel better about the situation.

          He then continues to deflect the guilt onto an inanimate object, rather than taking ownership of his actions.

          The doctor was not someone he mistook for an enemy soldier. He was not acting in a threatening manner. The professor broke into his home based on his personal feelings, then murdered the man for failing to save his dead friend.

          That’s like saying, “It’s ok that you murdered those orphans for their bread. It was a war-zone.”

          • He’s not deflecting his guilt. He’s (accurately) identifying the gun as a key point in his decision-making process. Once he made the choice to take the gun, he was making the choice to either use it to threaten someone with death, or use it to kill directly. If he hadn’t had the gun neither of those options would have been possible.

            (The orphans+bread scenario seems hyperbolical, but it crops up in accounts of war – people do unbelievably horrible things to survive, to people just as innocent as them, and you cannot judge them on the same standards as people who are not in a war zone / fleeing genocide / etc etc. Which is not to say the things they have done are in any way okay, but it’s a different brand of “not okay” than most of us, fingers crossed, are likely to meet.)

            IMO, his point is that it’s not morals that keeps most people moral, it’s the lack of power to act otherwise. Gurwara isn’t a good person – it’s just that most of us are lucky enough that we will never have to find out how bad we are.

          • KatherineMW

            Yes. Your last paragraph captures the point perfectly.

            And lines up with Daniel’s statement that people without power aren’t inherently more moral than people without it.

            It’s almost another way of saying “With great power comes great reesposibility”, except focused on a responsibility not to misuse that power rather than a responsibility to conduct anonymous vigilantism.

          • AnonoBot9000

            Taking up a gun, isn’t making a choice to kill an unarmed, non-threatening doctor though.

            There is a large difference between thinking, “I may need this to defend myself/my friend from the soldiers who attacked him.” and “It is ok for me to kill this unarmed doctor for failing to save my friend, because he might disagree with his religious viewpoint”.

            I mean hell, there is very little difference between the professor and the soldiers at the end of the day in this story. They both killed an innocent person, because of their religious beliefs. I am not defending them in this scenario, but at least the soldiers weren’t just acting on a gut hunch when they did it.

            There is a reason there is a whole classification for crimes committed during war time. Because while variance is given due to the horrible things that are going on around you, there are still just some things you should not do / are unforgivable. I am more than willing to look the other way, to people stealing supplies from a store, etc. When attempting to flee from the horrors of war.
            However no one should overlook situations where innocents / defenseless people are killed, regardless of (majority of) the circumstances.

            The issue is, in both of these situations. They did not lack the power without the gun or super powers. The professor still could have killed the doctor, and Al could still have kidnapped the rich guy.

            They were still both fully capable of committing the same acts without them, they simply made them easier, thus they are irrelevant to the situations at hand.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            Okay, Alison is orders of magnitude above a gun. Allison is a plane carrying nuclear bombs when everybody else only has a rock. Allison could have still kidnapped the rich guy? So a completely human Alison would have to overpower a guy, which would be a lot harder for her cause he’s got some weight on her, then drag him out his house, and transport him all the way to the hospital. She could just do that?
            Well… maybe if she had a GUN.

          • AnonoBot9000

            Drug his drink, toss him in a van, take him where she needs to go.

            This isn’t complicated, people are kidnapped all the time without a gun or super strength being present.

          • Stephanie

            Max was going to accept a drink he didn’t see made from the woman he was really pissed at for dumping him? And then stay drugged for the many hours it would have taken to transport him to Feral’s location?

          • AnonoBot9000

            I do mostly agree with your last point though, as an aside. I just don’t think the gun is actually the key focus. As you briefly mention, it is the situation that caused this to come to light.

            He could of, and likely still would have killed the doctor without it.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            You seem very certain of this. You underestimate how much power a gun makes somebody feel they have. Gurwara may have been physically superior to the Doctor sufficient to overpower and kill him. Maybe, maybe not. He might not be so sure.
            But with a gun in his hand, he KNEW he had a deadly advantage and threat.

          • Caliban

            No, not at all. Guns give you overwhelming lethal force at your fingertips. If you have a rock or a knife and have a moment of fury you may stab or hit someone, but you are far less likely to kill them than if you shoot them.

            Guns are harder to defend against, and much more likely to be lethal with a single pull of the trigger. It’s not so much that they make us more violent, as that they make our violence so much more likely to be lethal. You might reconsider an attack after you injure someone, but with a gun that injury is so much more likely to be fatal.

            If he didn’t have the gun, he probably wouldn’t have been able to force his way into the house – the doctor knew he could be shot through the door. If he had a lead pipe or a knife – not nearly as certain. And even if he had – he may have attacked the doctor in after his friend dies, but killing him would have not have been nearly as likely. He may have reconsidered after the first blow or two after his initial rage had a chance to subside. You don’t often get that chance when you shoot someone (yes people have survived multiple gunshot wounds, but they are the exception not the norm).

            Guns turn us into killers because they can make incidents of violence uniformly more lethal, because we made them so terribly effective at what they do. To the point that you just have to show someone a gun, and most people will instantly comply because they don’t feel they have reasonable chance of resisting.

      • GreatWyrmGold

        Funny how you completely missed the point.

        The gun didn’t force Gurwara to kill, it gave him the option. Alison’s powers didn’t force her to destroy Max’s sense of security and autonomy, it gave her the option.

        • AnonoBot9000

          Funny how you completely missed the point.

          The gun wasn’t required for Gurwara to have the option to kill the doctor. Alison’s powers weren’t required for her to be able to kidnap and assault Max.

          Both of these things happen all the time in the real world, without your criteria being met.

          The tools simply made it easier, and were never required for the actions to be feasible.

          • eleonine

            The point here is precisely that it made it easier. You can own a gun and not do anything terrible. You can live in a war zone and not do anything terrible. You can be grief-stricken and desperate and not do anything terrible. And you are, indeed, responsible for your actions regardless of your circumstances.

            But no one acts in a vacuum. It’s one thing to give a gun to someone in a stable society who understands that killing someone with it will be met with retribution by the state, even if they have “good” reasons to do it. That gun is another thing entirely in the hands of someone in a situation of near-anarchy, who’s already primed for violence, and whose friend just died.

            The gun made it *so easy* to make the mistake. The level of rage required to beat a man to death–not just beat him, but keep going until he is dead–is so much greater than the level required to shoot him.

            I don’t read this as an excuse. I read it as a lamentation.

          • GreatWyrmGold

            You still need a tool, even if the “tool” is only a tool in a metaphorical sense. And the tools given to Allison and Gurwara were actually powerful enough that they had a good chance of succeeding in their coercion.

        • Stephanie

          To expand on this: The metaphorical gun isn’t just the option to do something terrible with it. It’s also the option to prevent terrible things that would otherwise happen. Gurwara is saying that if he had never found the gun, not only would the doctor have lived, but he would also have been guiltless for his friend’s death. Once he had the gun, he had the power to coerce the doctor, and–from his perspective at the time–if he did not do so, he’d be condemning his friend to die. By obtaining the power to help his friend he became responsible, or at least felt he was responsible, for his friend’s wellbeing.

          Similarly, if Alison had never known about Max’s power, then she might have grieved for Feral’s suffering and the suffering of everyone Feral couldn’t save, but she wouldn’t have felt responsible for it. Once she knew it was possible for her to prevent all that suffering, she lost the option to keep her hands clean by leaving the situation alone. If she allowed the suffering to continue, she could no longer say “This sucks, but it’s not my fault.”

          • AnonoBot9000

            She has the ability to go rob a bank, in order to feed / cloth the destitute.
            I don’t see her doing that.

            She has super strength and flight, which could be used to quickly and cheaply create housing for the homeless.
            I don’t see her doing that.

            The only reason she helped in this situation, is because Feral was suffering, and is her friend.

            It had nothing to do with the other people that would be helped.

          • Stephanie

            I don’t believe I ever said that I don’t think she should be using her power to address other causes of immense human suffering, although I don’t think your suggested approaches are anywhere near the most efficient or effective ways to accomplishing that.

            In any case, the debate over how much she cared about Feral’s suffering vs everyone else’s really has nothing to do with this. Even if we ignore all prior established characterization and assume that she exclusively cares about Feral and is a total sociopath toward the rest of humanity, the point stands: She would not have been “responsible” for Feral’s suffering if she had not had the power to alleviate it. Having that power meant she could no longer blamelessly stand on the sidelines.

          • AnonoBot9000

            The point is, her powers have nothing to do with the situation she was in, anymore than the gun did in Guwara’s case. Yeah, those aren’t the best examples, however they are also things I came up with in 10 seconds, and without the benefit of having super genius friends available to discuss solutions with like she has available.

            She has the power to solve many other issues of far greater magnitude/horrific-ness, that by your reasoning she is “responsible” for, and yet she does nothing.

            She is willing to do horrible things, when it helps her or someone she cares about. That isn’t due to her super strength enabling it, or from a “morale respsonibility”, that is on her as a person.

          • Stephanie

            Her powers have everything to do with the situation she was in. They were what empowered her to easily, safely force Max to help Feral. Just like Gurwara’s gun empowered him to easily, relatively safely force the doctor to operate on his friend.

            The argument “then why isn’t she doing MORE things” has nothing to do with this. Yes, I do think her power makes her responsible to alleviate human suffering as much as she can. Yes, I do think she often fails to live up to that responsibility. That doesn’t change the fact that she felt responsible for Feral when she found out she was able to help her, and that she would have been blameless in Feral’s suffering if she had not had the power to alleviate it.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            I think I’ll have far more fun debating with you then Anon, so if I could hijack a bit here, and to play Max’s* advocate a bit, DOES her power make her responsible to alleviate as much suffering as she can? Unlike say, the power given by positions of authority (law enforcement for example), Allison’s was not asked for or pursued by her. She simply had it. She also found it utterly frustrating since once all the supervillians were punched out she just found herself doing nothing to improve the status quo in any meaningful way, and sees no way to use her power that really makes a meaningful impact at the time.

            I’d ask you these questions: If Allison was righteous in forcing Max to do what he could, A. Should she continue to do so every time she finds another situation where he could make a difference and B. Should the government, if able, force her back into service immediately (the only realistic option I could think of is using her family as hostages), since she is drastically failing to do all that she could right now?

            *Kid’s still a prick tho.

          • Stephanie

            It’s just my own moral view that everyone has a responsibility to alleviate as much suffering as they can without seriously neglecting their own needs. Alison has more power, so she has more responsibility. (I realize this is an unrealistic expectation of people; it’s an ideal to strive for rather than a mandate, in my mind.)

            I don’t think AIison should necessarily take every opportunity to alleviate suffering. That would lead to “murder one person to save two” scenarios. She should be judicious in how she goes about alleviating suffering. I think what she did with Max was justified because it was a high-quality opportunity to alleviate an enormous amount of suffering, at the cost of only a small amount of harm to Max and a few hours of their time.

            I think trying to force her to do more would be way too risky. Threatening her family could lead to a situation where negotiations break down utterly and the government has no choice but to kill her, making it impossible for her to do any good works in the future.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            You might have responded before my edit, so I will point above that I added in something like “power nullifier” that would avoid the complications of family.
            Lets assume the government has a power dampner or nullifier that can be used at a distance. They can now take Allison down to a level where they can realistically take her out of the game or even just take her out. Would they then be right to force her (and any other super for that matter) back into service? Lets even assume they wont’ do anything as sketchy as start telling her to take out foreign leaders. They’ll only make her do stuff that unquestionably is saving lives, or at least taking down unambigious bad guys. Should they make her? Or failing that, strip her of her power forever if she wont?

          • Stephanie

            I don’t think that coercing Alison that way could be done safely. She’s not useful when her powers are dampened, and she can’t be easily controlled when they’re not. Right now Alison is actively trying to figure out how to best use her powers to help the world, even if she’s not perfect at it. I don’t think anybody wants to change her immediate goals from “make things better” to “fight back against the government that’s trying to control me.”

            I think if they let negotiations degrade to that extent, they’d have to strip her of her power forever–not as punishment for failing to “do enough,” but just to eliminate her as a threat.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            I was thinking something along the lines of the depowering collar, remote acdtivated. She’s doing what they say? She has her powers. She goes against them? *beep* powers gone. Of course, what you envision is the inevitable end of most attempts at this sort of thing, the hero (or monster) figures out how to get around the tether and enacts horrible vengeance. I’m more interested though in the hypothetical. If they could reliably bring her to heel, weather it be my depowering collar idea, or some new super that is now the strongest putting her at #2, or whatever. If they had a reliable away to make her do what they want, and they only want her to do things that’d gain a net positive in the world, should they? Also to exapand the other half of my questions: That one doctor had a lot of ideas. If they turn out to be as significant as the Feral situation, should she continue to make Max do more?

          • Stephanie

            If we stipulate that Alison can be reliably and safely controlled, that the entity in charge of controlling her is perfectly benevolent and has effective solutions to world problems, that Alison won’t carry out these actions voluntarily even if the benefits are explained to her, and that what she would do on her own would alleviate substantially less suffering, then sure, coerce her.

            I’m down with squeezing Max like a sponge until he powers up everyone who can make the world substantially less awful.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            I wouldn’t have gone with the effective solutions part, but I think you’ve made your viewpoint clear.

            Now, last round of questions! if it turns out, after this, that the reliable and safe control method fails, and Alison does exact bloody retribution, was it still right to coerce her? And is she right for seeking vengence?

          • Stephanie

            In practice we can only make decisions based on the information we have at the time. So yes, based on the information the government had at the time, given all of those stipulations I listed before, they were still in the right to try to coerce her. I don’t think their decision can be retroactively made morally wrong, even if it has a bad outcome. The concept of morality isn’t useful unless we can apply it when it’s relevant.

            I don’t think she would be right to seek vengeance, because I don’t see any value in vengeance. I think it’s one of the worst impulses humans have. If I could cut one characteristic out of all humans everywhere, it would probably be the desire for vengeance.

          • Kane York

            Having that power meant she could no longer blamelessly stand on the sidelines.

            Take the trolley problem. Remove the lever.
            Take Guwara’s story. Remove the gun on the street.
            Take Allison & Feral. Remove the dossier.

          • Zorae42

            smbc-comics.com/?id=2305

            Of course, that sort of progress requires the rest of the world to also want to fix the major problems plaguing it. And as other people have pointed out, in this comic they actively removed people that could make the world a better place…. It’d also be a pretty boring comic.

          • AnonoBot9000

            And before anyone tries to claim, “But people were dying without those extra organs, she had to act now!”

            ~22 people die every day from lack of available transplant organs.
            ~21,000 people die every day from food related concerns.

            If assaulting and kidnapping a person was necessary to save 22 people, she should be robbing every bank and rich person in existence in order to save those starving people.

            But those starving people don’t cause her friend to suffer, so aren’t an issue to her.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            false equivalence. Saving all of those people from food related concerns isn’t simply a matter of wealth, it’s a matter of distribution and infrastructure. If Allison robs a bank, she still has to actually get the money to the poor people. Depending on those poor people’s circumstances, money could be worthless (There are people starving in Mosul right now because there is not enough food in Mosul. All the poor and disenfranchised there could have 100 times their current wealth and would still be starving because they don’t have enough food).
            Amping up Feral’s powers wouldn’t matter if Feral didn’t go to the hospital, which then set up an entire network to get her organs out there to people that needed it.
            Alison doesn’t see a solution to that problem. Her “Gun” can’t solve it. One of her great frustrations in life is that her “gun” doesn’t work on most of the real problems. But once that folder came across her desk, she realized there was one that could be solved. And when the solution was reluctant, she insisted.

          • AnonoBot9000

            Saying false equivalence doesn’t make it true.

            She could save more than ~22 people a day, by simply stealing a pallet of food, and flying it herself to any of a large number of starving villages. She could likely do this multiple times a day, already saving several factors more people.

            She is personal friends with one of the smartest people on the planet, who could likely easily come up with a solution given “infinite money and supplies” from robbing banks.

            Hell, even having that money would enable her to setup distribution channels in order to get food to those areas.

          • Tdoodle

            Where would that pallet of food come from, Anon? I would hope she’d pick a high-end grocery store to ensure she isn’t causing other neighborhoods to starve. What about the employees who weren’t able to stop her? Will they get reprimanded for the loss? If Al keeps stealing from the same stores, will these stores go out of business? Is she just stealing fruit, or is she able to also get some protein source that won’t go bad? What about areas that don’t have clean water? She’d need to steal water bottles as well, but that goes quickly (and is even more expensive than produce).

            If you rob a bank, do you only rob from ‘rich’ accounts? What is your metric for what is ‘rich’ and who you shouldn’t steal from? Again, how do you address what happens to these bank employees after their branch’s reputation suffers because you keep stealing from them? What about the clients who no longer feel safe storing their money?

            This solution of yours causes far more harm than good.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            Except when it’s true. Your example is half-formed with glaring flaws.
            If the smartest man on the planet, who we know is not bound by conventional morality, is smart enough to figure out how to fix everything, WHY HASN’T HE ALREADY?! He had that as one of his goals in the first place. He gave up when he realized it was beyond him and all the real game changers were eliminated before they could.

      • Stephanie

        The point you’re missing, as I expanded on in my comment below, is that the gun didn’t just give Gurwara the option of killing the doctor. As he says, if he’d never had the gun, his friend would have died in the street, and it wouldn’t have been Gurwara’s fault. Once he possessed the gun, choosing not to coerce the doctor would have been a conscious decision to let his friend die in the street. Just having the gun, having that power, burdened him with moral responsibility.

        • AnonoBot9000

          The point your missing is, the gun did not grant him any unbeknownst power or extra-normal responsibility, to attempt to save his friend. All the gun granted was a post mortem excuse in order to deflect the full morality of his actions as being beyond his control.

          Choosing to not coerce or threaten the doctor would have ALWAYS been a conscious decision to let his friend die in the street. At no time would he have not possessed the ability to make and follow through with the threat. He could have just as easily picked up a rock, a piece of wood/club, or even used his bare hands.

          The gun didn’t require him to threaten to kill the doctor if his friend died, he was already working on him. The gun didn’t require him to then actually kill the doctor when he failed.

          Blaming it on the tool is simply removing the agency from his actions.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            But that is exactly what it did. The gun granted him power. More importantly, it granted him a SENSE of power. It doesn’t matter how much difference the gun would have made. He believed it granted him power, irrespective of how much power it did or didn’t grant him by now believing he had a power he did not, his decision tree on what to do was altered.
            Just as importantly, your wrong about what the character is saying. He’s not saying the gun absolves him of his actions. But he believes the gun presented choices he’d otherwise not have had to make. Again, his belief is important here. Gurwara felt he had a power. Looking back, he’d rather he never had it. You can argue the could have’s all you want, unless the character is lying (unlikely) we know how it happened, and we know why he believed it happened how it did. The realities of what he could have done without the gun don’t matter, we only know how they happened when he did.

          • Stephanie

            You’re seriously underestimating how much power a gun grants you in that kind of interaction. Most people who would be willing to use a gun in that situation would not think it was worth the risk to try the same thing with a rock.

          • AnonoBot9000

            He wasn’t stealing a TV. He was trying to save/avenge his friends life.

            If he was willing to kill over it, and he was by his own admission. He would have been willing to do it with a rock or a club. The gun didn’t give him that anger, the situation did. And that situation would still be present without the gun.

            He is lying to himself and trying to remove his own agency in his actions, by placing the fault with the rifle.

          • Stephanie

            “If he was willing to kill over it, and he was by his own admission. He would have been willing to do it with a rock or a club.”

            This is an unfounded assumption. People who want to kill are, obviously, more likely to go through with it if they can do it with high odds of success and relatively little risk to themselves. Like, in a hypothetical where Gurwara is in a wheelchair or something, would you be arguing “If he was willing to kill, he would have tried to ram the doctor to death with his chair”? People don’t exercise power that they don’t feel they have.

            Also, several people have already explained that you’re seriously misinterpreting the page by claiming Gurwara is denying his own agency in the decision to use the gun.

          • AnonoBot9000

            Wait, which is it? Is he a rational thinking person, taking the time to judge the risk to himself over attacking the doctor, and all possible outcomes? Or he is blinded by emotion due to his loss / the stress?

            From another post of yours;
            Stephanie wrote: “That may be, but in that case he still wouldn’t be thinking from the
            perspective “It will be useful/advantageous for me to follow through on
            my promise.””

          • Stephanie

            …Are you assuming that hasty risk calculations aren’t a component of emotionally-motivated decisions?

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            I’m seriously starting to question if Anonobot isn’t simply a troll at this point. Perhaps we should stop feeding.

          • AnonoBot9000

            I’m not the one trying to use two diametric arguments to support the same view point.

          • Stephanie

            I…I’m sorry you don’t know how human brains work? I don’t know what to tell you. People who have an urge to kill in moments of high emotion don’t utterly lose all sense of self-preservation and become mindless frothing rabies-monsters who will murder by any means necessary, however unrealistic or impractical.

            Much of the decision-making process is unconscious. You don’t actually have to sit down and rationally weigh the pros and cons for your brain to say “trying to kill this guy with a rock is too dangerous, let’s not.” If that were how humans worked, we’d have died out a long time ago.

            The reality is that people are far more likely to kill others or themselves if they have a readily accessible, reliable, low-risk, low-effort means of accomplishing that. Again, I don’t know what to tell you.

          • AnonoBot9000

            Cut the condescending crap. You literally claimed that Guwara was not in a state where he could make a logical decision, as to killing the doctor after his friend died. You claimed he was acting purely on emotion.

            Someone acting purely on emotion is not going to go, “oh, well I only have a giant rock in my hand against an unarmed elderly doctor, clearly this is now too risky to avenge my dead friend.” Even subconsciously he has the advantage in that situation.

            The same way he went, “I have a gun, I am pissed, I am going to shoot this guy to death.”, he is going to go, “I have a rock, I am pissed, I am going to club this guy to death.”

          • Stephanie

            I said that he was most likely not giving it a careful ethical consideration and that he was not considering the utility of having a reputation for following through on threats, not that his brain stopped working and he lost all sense of self-preservation and mindlessly attacked the doctor like a cornered animal.

            There’s no evidence in the comic to suggest that the doctor was elderly, or otherwise vulnerable to being easily killed without a weapon.

          • I think you may not be understanding how rage works.

            Do you know what the single greatest predictor of successfully committing suicide is? Easy access to a firearm. Even the difference between keeping a firearm in a quick-access quick-release safe vs. in the basement in a standard, slow-to-open safe makes some difference.

            Extreme emotion is quick, and usually doesn’t last long. And killing someone with a rock is a slow process. I can imagine hitting someone ONCE with a rock, but continuing to hit them, I think, would be more difficult. Not impossible, but harder. And while it’s possible to kill someone with one blow of a rock, it would usually take a couple smashes.

            I don’t buy the “guns don’t kill people; people kill people” argument. It’s true-ish, but

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            Seriously Stephanie, it’s time to stop feeding the troll!

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            Do you honestly believe it’s as easy to beat a man to death, with a rock or a club something that takes a bit of time and effort, as it is to squeeze a trigger once at the height of a stressor?

            Honest question, have you ever held a gun? Fired one? As somebody who has, and has also taken martial arts (though I don’t proclaim to be any great master of either) I can assure you the one way of killing is a lot easier then the other. Both in psychology and practicality.

          • Izo

            I doubt most people who are here have EVER held a gun or fired one, to think that having one instantly means ‘heck, I have the power, I will kill people now.’ Someone having that mentality has it BEFORE getting the gun as well, and there seem to be waaaay too many people on this forum who have that type of mentality.

          • Stephanie

            Nobody is claiming that guns magically turn you into a killer. The point is that having a gun gives you the option of killing very easily. If you already have the desire to kill, a gun makes it easy for you to act on that desire.

            We know that Gurwara wanted to kill the doctor, and we know that, with a gun in his hand, he did kill the doctor. But if he had had no gun, then even though he would still have been that same person who’s willing to kill with a gun, his killing intent would never have been actualized. He would have remained blameless (emphasis on would have been), simply because he would have been powerless.

          • Izo

            It’s unclear if his killing intent would not be realized without a gun. People have been killing other people long before guns were invented.

          • Stephanie

            Yes, it is unclear, which is why I’ve been arguing that Anonobot’s certainty that he would have killed the doctor anyway is unfounded.

            Based on what Gurwara says in today’s page, at least, it sounds like he does not think he would have tried to kill the doctor if he hadn’t had the gun.

          • Izo

            Seriously Stephanie, sometimes you’re the only person on this forum I feel I can disagree with and not get PERSONALLY attacked by you. It’s refreshing.

            “Based on what Gurwara says in today’s page, at least, it sounds like he does not think he would have tried to kill the doctor if he hadn’t had the gun.”

            Which is my point. The gun is not the ‘but for’ that some people are claiming (including Gurwara in the last panel) since he might have tried even without a gun. Which is also what I felt that Anonobot is arguing.

            PS – seriously, how do you do italics?

          • Stephanie

            I appreciate the kind words, but I think I should say that a lot of the personal attacks you’ve been receiving are…well, people responding in kind. You have personally attacked people without provocation repeatedly in today’s comments, and in previous comments sections as well. I think people would be less likely to resort to personal attacks against you if you pulled back on the “you’re a psychopath, you terrify me” comments.

            Re: Gurwara, I think that it’s possible he would have tried without the gun, but unlikely. Without the gun it would have been dangerous and impractical for him to attempt to coerce and later kill the doctor. The gun made it easy. In Gurwara’s mind, having the gun was what gave him the option of killing.

          • Izo

            “I appreciate the kind words, but I think I should say that a lot of the personal attacks you’ve been receiving are…well, people responding in kind.”

            No, it’s different. I’m talking about these people’s ideas. They’re attacking me personally in response because they can’t argue with my ideas, or are incapable of doing so. Also, when I say psychopathic, it’s because I’m talking about the mentality of excusing murder. It IS scary. People who excuse murder flippantly do scare me. That’s me being honest. I HONESTLY am scared by people who think they are justified in lethal, or even non-lethal physical force because I (or other) don’t want to do what they want me (or others) to do.

            “You have personally attacked people without provocation repeatedly in today’s comments, and in previous comments sections as well. I think people would be less likely to resort to personal attacks against you if you pulled back on the “you’re a psychopath, you terrify me” comments.”

            They’re using reasoning which can quite easily be classified as psychopathic – saying that ‘you had something bad happen and someone else did not do what you say, therefore I can kill you now’ is a psychopathic thing to say. Literally. It’s an abnormal method of violent social interaction which is unwarranted in civilized society.

            Think of it this way Stephanie. You and I regularly disagree in our debates. I’ve never considered you ‘psychopathic’ even though you’re a pretty devout utilitarian and I consider utilitarianism to be something which frequently will devolve into fascist behavior. I think you’d agree that what Gurwara did can not even be excused under a utilitarian philosophy. There was no advantage to doing so. No greater good whatsoever.

          • Stephanie

            I understand that you believe that what you’re saying about those commenters is true and warranted, but it definitely comes across as an attack on them as people, not merely their ideas. Accusing someone of being a psychopath is a personal attack, even if you’re basing the accusation on what you believe their ideas imply about them. They respond in kind because they reasonably perceive that you are attacking them. (Also, the person in question absolutely never said anything in the vein of ‘you had something bad happen and someone else did not do what you say, therefore I can kill you now.’)

            You’re right that I agree that there was zero advantage to killing the doctor. I’m pretty strongly opposed to vengeance as a concept.

          • Tylikcat

            Look up HTML tags.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            I said easier, not easy. Consider this: To beat a man to death, in most circumstances, I have to do something prolonged. I have to hit a person, and keep hitting them, including after they stop moving so much. And perhaps I stop. Perhaps I feel I’ve inflicted enough violence before lethal or even permanent damage has been reached, and my anger assuaged and/or my safety secured, I disengage.

            A gun, I have to do one quick action.Just one really quick one while they are still up and about, and then if done accurately, they stop being alive, perhaps before the full weight of what’s just happened even hits.

          • Izo

            While I do understand what you’re saying, I find, at least from personal experience as a lawyer who has worked in the DA’s office, that people who do choose to pull the trigger without their lives (or the lives of their loved ones) personally being in danger tend to have a sociopathic or psychopathic mentality. I’m not saying this just as some sort of namecalling. I’m saying they literally have a mental disorder (not one qualifying necessarily as legal insanity though) that lets them justify doing abnormal violent social actions. Even most police, when they fire their gun, have to go to therapy afterwards if it results in someone being killed.

            The ONLY difference I can see is a gun allows someone who is physically incapable of killing someone physically to do so, but in both being armed with a gun and not being armed with a gun, you have to have the willingness to kill. A lot of people don’t – even police and soldiers. In fact, with soldiers, that’s the whole point of basic training. Breaking a person down to rebuild them into someone who is willing to do so, directed at the enemy soldiers (while not being directed at innocent civilians). I don’t see any reason that Gurwara can use the gun as an excuse for his action though. He had a killer instinct either way, and I don’t doubt that had he found a knife, or a club, he would still have tried the same thing. It just would have been more difficult to pull it off physically.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            Gurwara hasn’t used the gun to excuse his action. But he believes his aciton is possible because of the gun.

            The experiences you describe don’t apply here, as you could argue Gurwara was atypical in that he had a loved one being in danger at that time, in a high stress situation that no doubt had influenced before that moment, considering you had soldiers dead in the street and all in the first place.

          • To your first comment — in the United States, target shooting is not an uncommon hobby. Nor is hunting. Nor is military service particularly rare. You might be right in your assessment, but I wouldn’t be sure of it. I’ve got my LTC, for instance, and while I don’t own a firearm, that’s because I’ve always had other expenses that take prioritrty. I HAVE gone shooting, though.

          • Izo

            He wasn’t trying to save his friend by killing the doctor. His friend was already dead.

            He wasn’t trying to avenge his friend by killing the doctor. The doctor did not cause the injury, and did all he could but does not have superhuman healing powers.

            I agree about him lying to himself in order to remove his own agency though. The only good thing that is coming out of this storyline so far is I feel justified in my initially despising Gurwara.

          • Izo

            Somehow I’ve managed to NOT shoot someone in all my years. Because, yknow, it’s wrong to kill another person if not in self defense or defense of others. And what Gurwara did? It wasn’t in defense of others – his friend was already dead, and the doctor had NOTHING to do with it.

          • Stephanie

            I’m not sure what that has to do with what I said. I think we all agree that killing people is wrong and that Gurwara didn’t have a good reason to shoot the doctor. That has nothing to do with the question of whether someone who would kill with a gun would also kill without one.

          • Izo

            Just to be clear, murdering people is wrong. Killing people sometimes isn’t. If Gurwara was a soldier and the doctor was an enemy soldier, for example (which they weren’t). If the doctor was actively trying to kill his friend (which he wasn’t).

            My post to you was not necessarily in response to you, but just in general that having a gun does not mean you automatically lose the ability to use your newfound power responsibly.

          • Stephanie

            Okay, but I don’t think anybody is arguing that having a gun automatically turns you into a killer. It gives you the option to be a killer, that’s it.

          • Izo

            As does having a kitchen knife, or being bigger and/or stronger than another person. But having a gun doesn’t create the killer instinct – you have that before even having a gun in the first place.

          • Stephanie

            No one is arguing that having a gun creates a killer instinct. The debate in this thread is about the extent to which having a gun (or other reliably lethal means) makes someone with killing intent more likely to act on it. Anonobot is arguing that Gurwara would have killed the doctor with any means at hand if he had not had the gun; I and others are arguing that this assumption is unfounded, and that it’s perfectly plausible that Gurwara would not have acted on his desire to coerce or kill the doctor if he had not had the gun.

          • Izo

            ” The debate in this thread is about the extent to which having a gun (or other reliably lethal means) makes someone with killing intent more likely to act on it. ”

            Well I disagree as to the gun portion but you qualified that with ‘other reliably lethal means’ – and that part I agree with you on.

            But the thing is you don’t need a gun to threaten to kill.

            “Anonobot is arguing that Gurwara would have killed the doctor with any means at hand if he had not had the gun”

            I agree with Anonobot then, although I’d qualify it by saying would have tried, since he’d be possibly less successful than if he had a gun, although if you have a gun and no killer instinct, you’re more likely to get shot with your own gun if the other person DOES have a killer instinct.

            I’ve seen cases of it more than once back when I worked at the DA’s office.

            ” I and others are arguing that this assumption is unfounded, and that it’s perfectly plausible that Gurwara would not have acted on his desire to coerce or kill the doctor if he had not had the gun.”

            I think you’re engaging in wishful thinking of ‘but for’ that Gurwara would not have tried even without the gun, but at least you’ve been the most respectful person when debating me on this point.

          • Stephanie

            I don’t think it’s wishful thinking. Gurwara is telling us here that he would not have tried without the gun, and I believe him. Having the desire to kill doesn’t mean you will act on it at any cost.

            Trying to threaten the doctor with a rock or something might technically have been an option, but–like most people–Gurwara evidently didn’t see it as a reasonable option. The gun gave him an extraordinary amount of power in the interaction and allowed him to threaten and kill the doctor at relatively little risk to himself, without having to actually brawl with him. This is particularly important given that he was coercing the doctor to perform surgery, meaning there was no way around the doctor having sharp objects in his hands the entire time.

            The risks involved in straight-up fighting someone without a ranged weapon are a powerful disincentive, even for someone who wants to control or kill that person.

        • cphoenix

          Well, he did two things with the gun: 1) he coerced the doctor; 2) he killed the doctor. Once he had the gun, he could easily have done the first and not the second, if he’d been a different sort of person or in a different mood at the time.

          Finding the gun gave him the power, and moral responsibility, to force the doctor to try to save his friend. Once the friend died, he had no moral responsibility to do anything. What he chose to do with the gun at that point was all him.

          I have to say, in my book the guilt from coercing the doctor is FAR smaller than the guilt from killing the doctor. So the comment in the post you’re responding to: “The guilt of their respective actions is still entirely on Al and the Professor.” In the Professor’s case, it’s at least 90% true.

      • JustDucky

        That is demonstrably untrue. Multiple studies have found that a gun in the home at least doubles the risk of murder and triples the risk of completed suicide.

        Here are two studies on the subject, one from the American Journal of Epidemiology and one from the New England Journal of Medicine:

        https://academic.oup.com/aje/article/160/10/929/140858/Guns-in-the-Home-and-Risk-of-a-Violent-Death-in

        http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199310073291506

        Or, if you prefer, here’s a news story from CBS on the same topic:

        http://www.cbsnews.com/news/study-guns-in-home-increase-suicide-homicide-risk/

        • AnonoBot9000

          None of that discounts anything I said.

          I politely suggest you re-read my post.

          • Stephanie

            How does it not discount what you said? You’re arguing all over the thread that someone who would kill with a gun would definitely also kill by any other means if a gun were not available. In reality, people with a reliably lethal method at hand are much more likely to go through with homicide or suicide. That’s fact.

          • AnonoBot9000

            You’re asking how a post giving examples that guns make it easier to kill, doesn’t discount my post claiming that the gun made it easier to kill, but wasn’t the only way of accomplishing it?

            The argument is that in the situation Guwara was in, he still would have threatened and killed the doctor without the gun. Not that all murders would still be committed without guns, at no point have I ever claimed that.

          • Stephanie

            There is no basis for your assumption that Gurwara would have threatened and killed the doctor if he had not had the gun.

          • JustDucky

            “The act of possessing a ‘weapon’ does not suddenly make you willing or capable to kill or injure others”

            Then how do you explain the discrepancy in domestic murder rates in houses with and without guns and the discrepancy in completed suicide rates in houses with and without guns?

            If guns do not increase either the willingness to kill or the capability of doing so, there should be no discrepancy in quantity. Instead, the discrepancy should be in method. People In houses without guns would, per your earlier comment,* beat their intimate partners (and themselves) to death with their bare hands at the same rate that people in houses with guns shoot them. The murder and completed suicide rates would be consistent across all households.

            Additionally, if guns do not impact the capability of people to kill, there is no need to own one for self defense. And, for that matter, there is also no need to own a gun for hunting. Why not smply beat the deer to death with your bare hands?

            * “He was never powerless, even without the gun he could have still forced open the doctors door, and threatened to beat him to death with his bare hands. The gun was simply a shortcut.”

          • Weatherheight

            Well, a better point is that there are somewhat higher rates of attempted homicides and suicides than “successful” homicides and suicides. The dramatically higher rates in completed homicides and suicides just indicates that firearms are more effective methods of committing these acts, not that they necessarily enable the attempt itself.

            Now, firearms being a more effective method of causing death does seem to increase attempts at both homicide and murder, and thus speaks to your point, but there does seem to be the “it’ll be quick and painless and certain” issue, particularly in suicides. There was an fellow recently who attempted to kill himself by putting either a rifle or a handgun in his mouth and blew off his face and jaw and managed to miss anything immediately fatal. I seem to recall him feeling it would be painless and when it wasn’t he realized he’d made a huge mistake.

            Humans who have empathy do struggle a great deal more to harm others when they must knowingly and deliberately cause another pain, and the more direct/hand-on the method, the more reluctant they seem to be (electro-shock from behind a one-way mirror as opposed to being in the room is the classic experimental dichotomy).

            ::pauses thoughtfully::

            Of course, get a person with an affective disorder in the study, and your numbers get really odd…

    • Tylikcat

      Well, in a literal read, maybe. But if you think that Alison’s power is something she’s had all along, perhaps the gun is the postal service – the random element that meant she got the dossier after she had a fight with Max.* One can except responsibility for one’s actions and still… wince pretty badly at the sequences of events that brings them together in a particularly unfortunate order.

      * I am assuming that neither Patrick nor the all watching evil postal service scripted this event.

  • Arkone Axon

    I’m wondering one thing:

    Did he ever find out if the doctor shared the same religious beliefs as his friend?

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      Clearly not, he would have mentioned it. This isn’t a time he found out he was unequivocally wrong, this was a time looking back that he’s not sure.

      • motorfirebox

        Er? I don’t think he’s at all unsure about how wrong it was.

        • Insanenoodlyguy

          I was specifically referring to Arkon asking if he found out the doctor’s religion (which I believe is meant to lead to “Was Gurwara right that the doctor wasn’t going to try to save his friend because of religious differences?”). Gurwara says he was sure at the time that this was the reason, but the implications are that he’s not so certain today.

          • Beroli

            Actually, he said he’s sure right then, even in the same sentence when he says he has no proof but his heart. “So, with no proof other than the counsel of my own heart, I tell you now that this man was condemning my friend to death because of a hatred for his faith.”

          • Arkone Axon

            The insane pasta fellow was correct regarding my question. And… that’s the point. “No proof other than the counsel of my own heart.” Imagine how messed up a justice system would be if punishments were handed out by those who said, “I know in my heart that you are guilty.”

            I’m asking the original question because it would have elevated the irony to the level of a greek tragedy if Gurwara had ended up murdering a member of the same faith as his friend.

  • Markus

    Max is the Doctor. Al is the gun.

    The real question is whether the Prof. or Alison will only get one rock this time.

    • BGB

      No, the folder Patrick sent to Allison is the gun.

      • Insanenoodlyguy

        It’s really not. The gun is the power, and the perceived responsibility that comes with that power (I can change things, I have to!) The folder was a catalyst. The Prof. Friend was the folder.

        • jandesf

          The folder was the trigger then.

          • Beroli

            The folder is the sign outside the doctor’s office. It’s what made the story’s protagonist realize an option that previously did not exist, which turned out to require using unrelated power to coerce someone.

            Looking at the stories in parallel, presumably if Gurwara’s friend had lived, Gurwara would not have killed the doctor. If Max had screamed but had stubbornly refused to (or been unable to) use his power no matter what Allison did to his arm, would she have kept her earlier promise to drop him in the middle of the ocean?

          • Shjade

            I don’t want to think about what a mess the comments would’ve been under THAT strip.

    • Mechwarrior

      Max isn’t cool enough to be the Doctor.

  • Roman Snow
  • Roman Snow
    • AveryAves

      It captures a lot of confusing feelings doesn’t it

      • Izo

        No, it just tells me that Gurwara is a cold-blooded murderer and someone should put a bullet in his brain as well.

        • fredhicks

          I see you’ve found your gun.

          • Izo

            Does anyone here think that, if the doctor had a family, and the doctor’s DAUGHTER came to the US to find the man who murdered her father, then shot Gurwara in the head, that you’d have NO sympathy for her? I mean she’d be guilty also, but I’m curious about how hypocritical people are about this.

          • Vigil

            I would have a great deal of sympathy for her. And that sympathy would be different from what I feel about Gurwara on several axes:
            – she would know for certain (I presume) Gurwara killed her dad, so the proof of the apparent transgression would be clearer, and thus I would have more sympathy for the action itself
            – She would have (had to) taken more time to plan and execute this, meaning the action would have been more premeditated, and so I would have less sympathy for the decision-making put into the action
            – various other axes. I could go on and on but it would distract from the main point.

            The main point being, I think both actions (Gurwara killing the doctor, the daughter killing Gurwara) are/would be wrong. I condemn both. Nevertheless I can feel sympathy for both people. I also feel sympathy for the doctor (and Gurwara on the receiving end of the daughter’s killing of him). I can put myself into their shoes and see their perspectives.

            I’d ask that you not suggest I’m condoning murderers for not immediately condemning every murderer as an irredeemable psychopath who we should never try to understand (I don’t want to get into a debate about rehabilitative vs. retributive justice, but that’s where my beliefs on this subject come from), especially when you yourself are saying we should have sympathy for the (hypothetical) daughter, presumably meaning you yourself also have sympathy for her. Justifiable or not (I think not), understandable or not (I think yes), the daughter seeking out Gurwara and shooting him would not be legal execution (which you’ve argued for in other comments), it would unambiguously be murder – just like Gurwara killing the doctor was murder.

          • Nexxo

            No. I’d be able to have sympathy for both Gurdwara as he feels remorse, and for the doctor’s daughter as she feels grief and hurt. It’s a tragedy, after all. He would have got the consequences of his actions but he also had remorse; she would have acted in revenge but very understandably so. In the end, three lives would have been destroyed, and that is sad.

        • The Distinguished Anarchist

          Hardly. Cold-blooded implies that an action is taken without pity or remorse, or is otherwise deliberately cruel or callous.

          He murdered the doctor in a moment of blind rage and grief, utterly convinced that he was doing justice for his fallen friend.

          Nothing cold-blooded about it.

          • Zinc

            That may well be, and I completely disagree with Izo here regardless, but this is not at all what Gurwara said happened. According to him he killed the doctor not to avenge his friend but because he believed at the time that he should keep his promises – which is pretty cold blooded. Sure, he may be twisting the truth for dramatic purposes, and it’s also very possible that he was not really aware of his own reasons – there is quite a body of evidence that humans are prone to act first, and rationalize later, and believe that their later rationalizations were the actual reasons for their actions. Perhaps he acted in rage and grief, and later convinced himself he has not.

            Nonetheless, his own testimony about his character should be given some weight, and not thrown out the window. If he is wrong about his motivation but not intentionally dissembling, that might imply that he at least considers his past self to be a cold blood murderer, willing to commit violence solely for (what he now considers to be) insufficient or illogical reasons.

          • grthwllms .

            “According to him he killed the doctor not to avenge his friend but because he believed at the time that he should keep his promises – which is pretty cold blooded.”
            That’s literally what he said, but I think this is just an entendre he’s using rather than explicitly stating he killed the guy.
            He was not likely making a rational, balanced decision which he weighed under various ethical standards.

          • Izo

            Actually, he WAS making a ‘rational, balanced decision.’ He stated that he was in panel #2. Read what he said. Read how coldly he decided to commit murder.

          • Grason Cheydleur

            I believe that this was present day Gurwara’s dark sense of humor at play, not a completely accurate recounting.

          • grthwllms .

            Read what he said in context. Considering who the character is.

            Allison tells him killing the doctor wouldn’t bring his friend back to life, the professor responds “That there was no utility” in doing so, this is not what Allison meant to say. But Utilitarianism is a contrary philosophy to Deontological ethics. As he has done over and over throughout his appearances in the comic he is ascribing philosophical and ideological perspectives to individual statements which the speaker isn’t actually invoking when they’ve said them. Read literally, the statement does not even make sense; because someone who coldly and rationally applied the philosophical standards of Deontological ethics would not murder someone in this situation.

          • Zinc

            It may be so, or it may not; we can’t really know for certain at this point unless it is further clarified in the comic or outside of it. There’s nothing wrong with preferring one interpretation, but it doesn’t mean that other interpretations are necessarily wrong or meritless. I am not necessarily preferring one over another, and once we assume Gurwara is unreliable, there other possibilities as well – such as the entire story, or many of its details, being complete fabrications. Even this would not be entirely outside his character.

            Also, consider this: The doctor had told Gurwara to begin with that his friend is beyond help, and while Gurwara rejected his claim, the idea must have had some presence in his head. The doctor operated on his friend for roughly an hour, during which Gurwara probably noticed his friend’s health further deteriorating. It seems to me very likely that after making his threat, the possibility that his friend is going to die regardless has crossed his mind – as well as what he was going to do about his promise if and when that happens. It is not at all impossible that his actions actually were premeditated, and not just due to rage and grief; although even in that case, the rage and grief probably provided some resolve for him to carry out his intentions.

            (Also, I think “entendre” does not mean what you think it means; perhaps you meant “euphemism”?)

          • grthwllms .

            I guess Euphemism would be more correct, but my intention was that the literal statement “I was keeping my promise.” has the contextual, secondary meaning of “I killed the man”.

          • Margot

            Gurwara does seem to maintain a facade of cold-blooded rationality which makes it easy to believe that he misrepresented himself here to fit with that image. It also seems pretty plausible that he’s made this story up.

            But then this whole story is made up anyway, so why should that stop us judging him according to what (Brennan and Molly say) he says he did?

        • Scott

          “He killed that man and killing is wrong! KILL HIM!”
          Flawless logic, friend. Flawless.

          • AveryAves

            Well, this logic isn’t too bad actually until you consider that Gurwara isn’t, well, likely to murder anyone else and seems to be very keen on helping people in a real and meaningful way.

          • Izo

            Unless he promises to kill you if you can’t accomplish the impossible.

          • AveryAves

            lmao we both know I never said what Gurwara did wasn’t bad, could you stop exploiting spaces where people are trying to have debates to get your trolling kicks
            Actually could you just not exploit any spaces to get trolling kicks. Grow up.

          • Izo

            I wasnt inferring that YOU said that. I’m more responding to the 25+ other people who are saying what Gurwara did was forgivable or not bad at all.

            I am, however, pointing out that you’re wrong in saying that Gurwara is not likely to murder anyone else, or that he is keen on helping anyone in a meaningful way. Put him in the same scenario again, and he might do the same thing again. Because he never was punished for his evil action. At all. Sounds almost like Alison, except Alison doesn’t have the excuse of a war happening at the time.

            Lastly, how about you grow up instead by assuming that anyone who comments on what you say is ‘trolling.’ You don’t seem to understand what trolling is. I’m not trolling. I’m pointing out where you were wrong.

          • AveryAves

            Nice try but so much of what you’ve said has been exaggerated and antagonizing, with enough reason that people try to debate you. Adios.

          • Izo

            What you said in this post literally makes no sense whatsoever.

            Let me try to analyze your post. Basically you’re saying that “I don’t agree with you and I think what Gurwara did was wrong and he should be punished for it, therefore this is an exxageration despite Izo having rational reasons for what she says about this situation. Since I can’t argue you on the merits of what you said, I’m just going to say I’m not going to even try to argue my point and I’m just going to say Adios so I can sound cool.”

          • Shjade

            Protip: when responding to specific people, it helps to respond to those specific people, as responding to OTHER people then means you’re responding to, well, other people.

            When you’re literally talking to someone and respond to their answer with “I wasn’t talking to YOU,” you’ve passed the point of being reasonable some time ago and it’s time to sit down.

          • Nexxo

            That would imply that people don’t learn from their actions unless they experience some external consequences of them, and that is obviously untrue.

          • Izo

            Seriously are you like…. psychopathic or something? A man commits premeditated murder, without reason other than that the doctor could not accomplish the impossible. And you think that’s NOT wrong. Plus apparently 25 other people on this comment forum think it’s not wrong as well. This is insanity and the people on this forum SCARE me.

            You should never be allowed to be around other people if this is your mentality. This is a psychopathic mentality to possess. I will make this person cure my incurable friend, and tell him that if he does not do this thing, even if he tries as hard as he can and fails, that I will kill him.

            Whoops, my friend died like I expected would happen, despite the doctor doing all he could to save him. Guess I have to kill the doctor so he doesn’t think I’m a liar.’ Bam.

            I wonder if you’ve ever had a loved one die in a hospital. Did you decide to kill the doctor as a result?

          • Stephanie

            At no point whatsoever did Scott claim that what Gurwara did was not wrong.

          • Izo

            No, but he did try to flippantly say that anyone who thinks Gurwara, for committing murder, should be executed is therefore equivalent to Gurwara. As if executing a criminal who has murdered someone is the same thing as a person murdering someone who has not murdered anyone else or done anything wrong meriting a death penalty.

          • Stephanie

            Yes, and that warranted an explanation that you draw a distinction between murder and legal executions. It did not warrant accusations of psychopathy, it did not warrant telling him he shouldn’t be allowed around other people, and it definitely did not warrant claiming that he believes cartoonishly awful things that he never once said.

          • Izo

            I consider people who excuse murder by thinking that murdering other people for not doing what you want them to do to be a psychopathic mentality. I consider people who equate murdering an innocent person to be the same as executing a guilty murderer to be excusing murder.

            Psychopathic – a mental disorder allowing violent or abnormal social behavior.

          • Stephanie

            I don’t think it’s at all reasonable to accuse someone of being a psychopath for flippantly pointing out the apparent irony in killing someone for killing. Of course there is a distinction to be made between murder and execution, but you don’t have to make that distinction (especially in a flippant comment) to not be a literal psychopath.

            “I consider people who excuse murder by thinking that murdering other people for not doing what you want them to do” — I don’t think anyone in this entire thread has argued that it’s excusable to kill people for not doing what you want them to do. Scott certainly didn’t.

            “I consider people who equate murdering an innocent person to be the same as executing a guilty murderer to be excusing murder” — Have you considered that they may condemn both actions? Wouldn’t that make more sense? If they believed that both actions are excusable, why would they take issue with your suggestion that Gurwara be executed? Do you believe that, for example, everyone who is opposed to the death penalty thinks murder is excusable?

          • Izo

            “I don’t think it’s at all reasonable to accuse someone of being a psychopath for flippantly pointing out the apparent irony in killing someone for killing.”

            1) I’ll grant you that I should have more aptly said ‘What you’re arguing is psychopathic in mentality’ instead of ‘Are you psychopathic or something?’ mainly because of how surprised I was that people would equate murder with the execution of a murderer, as if the two were totally the same thing, which they are not.

            2) That being said, equating murder and execution is to either excuse murder (which is a psychopathic mentality to have) or to say that all killing, including legal executions and self defense and defense of others, is murder (which means he’s just ignorant, rather than having support of someone committing murder in a way that I would consider indicative of a psychopathic social personality.

            “Of course there is a distinction to be made between murder and execution, but you don’t have to make that distinction (especially in a flippant comment) to not be a literal psychopath.”

            The thing is I find a lot of people in my generation to have this whole tendency to say that ‘physical violence, and even lethal violence’ is acceptable of someone else does not do what you want them to do or say what you want them to say. I honestly do consider that sort of mentality to be psychopathic, in an actual, clinical sense of the word. I consider it to be an abnormal reaction to using violence in social situations where it’s not warranted by any sort of rational-thinking human being, and too many people nowadays are too willing to go there, which means being supportive of that sort of psychopathic mentality.

            “I don’t think anyone in this entire thread has argued that it’s excusable to kill people for not doing what you want them to do. Scott certainly didn’t.”

            But Scott did make a false equivalency between murder and any other type of killing, responding to my post in which I was arguing that it’s NOT excusable to kill someone for not doing something you want them to do, or in Gurwara’s case, for not accomplishing the impossible.

            “Have you considered that they may condemn both actions? Wouldn’t that make more sense?”

            Scott is free to elaborate on his own flippant remark and say that if he wishes. As it stands, he is equating murdering an innocent person and executing a guilty murderer to be identical in justification and morality, which is wrong. As he states it, he’s putting Gurwara, a hypothetical daughter of the doctor killing Gurwara, and the state doing a lawful execution all on equal footing. They clearly are not. The state doing a lawful execution is not murder in any way, and the hypothetical daughter of the doctor killing Gurwara has more mitigating factors than Gurwara killing the doctor. They are different levels.

            “Do you believe that, for example, everyone who is opposed to the death penalty thinks murder is excusable?”

            No, I accept that people who oppose the death penalty might still be against murder, just they might have a different view on the punishment FOR murder. I think they’re wrong though for doing so. I think sometimes, executing a murderer is the only option, as long as they have a fair trial first where they get to try to defend themselves by a stated set of rules understood beforehand. I think that what Gurwara did is one of those times where execution is warranted. I also think that Scott making an easy comparison of the two either excuses murder or says that all types of killing are murder, such as a woman who has a gun and kills someone trying to rape her, a police who fires his gun at a bank robber aiming a gun at him, or a soldier in a war killing an armed enemy soldier.

          • Stephanie

            “2) That being said, equating murder and execution is to either excuse murder (which is a psychopathic mentality to have) or to say that all killing, including legal executions and self defense and defense of others, is murder (which means he’s just ignorant, rather than having support of someone committing murder in a way that I would consider indicative of a psychopathic social personality.”

            OK, so you know that there are two possible interpretations here, so why did you immediately and fervently assume it was the first option?

            I maintain that accusing Scott of being a psychopath was unwarranted, as was accusing him of thinking murder is “not wrong”. It requires a huge leap to assume that he was excusing the murder of the doctor, rather than condemning the idea of executing Gurwara.

            Furthermore, Scott was clearly drawing that parallel in response to your saying someone should put a bullet in Gurwara’s brain, not in response to your saying it’s unacceptable to murder someone for not doing what you want.

          • Izo

            “OK, so you know that there are two possible interpretations here, so why did you immediately and fervently assume it was the first option?”

            Because of the flippant way in which he compared the two scenarios.

            ” It requires a huge leap to assume that he was excusing the murder of the doctor, rather than condemning the idea of executing Gurwara.”

            It doesn’t require a huge leap at all actually. By making a false comparison of something that’s wrong with something that’s arguably not wrong (or at least not as wrong), Scott IS excusing the initial act (Gurwara murdering the doctor in cold blood, after the reasons for killing the doctor would not have changed anything, including revvenge since the doctor was not the one to cause his friend to be shot in the first place) by saying it’s no worse than a legal execution or being killed by someone, for example a hypothetical daughter, which would at least have mitigating factors which could be argued.

          • Stephanie

            Scott absolutely did not excuse Gurwara murdering the doctor. Condemning the idea of “an eye for an eye” does not mean excusing the first one to put out an eye. Condemning legal execution does not mean excusing murder. There are plenty of valid arguments against treating legal execution as being just as wrong as murder, but if someone considers them equally terrible, that means they think legal execution is bad, not that they think murder is good. You are reading something into Scott’s comment that just is not there.

          • Izo

            I actually responded to this below for another of your posts, the gist of which is you shouldn’t use the word ‘absolutely’ in this context. Even if he was to be just trying to claim that capital punishment is murder, it does serve to attempt to put the two on the same footing. I don’t consider premeditated murder of innocent people to be on the same footing as killing guilty people for the crime of killing innocent people.

            That being said, Scott hasn’t responded anyway, possibly (at least arguably) because his post was just a flippant remark to just equate the two without actually thinking about what he meant by it.

          • Stephanie

            I understand that you think it’s incorrect to put premeditated murder on the same footing as legal execution. That is a valid stance. I agree that they aren’t the same thing, even though I’m against both. However, putting the two on the same footing does not equate to excusing murder. It nearly always means refusing to excuse execution.

            ” possibly (at least arguably) because his post was just a flippant remark to just equate the two without actually thinking about what he meant by it.”

            This is almost certainly what actually happened, which is another reason that accusing him of being a psychopath who thinks murder is excusable was unwarranted.

          • Izo

            From the perspective of someone who considers legal execution to be morally acceptable (which I do think, since there are times where killing can be morally and legally forgivable), equating murder of an innocent person (which is NOT moral or legal) and execution of a guilty person as the same thing, by definition, implies that I should therefore consider Gurwara’s killing of the doctor to be of the same morality as his execution for his crime.

          • Stephanie

            Yes. The same morality. As in, equally inexcusable. Not “both totally fine.”

            Scott condemned your suggestion to execute Gurwara. Scott equated execution with murder. Therefore, Scott condemned both execution and murder.

          • Izo

            Except they are NOT equally inexcusable. Scott did not condemn both execution and murder btw. You’re reading into it one way, while I’m reading into it another way. Scott has not cleared things up.

          • Stephanie

            I understand that they are not equally inexcusable. I am not arguing that they are equally inexcusable.

            Your interpretation does not make sense in context. Why would Scott condemn your call to execute Gurwara if he thinks murder and execution are both hunky-dory?

          • Izo

            Because he’s coming at this from the idea of ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’ – but ignoring that I don’t consider the execution of Gurwara for a crime of murder to be a wrong in the first place. He acts as if my statement to want Gurwara to be executed for his crime of murder is not logical, shown when he says’ flawless logic’ in a sarcastic manner.

            Look at what I wrote in my initial response to Scott btw.

            ‘Here’s what you should have said:

            “He murdered that man and MURDER is wrong. Kill him after a trial in which his guilt is proven! Or if the doctor’s daughter came in afterwards, saw what happened, and shot Gurwara in the head, I’d think that was justified (or at least more forgivable)!”‘

          • Stephanie

            “but ignoring that I don’t consider the execution of Gurwara for a crime of murder to be a wrong in the first place”

            This is exactly what he’s disagreeing with you on. He recognizes that you don’t see that as a wrong, and he’s accusing you of hypocrisy for not seeing it as a wrong.

            If he’s coming at this from the perspective “legal execution is just as bad as murder,” then of course he thinks you’re illogical in saying Gurwara should be executed for committing murder.

            Remember, we’re talking about his beliefs, not yours. The fact that you don’t equate murder and execution has no bearing on how Scott is equating them.

          • Izo

            Actually we are talking about my beliefs, since he was responding to my post and criticizing my post’s logic (‘flawless logic my friend’)

          • Stephanie

            He was talking about your beliefs. We are talking about his.

          • Izo

            I was talking about his beliefs in the context of him talking about (or rather, mocking) my beliefs.

            This is riveting conversation btw, but I’m going to get to bed now since we’ve pretty much now started going back and forth on the same thing repeatedly and there’s not really much point in continuing the thread.

            Good talk tho Stephanie.

          • Stephanie

            OK. I’ll be going to bed as well. I’ll just end with this last point.

            The altered quote of yours I wrote above…

            “So I’m going to initially take what he says as being that I should view the suggestion of executing Gurwara in the same vein as what Gurwara did.”

            …is almost certainly what actually happened. The gist of Scott’s comment was, “Given that you believe Gurwara was wrong to kill the doctor, you should also believe it’s wrong to kill Gurwara.”

            It’s not a great argument. We’re all aware that it’s perfectly reasonable for someone to oppose murder while also supporting legal executions. But flimsy though it is, there’s not a single hint of “excusing murder” to be found in Scott’s argument.

          • Izo

            Do you have even the slightest comprehension of the difference between premeditated murder and other forms of killing, or what murder IS?

            I don’t have a problem with killing in totality. Killing happens for sometimes justifiable reasons. War. Legal executions for cause. Self-defense. Other times, killing can happen where there was no intent – Accidental homicide, for example.

            I have a problem with murder. And I have a problem with people like you who do NOT have a problem with murder. So your statement paraphrasing what I said it not only poorly described and wrong, it’s disingenuous.

            Here’s what you should have said:

            “He murdered that man and MURDER is wrong. Kill him after a trial in which his guilt is proven!”

            Or is this concept too difficult for you, Scott?

          • Roman Snow

            http://strongfemaleprotagonist.com/issue-6/page-128-2/#comment-3204712126

            Did you just reply to the same comment twice? Did you really just reply with a few paragraphs, and then about 20 minutes later reply to the exact same comment with a completely separate group of paragraphs?

            You said someone should put a bullet in Gurwara’s head. You didn’t say anything about a trial or a hypothetical daughter of the doctor, you just said someone shoot him in the head. Then Scott, briefly, suggested that this was hypocritical.

            What Scott actually said should have been easy to argue against. It takes little effort to clarify that there’s a difference between saying “it’s never ok to kill” and “it’s not ok to kill an innocent, but it’s ok to kill someone who killed an innocent.” And obviously your argument was the latter. What you said was not really hypocritical, just an often misinterpreted position.

            But instead of trying to form a basic argument in response, first you asked if he was “psychopathic or something.” With no basis whatsoever, you accused Scott of endorsing Gurwara’s actions. “And you think that’s NOT wrong” you said. Your entire first reply had nothing to do with what Scott actually said.

            Then your second reply was a little more specific, but still loaded with blown up accusations and deliberate misinterpretations of what he said. “And I have a problem with people like you who do NOT have a problem with murder,” you actually said this.

            And you have the GALL to say that HE’S being disingenuous? That actually IS hypocritical of you. Do you really expect people to think you’re arguing in good faith when you pull this bullshit out of your ass?

          • Shweta Narayan

            I would hope that it’s obvious to all by now that Izo never argues in good faith :/

          • Izo

            If you bother to respond to my posts, I’ll start responding to yours again. I haven’t because you asked me not to anymore. Fair warning has been given.

          • Izo

            “Did you just reply to the same comment twice? Did you really just reply with a few paragraphs, and then about 20 minutes later reply to the exact same comment with a completely separate group of paragraphs?”

            I had more to say. Are you going to comment on the substance of my post, or just on the form in which my posts were made?

            “You said someone should put a bullet in Gurwara’s head. You didn’t say anything about a trial or a hypothetical daughter of the doctor, you just said someone should shoot him in the head. Then Scott, briefly, suggested that this was hypocritical.”

            ‘A bullet in Gurwara’s head’ is a metaphor for ‘Gurwara needs to face justice for his crimes, and the penalty should meet the crime.’ If a daughter, or the state, was to execute him, morally I’d consider it an eye for an eye. Don’t be intentionally dense.

            “What Scott actually said should have been easy to argue against. It takes little effort to clarify that there’s a difference between saying “it’s never ok to kill” and “it’s not ok to kill an innocent, but it’s ok to kill someone who killed an innocent.” And obviously your argument was the latter. What you said was not really hypocritical, just an often misinterpreted position.”

            No, my argument was that he’s equating killing and murder, which are two different things. Gurwara committed murder.

            “Then your second reply was a little more specific, but still loaded with blown up accusations and deliberate misinterpretations of what he said. “And I have a problem with people like you who do NOT have a problem with murder,” you actually said this.”

            My second post was to elaborate on my first post, which is that it’s that I have a problem with murder. At first I figured people would normally understand that murder is different than just the act of killing, but then I realized that I should not overestimate the intelligence of some people so I made it more detailed. There’s nothing misinterpreting what he said.

            “And you have the GALL to say that HE’S being disingenuous? That actually IS hypocritical of you.”

            There’s nothing galling about saying he’s disingenuous for acting like I think a guilty Gurwara being executed for murder is different than him engaging in premeditated murder of an innocent person.

            “Do you really expect people to think you’re arguing in good faith when you pull this bullshit out of your ass?”

            I think your entire post was pure BS as well. My arguments ARE made in good faith coming from someone who actually has had to deal with people who are criminals trying to make rather lame excuses for unforgivable criminal acts.

          • Roman Snow

            “I had more to say. Are you going to comment on the substance of my post, or just on the form in which my posts were made?”

            I did both. My point in describing the form was stressing that Scott’s brief comment did not warrant two disproportionately lengthy comments. If those comments had less disingenuous substance, I wouldn’t have cared.

            “‘A bullet in Gurwara’s head’ is a metaphor for ‘Gurwara needs to face justice for his crimes, and the penalty should meet the crime.’ If a daughter, or the state, was to execute him, morally I’d consider it an eye for an eye. Don’t be intentionally dense.”

            Who the hell would ever read that into your comment? What reasonable person would ever think that ‘a bullet in Gurwara’s head’ was a metaphor without you telling them so? Don’t be intentionally obtuse.

            “There’s nothing misinterpreting what he said.”

            You said he didn’t have a problem with murder, which had nothing at all to do with what he said. Don’t be intentionally dense.

            “There’s nothing galling about saying he’s disingenuous for acting like I think a guilty Gurwara being executed for murder is different than him engaging in premeditated murder of an innocent person.”

            There’s something extremely galling about saying he’s disingenuous for not having a problem with murder, when he neither said nor implied in any way that he didn’t have a problem with murder.

            “I think your entire post was pure BS as well. My arguments ARE made in good faith coming from someone who actually has had to deal with people who are criminals trying to make rather lame excuses for unforgivable criminal acts.”

            Your lived experiences have nothing to do this. They might if you were actually arguing with people defending murder.

            “No, my argument was that he’s equating killing and murder, which are two different things. Gurwara committed murder.”

            So it’s not “it’s not ok to kill an innocent, but it’s ok to kill someone who killed an innocent,”

            it’s “it’s not ok to murder an innocent, but it’s ok to kill someone who murdered an innocent.” Is that better? The only difference I see is semantic.

          • Roman Snow
          • Izo

            Yes congratulations. You’ve pointed out that when someone responds to me, I respond back.

          • Roman Snow

            Not ‘pointing something out’ as much as ‘expressing an emotion.’

          • Izo

            Okay….. congratulations. You’ve expressed an emotion that when someone responds to me, I respond back

          • Roman Snow

            You read facial expressions differently than I do. The intent is to convey the dread and anticipation that comes with these internet arguments.

          • Izo

            Congratulations. You dread and anticipate that when someone responds to me, I will respond back 🙂

          • Izo

            “I did both. My point in describing the form was stressing that Scott’s brief comment did not warrant two disproportionately lengthy comments. If those comments had less disingenuous substance, I wouldn’t have cared.”

            His comments were flippantly equating murder and any other type of killing being the same thing. Believe me, I’m an attorney. They’re not the same thing. Murder involves intent to kill and premeditated murder involves a calculating mind when doing so,with no rational excuse of self defense or defense of others. Just killing alone does not. Scott’s post creates a blatant false equivalency.

            “Who the hell would ever read that into your comment? What reasonable person would ever think that ‘a bullet in Gurwara’s head’ was a metaphor without you telling them so?”

            Because I made a second post to make that clear, duh.

            “Don’t be intentionally obtuse.”

            I don’t think you understand the definition of obtuse. But I suppose I was overestimating people’s general intelligence in that they’d know that ‘a bullet in the head’ is a metaphor to ‘eye for an eye’ and ‘murderers deserve to be executed.’

            “You said he didn’t have a problem with murder, which had nothing at all to do with what he said. Don’t be intentionally dense.”

            Yes it did, you’re being intentionally dense now actually. He was making a false equivalency with what Gurwara did and what a person executing Gurwara for his crimes might do.

            “Your lived experiences have nothing to do this. They might if you were actually arguing with people defending murder.”

            Uh… I AM arguing with people defending murder. What Gurwara did was murder. Scott is making a false equivalency of what Gurwara did with what someoone who might execute Gurwara would do.

            “it’s “it’s not ok to murder an innocent, but it’s ok to kill someone who murdered an innocent.” Is that better? The only difference I see is semantic.”

            It’s not just semantic. It’s about intent. That is a big deal in a civilized or moral society. People who don’t see that concern me greatly.

          • Roman Snow

            “Because I made a second post to make that clear, duh.”

            That posted didn’t exist when he responded to your original post!

            “But I suppose I was overestimating people’s general intelligence in that they’d know that ‘a bullet in the head’ is a metaphor to ‘eye for an eye’ and ‘murderers deserve to be executed.'”

            You were overestimating people’s general ability to read your mind. The horse you rode in on deserves better.

            “Scott’s post creates a blatant false equivalency.”
            “He was making a false equivalency with what Gurwara did and what a person executing Gurwara for his crimes might do.”
            “Scott is making a false equivalency of what Gurwara did with what someoone who might execute Gurwara would do.”

            Yes, actually. He was equating killing Gurwara with Gurwara murdering that doctor. I agree that that is mistaken.

            He was not defending murder. Condemning the act of killing Gurwara does not mean endorsing Gurwara’s original crime. Do you disagree?

          • Izo

            “That post didn’t exist when he responded to your original post!”

            I will repeat, since you seem to not be understanding. I made a second post to his post in order to make clear how I thought he or others might incorrectly respond to my post. I wanted to make it clear that Scott’s post was wrong and he was excusing murder by claiming both Gurwara killing an innocent doctor and someone else executing Gurwara FOR killing the doctor were identical, which they are not. Not even close. Scott (and you, it seems) make the mistake of equating murder as ‘just killing like anything else.’

            “You were overestimating people’s general ability to read your mind. The horse you rode in on deserves better.”

            No, I was overestimating people’s intelligence. Which makes it a good thing that I wrote a second post within minutes of finishing my first post – at which for some reason you take offense.

            “Yes, actually. He was equating killing Gurwara with Gurwara murdering that doctor. I agree that that is mistaken.”

            I appreciate that you agree with me on this.

            “He was not defending murder. Condemning the act of killing Gurwara does not mean endorsing Gurwara’s original crime. Do you disagree?”

            I do disagree, because he was not just condemning the act of killing Gurwara. He was equating the two as being the same thing.

          • Stephanie

            “Scott (and you, it seems) make the mistake of equating murder as ‘just killing like anything else.'”

            It would be more accurate to say he was treating execution as “just like murdering someone.” There’s absolutely nothing to suggest that Scott believes “execution and murder are both acceptable,” especially if you look at the context of his post.

          • Izo

            The context of his post actually implies more the former (that he equates what Gurwara did to just be like a legal execution) rather than the latter (that he equates even legal executions to be murder).

            In any case, Scott hasnt responded to clear up which he meant. If it’s the former, then I think his defense of a clear premeditated murder of a complete innocent is deplorable and indicative of a psychopathic mentality. If it’s the latter, then I just consider him to be wrong, although this scenario isnt showing anything about legal executions, it’s only showing a murder, so it’s reasonable to assume that he’s talking about the murder, not about legal executions.

          • Stephanie

            The context of his post implies just the opposite. You suggested executing Gurwara. Scott responded to contradict that argument. It’s easy to see that Scott is condemning your suggestion of executing Gurwara, not excusing Gurwara’s murder of the doctor.

          • Izo

            I just happen to disagree with you on your reading of this.

            However, ultimately, I consider even Scott’s ‘contradicting’ my wanting Gurwara executed for his crime to be an attempt to equate the two things. And since I consider legal execution to NOT be morally wrong, his statement is an argument to me that what Gurwara did was similarly not morally wrong. I consider what he did to BE morally wrong though.

          • Stephanie

            OK so…If you think execution is not morally wrong, and you think what Gurwara did was morally wrong, why must equating the two mean to you “What Gurwara did was not morally wrong” rather than “Execution is morally wrong”?

            I mean, your reasoning here is “I think legal execution is not wrong, therefore equating it with murder is an argument to me that murder is also not wrong.” But you could just as easily say “I think murder is wrong, therefore equating it with legal execution is an argument to me that legal execution is also wrong.”

          • Izo

            “OK so…If you think execution is not morally wrong, and you think what Gurwara did was morally wrong, why must equating the two mean to you “What Gurwara did was not morally wrong” rather than “Execution is morally wrong”?”

            Because he was responding to MY post and how I view what Gurwara did, and how I want Gurwara to be punished for his crime. Either he wants me to think that murder of innocent people if they just failed to live up to an impossible standard, or fail to do exactly as you want, as Gurwara did, is acceptable, or that legal execution of a person who kills an innocent person (and is therefore a guilty person) is NOT acceptable. I’m clearly not going to think that the latter is not acceptable.

            If he was responding to someone ELSE who was against capital punishment for murder, then this might be different. I’ve made it pretty clear that I’d be fine with Gurwara being executed for his crimes. I’m fine with guilty criminals having to face punishment for their wrongdoing, period.

          • Stephanie

            You don’t have to agree with him that execution is unacceptable to acknowledge that that’s the argument he was making.

          • Roman Snow

            Godspeed, I’m putting up my hat from here.

          • Izo

            Except I have no reason to think that IS the argument that he’s making.

            (tried to do the italics thing. Failed colossally)

          • Stephanie

            Either i or em, and the is or ems go in the carats.

            I’ve explained how you can conclude that that is the argument he’s making. He condemns your call to execute Gurwara. He equates execution with murder. Therefore, he condemns execution and murder.

            There’s also some Occam’s razor to be considered here. “Murder is totally okay” is a completely unreasonable position that only a few really ridiculous people would ever hold. Why would you assume that Scott is part of that tiny group, rather than the much larger group of people who condemn all forms of killing including both murder and execution?

          • Izo

            A lot of the arguments I’ve seen on this forum tend to MASSIVELY defy Occam’s razor, actually. Including a few that, if I brought up, I’d probably have a dozen people calling me hateful for bringing up.

            I don’t consider a lot of people on this forum to necessarily argue from a reasonable position to begin with. I’m basing how I think Scott fits into the group from the group dynamic I’ve seen on this forum in general. More people tend to think ‘Violence against people you disagree with’ is acceptable, especially if you take the Max/Alison situation into account

          • Stephanie

            It’s pretty clear from the comments that nobody thinks it was acceptable for Gurwara to kill the doctor. The Max/Alison situation was polarized because what they “disagreed” on was whether a shitload of people should get to remain alive. Maybe give us a little more credit?

          • Shjade

            I find it hard to believe someone who argued “put a bullet in his head was a metaphor” is later decrying the absence of Occam’s Razor in argumentation.

            Amazing.

            Just checking: do you actually read your own posts?

          • Roman Snow

            You don’t use the “i” and the “em” at once, you just pick one. “” is “” will do it if you get rid of the quotes I put in.

            EDIT: Crap it italicized it anyway, hold on.

          • Izo

            /i 1 2 3

            dangit.

          • Stephanie

            carotemcarot italicized words carot/emcarot

          • Izo

            testing 123

            Oh thank God I finally figured this out. This was driving me crazy .

          • Roman Snow
          • Izo

            Thanks. I just figured it out right before reading this, but I’m saving your screenshot in case I forget how to do it again.

          • Izo

            /i testing 1 2 3

            Okay I’m just going to assume you do italics through some sort of cybernetic magic instead.

          • Roman Snow
          • Roman Snow

            “And since I consider legal execution to NOT be morally wrong, his statement is an argument to me that what Gurwara did was similarly not morally wrong.”

            I was trying to think of how to get you to admit this, but I can thank Stephanie for doing it for me. Since you consider legal execution to NOT be morally wrong, you read Scott’s statement as an argument that what Gurwara did was similarly not morally wrong. Since you consider legal execution to NOT be morally wrong, you read Scott’s statement as an argument that what Gurwara did was similarly not morally wrong.

            That’s the position I am accusing you of taking, since it’s so transparently circular and self-serving I can’t believe you just openly volunteered it. I don’t see much to say from here.

          • Izo

            In other words, we’re at an impasse.

          • Roman Snow

            Yes.

          • Izo, please.

            Scott objected, in short form I might add, to your own statement listing the execution of Gurwara as a desirable outcome. He technically argued an equivalence between the murder committed by Gurwara in the moment, and the possibility of his future execution in reprisal. It is therefore patently obvious by plain logical deduction that this was supposed to either condemn both murder and lethal state reprisal as being morally and ethically wrong, or to redeem them both as morally acceptable. The equivalence was not intended to be total, simply categorical. Either killing is justifiable or killing is never okay.

            In this case Scott was blatantly trying to paint both actions as morally wrong. He clearly indicated, through sarcasm, the hypocrisy of using further killing as a punitive solution. His use of mockery in direct response to your suggestion to “put a bullet” in the transgressor’s brain indicates with crystal clarity his disagreement with your own stance of favouring legalised execution. The construction of his sentence directly positions the latter statement as the one under mockery. Even were all of this not the case the attitude that capital punishment is wrong is far more prevalent within society than the concept of murder being okay, so it would be a ridiculous leap to favour that interpretation over the far more likely.

            Continuing to argue that Scott had any intention whatsoever of describing the original murder as defensible is sheer folly and disingenuous in the extreme.

            I’m hardly surprised that Scott declined to engage with this enormous debate thread under the circumstances, but in any case, stop deliberately misrepresenting him and tacitly accusing that strawman representation you’ve just created of clinical psychopathy. You owe him a serious apology, one that I don’t yet see in evidence on these forums.

          • Jon

            I’m a student-at-law.

            If you actually are a lawyer, I weep for the Bar in your location. You seem to be incapable of admitting fault, and of seeing the other side as anything but The Enemy.

            People like you are the reason the jails are full to overflowing, and why innocent people end up in prison.

            The mere fact that you attempted to use your status like a cudgel to beat down the ones you were arguing with (in bad faith I might add) makes me ashamed to share a profession with you.

          • demosthenese10

            “‘A bullet in Gurwara’s head’ is a metaphor for..”

            Ah a member of the Trump School of rhetoric. “Don’t take me literally. Take me seriously.” This is why people don’t debate with you. You lack credibility. You do not undertake conversation in good faith.

          • Scott

            Ah, see, but that’s not what you said. The statement I was replying to was not “Wow, Gurwara is a murderer who has never been held accountable for his crimes. He should be arrested and taken to trial.” it was “Gurwara is a cold-blooded murderer and someone should put a bullet in his brain as well”. Within this context, you do not appear to be advocating for the rule of law to prevail. You appear to be advocating for a form of street justice in which anyone who witnesses a crime is allowed to enact whatever punishment they feel that crime merits, including capital punishment. I respect your clarified position, it is a reasonable one, but it is very different from your original comment.

          • Vigil

            Thank you. I cannot for the life of me see how anybody could possibly interpret “someone should put a bullet in his brain” as meaning “The state, acting in accordance with due process, should execute him after a jury of his peers has convicted him for this murder”. Especially since bullet-based execution is a highly uncommon method of legal execution in the USA (only 3 instances since 1976).

          • Roman Snow

            But don’t you know, poor Izo was just “overestimating people’s general intelligence in that they’d know that ‘a bullet in the head’ is a metaphor to ‘eye for an eye’ and ‘murderers deserve to be executed.'”

          • Scott

            I did see something to that effect. When I first came back to reply to Izo’s reply to my comment, I didn’t realize that an entire conversation had happened in the meantime. Honestly, no offense to those involved, but I’m not going to read it. There are way too many posts going back and forth. I’ll reply to anything directed at me but the other stuff…I’m just too far behind.

            That said, yeah, Izo sounds like a certain famous politician right now. The whole “A bullet in the head is a metaphor” thing is bullshit. It may have been rhetorical hyperbole and he may not legitimately endorse street justice but a call to “put a bullet in his head” doesn’t really leave a lot of room for metaphor.

          • Roman Snow

            I wouldn’t read it if I were you either. Take care.

          • Stephanie

            Izo’s actually a she, FYI.

            You’re right not to read the conversation, it’s long and very repetitive. I’ll summarize what I learned from it to the best of my understanding: Izo assumed that you understood “put a bullet in his brain” to mean “put him on trial before a jury of his peers, legally convict him of murder, sentence him to death, and execute him.” She therefore interpreted your comment as equating murder with legal execution. She then came to the conclusion that you were suggesting that murder is just as acceptable as she considers legal execution to be, rather than that you were suggesting that execution is just as bad as murder. Hence the “you’re a psychopath who thinks murder isn’t wrong” comments.

            Now that you’ve clarified what you meant, I hope that Izo will withdraw her accusations.

          • Roman Snow

            That’s pretty much it as far as I understand.

            I get the impression that any time Izo either says “kill” or mentions a method of killing (like a bullet through the brain) we’re meant to assume a legal (state execution) or just (the “doctor’s daughter kills him” scenario) set of circumstances, unless the word “murder” is used. Or perhaps another expression to describe unjust intent, like “in cold blood.” It seems like we’re meant to take any statement about killing as legal/just by default, and it requires modifiers to be otherwise.

            For most people the word “killing” has a neutral or negative value depending on the context, whereas murder only has a negative value. For Ivo it almost seems that “killing” has a positive value unless otherwise specified, and we’re too dense and unintelligent to realize that if she meant it any other way she would have used the word “murder.”

            Right now that’s the only explanation I see, but I could very well be contradicted.

          • Scott

            Ah. Thank you for the summation.
            I don’t know how relevant it is but, while we are on the topic:
            I don’t equate all forms of murder. I do think that circumstances should be taken into account in any criminal act and that determining motivation should be important. Stealing a loaf of bread to feed your family and stealing $1000 to go on a cruise are not equivalent. However, they are both theft and they should both be punished. Tying that back into the present conversation, Gurwara killing the doctor was murder and it should be punished. However, the doctor’s hypothetical doctor seeing what happened and killing Gurwara would also be murder and should be punished. Perhaps not punished the same way but still punished.
            Coming around to capital punishment, I personally don’t agree with it. I DO think it is completely hypocritical for us, as a society, to decide that killing is wrong and therefore the punishment should be more killing. I personally view criminal justice as existing to fulfill two roles. The first is to protect society from those who commit criminal acts. The second is to rehabilitate people who commit criminal acts. You can’t rehabilitate someone you’ve killed. I mean, you can try but I don’t think you’d get very far. Although, if your aim for rehabilitation is just “they won’t commit that crime anymore” killing could be the most effective form of rehabilitation ever designed.

          • Stephanie

            Yeah, this is pretty much how I interpreted your initial comment–as an indictment of any form of “killing to punish for killing.” Despite my best efforts, I still don’t really understand why Izo thought you were saying all forms of killing were fine.

        • Jace

          Actually just the opposite. An emotional hot blooded murderer. 😉

        • Caliban

          Yes, one immoral act committed while in incredibly stressful and emotionally difficult circumstances negates any other actions you may have had before or since.

          People never grow or change, but are instead defined only by the worst thing they have ever done. Redemption or growth simply doesn’t exist.

          Nice philosophy you have there.

          • Izo

            There was no stressful or emotional circumstance in killing a man AFTER he already tried to save your friend. And Gurwara knew that already. He did it in a calculating manner. And nice philosophy YOU have where you excuse premeditated murder. You’re a scary person if you can excuse that action, and your philosophy is rather psychopathic in its mentality. Tell the doctor’s family and friends that ‘hey it’s okay that he was murdered by someone who forced his way into his home to make him help his friend who was going to die NO MATTER WHAT, just because the doctor was not a god who could restore life to the dying – after all, the murdering psychopath eventually became a philosophy professor, so it’s all good in the long-run.’ I hope you NEVER have any sort of power over another individual.

          • Stephanie

            You really love the angry caps, don’t you?

          • Izo

            It’s not angry caps actually. It’s more ‘stressing certain words’ caps.

          • Stephanie

            Why not italicize? Italics convey emphasis only, while caps tend to convey anger even if you don’t want them to.

          • Izo

            Because I have no idea how to do italics in this forum.

          • Stephanie

            Enclose “em” or “i” in carats (), type what you want italicized, then enclose “/em” or “/i” in carats at the end of the italicized part.

          • Izo

            Thanks – writing this down. /em at the end?

          • Stephanie

            Yes, “carat”/em”carat”.

          • motorfirebox

            Your friend dying after you tried to save him isn’t a stressful emotional circumstance?

            Izo accuses me of supporting cold-blooded murder in 3… 2…

          • Izo

            1) Your friend dying after you tried to save him is stressful and emotional, but you no longer can blame the doctor. The doctor can’t be a legitimate subject of your emotional anger to the point of murder. The doctor did not kill his friend – he tried to save his friend. Also, Gurwara in panel two clearly states that he decided on what to do through his own internal logic, NOT emotional outbursts.

            2) How about not trying to turn me into a strawman?

          • Stephanie

            I mean, you’ve literally been going around accusing people of being murderous psychopaths who terrify you, so I don’t think motorfirebox is strawmanning you by suggesting that you might treat them the same way.

          • Izo

            Because I think the scariest thing about people in this forum is how willing they are to use deadly force because other people won’t do what they say, or because other people have different opinions than they have. I don’t want people like that to EVER have power over me or other people, and definitely never have the opportunity to hurt or murder me, because the thought processes they’re displaying in this forum in defending Gurwara’s past actions make me think they would do so.

            Also motorfirebox was strawmanning with his second paragraph (Izo accuses me of supporting cold-blooded murder in 3…2..)

          • Stephanie

            I realize that was the paragraph you were referring to, and I think that paragraph was a response to the way you’ve been engaging with others in the thread, not a strawman.

          • Izo

            Except how I’ve engaged with other people has not been strawmanning them. To strawman someone is to create an intentionally misrepresented proposition set up to defeat (a straw man argument) because that’s easier to defeat than the person’s actual argument. What I was doing with others was attacking their actual arguments. What motorfirebox did, at least in his second paragraph, was to make up something which I clearly was not doing, in order to make it easier for him to ‘defeat me.’ Whereas what I said about Scott WAS something he was doing by making a false equivalency of murder and just any type of killing whatsoever, and therefore what I was doing was NOT strawmanning.

          • Stephanie

            As far as I can tell, all motorfirebox did was joke that you might treat them the same way you’ve treated others. I don’t think that’s a strawman. They were alluding to your actual actions.

          • Izo

            The ‘joke’ was an effort to rephrase my posts as coming from someone who just hysterically calls anyone who has a different opinion ‘supporting murder,’ when actually I just say that people are defending murder when they’re doing things that literally are defending murder. That’s strawmanning, and the second paragraph was definitely unnecessary.

          • Stephanie

            As I’ve said a few times, the person you accused of defending murder absolutely did not in any way defend murder.

          • Izo

            You shouldn’t say ‘absolutely’ since it’s quite easily arguable that the did defend murder, as I’ve made multiple posts on how he did.

          • Stephanie

            I’ve read your arguments and I don’t think they hold water. I maintain that he absolutely did not defend murder.

          • Izo

            I think I’ve explained why I feel he (Scott) is defending murder quite a few times, and we’ve probably reached an impasse at this point if you just, on principle, do not think the arguments hold water.

          • Stephanie

            It’s not “on principle.” Your arguments require unfounded assumptions in order to hold water. There are missing links in your logic. That’s why I don’t think they hold water.

          • Izo

            They don’t require unfounded assumptions. I’ve explained my assumptions and the foundations upon which they are built several times, actually.

          • Stephanie

            The unfounded assumption is that by equating legal execution with murder, Scott must have been excusing murder. There is no reasonable foundation for that assumption. It requires a leap of logic to assume that Scott holds an absurd, unreasonable position that makes little sense in the context of his post, rather than assuming that Scott holds a much more reasonable and common position that does fit the context. I am not convinced by your attempts to lay foundations for your assumption.

          • Izo

            No offense Stephanie, but it doesn’t matter if you’re convinced by my foundations. My foundations for my reasoning exist and are cemented enough to be argued for this long. They are rational foundations to have, based on logic.

          • Stephanie

            I don’t agree that they are rational. I think you think they are. But I see clear holes in your chain of logic, and I’ve been pointing them out.

          • Izo

            I don’t see the holes that you think you see, sorry.

          • Stephanie

            Well, the most recent one was that–unless I misunderstand you–you seem to claim that you based your interpretation of Scott’s post on your own preconceptions about the morality of legal execution. I don’t see the logic in using your own beliefs as the foundation for drawing conclusions about what someone else’s beliefs are.

          • Izo

            Because there’s no objective view on legal execution for this debate. The view is going to necessarily be subjective. Since he responded to my post, he’s responding to my subjective view of an argument that is subjective – ie, that execution is different than murder. So I’m going to initially take what he says as being that I should view what Gurwara did in the same vein as I would suggest someone do in executing Gurwara.

            Plus, like I’ve said a few times, Scott has not responded about which he meant.

          • Stephanie

            OK, and again, there is a hole in this logic, because both possible interpretations follow just as easily from your stated position.

            Take this quote:

            “So I’m going to initially take what he says as being that I should view what Gurwara did in the same vein as I would suggest someone do in executing Gurwara.” [i.e., the “both excusable” interpretation.]

            You could just as easily have interpreted Scott’s words the exact opposite way, and written:

            “So I’m going to initially take what he says as being that I should view the suggestion of executing Gurwara in the same vein as what Gurwara did.” [i.e., the “neither excusable” interpretation.]

          • Izo

            Seriously need to get to bed now.

            Just leaving you with this – when you say ‘absolute’ it means there are no other interpretations. That’s clearly not the case here. I could not have ‘as easily’ interpreted his words a different way. Clearly my interpreting his words that way is not easy at all. G’night. 🙂

          • motorfirebox

            The stress and emotion is WHY you might illogically blame the doctor. And you’ve been going around accusing everybody else of supporting cold-blooded murder, so I’m not sure why you’d be upset about being made into a strawman yourself. I mean, it’s only fair.

          • Nexxo

            How about you leaving psychology and psychiatric diagnoses to the professionals in future? Because no offence meant, but it is becoming increasingly obvious that you have little insight into this domain.

          • Caliban

            Bullshit. He’s in the middle of a warzone, tired, injured, and his friend just died while being worked on by a doctor who’d already written him off. People do not make the most rational decisions in those circumstances.

            He absolutely should not have killed the doctor, but it’s also clear he’s been haunted by that act ever since and it has shaped the course of his life.

            Judging people solely by the actions they take at the lowest point in their lives, without any consideration of their circumstances or what they have done since is not reasonable.

            But hey, continue to call anyone who doesn’t agree with your proclamations a psychopath and make up shit that they didn’t say so you can be even more judgmental. Let me know how that works out for you.

            By the way, your ranting and attempts at emotional bullying are pathetic. They only serve to lower my already low opinion of you. I notice you were pretty quick to wish death on him, so you are also a hypocrite.

        • Amelia Picklewiggle

          I wouldn’t say cold-blooded. Hot-blooded murderer, yes. He was already stressed and panicked by terror for his friend, and then crazed with grief, and then… he did something he now regrets very much indeed. Cold-blooded would be “I’m going to stab this guy and steal his money so I can buy myself a lunch.” (I’m referencing the depiction of the Penguin from that show “Gotham.” We’re supposed to sympathize with these sociopaths?)

          But Gurwara… he’s basically saying that he did what Alison did: something very, very, VERY bad that he now FULLY admits was wrong (and would undoubtedly say as much to any of the people leaving comments along the lines of “oh, that victim totally deserved it, you’re blameless and heroic and virtuous and should do that more often”). Hot blooded murder, not cold blooded, not premeditated. Quickly done in a moment of intense emotion… and then leaving him with a lifetime to regret it. “How many people died in that village because they didn’t have a doctor anymore? How many kids never lived to see adulthood because of childhood sickness? How many mothers didn’t have someone for a difficult delivery? How many did I harm with that one squeeze of the trigger?”

        • hyzmarca

          An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. A life for a life does nothing but create a sea of corpses. There is no utility in it.

          Also, he could have been lying just to make Alison feel better.

        • Abe

          Or: he made up an anecdote, in order to prove a point to Allison, who responds well to personal stories?

    • Merle

      I believe that expression accurately captured that of most readers on reading that panel.

      • Izo

        Apparently not, since there are apparently at least 25 people who think that what Gurwara did was forgivable.

        I’m so glad forums are anonymous, because people with this mentality are the type who will kill you for not towing the party line, then feel they are justified. People who think premeditated murder (and this was premeditated murder, not manslaughter, not murder ‘in the heat of passion’). Gurwara even describes his thought process of WHY he murdered the COMPLETELY INNOCENT DOCTOR. And there are insane people on this board that actually think it’s justifiable or forgivable to have him get away with it.

        • Grason Cheydleur

          I agree with your sentiment, though perhaps not your volume, but I think to understand the point of the story you have to keep in mind that the doctor originally condemned Gurwara’s friend to death for his religion. The doctor was not completely innocent, yet we can still condemn Gurwara’s actions.

          • Izo

            I honestly don’t care WHY the doctor initially condemned his friend to death, not that I think that Gurwara is a particularly good judge of reading someone else’s mind in the first place. He’s not Patrick. For all you know, and for all Gurwara knows, the doctor initially refused to help because his friend was BEYOND help and if he did try to help, he and his family would be targeted as well, which could alter how willing a person is to risk his and his family’s lives. For another, I simply do not care about the doctor’s reason for not helping in the first place, because once Gurwara did force him to help and the doctor WAS trying to help, Gurwara lost ANY points in his favor when he murdered the doctor after failing to be able to successfully help his friend, who WAS BEYOND helping. There’s no longer even the HINT of reasonableness at that point, and in fact it makes the rationale of the doctor not wanting to help in the first place even more justified, since Gurwara did wind up killing him for failing to do the impossible.

            So yeah, the doctor was COMPLETELY innocent. Do not victim-blame.

          • Izo

            PS – thanks for at least agreeing with my sentiment.

          • dragonus45

            Guwara simply believed that the doctor was being a bigot when there are four or five non bigoted reasons for him to close the door on the two of them.

        • Ibrinar

          Honestly from this comment section I would be more worried about you than them, You sound like the type to form lynch mobs.

        • bta

          Ah, the “no bad tactics, only bad targets” crowd.

        • I think there’s a huge difference between “sympathy” and “forgiveness”.

        • Arkone Axon

          Quote from Stargate that I think applies here:

          Teal’c: One day others may try to convince you they have forgiven you. That is more about them than you. For them, imparting forgiveness is a blessing.
          Tomin: How do you go on?
          Teal’c: It is simple. You will never forgive yourself. Accept it. You hurt others – many others. That cannot be undone. You will never find personal retribution. But your life does not have to end. That which is right, just, and true can still prevail. If you do not fight for what you believe in, all may be lost for everyone else. But do not fight for yourself. Fight for others, others that may be saved through your effort. That is the least you can do.

        • Kai

          As quaint as it might seem to you, there are still people who believe that EVERYTHING is forgivable, given time, repentance, and atonement. Many are deeply religious; some simply have strong beliefs about the power and value of forgiveness. Few of them are likely to become murderers.

          Do I agree with their beliefs? Not necessarily. But if I were that doctor, given this post of yours —

          “No, it just tells me that Gurwara is a cold-blooded murderer and someone should put a bullet in his brain as well.”

          — and how you’ve chosen to conduct yourself in this comment thread in general, the way you treat people and the way you write about violence, I know I’d much rather have one of them show up at my door in the middle of the night with a gun than you.

      • D. Schwartz

        Not I. Not because I think it was forgivable but because I understand that people get themselves into these mental places where such action becomes acceptable to them. Stress, situation, and circumstances all have an effect whereby sharp decisions feel both normal and acceptable. Though the same person under different conditions would not take that course of action.

        We see this conflict zones fairly often.

        Only the good professor can decide for himself whether he forgives himself for that event or not.

    • Pol Subanajouy

      Saving that for future reaction images.

  • FlashNeko

    I guess we had to go for Bad Faith Philosophy Bingo with the free square of False Equivalency.

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      Doesn’t seem all that false.

    • Sprainogre

      He had a tool that gave him more power. He used that power to first intimidate another person to act as he wanted and then kill that person when they were unable to fulfill his demands. Allison has super powers. She used that power to intimidate another person to act as she wanted. While she didn’t need act on her threat of physical harm against him, the comparison of power changing you as it grants more options seems pretty on the nose.

      • FlashNeko

        Except the context is wildly different in both situation.

        Especially considering he ultimately pulled the trigger “because he felt he had to keep his promises” moreso than anything that arguably got something larger scale accomplished (even if that accomplishment was a side benefit to what Alison really wanted).

        I just can’t see Alison casually snapping Max’s neck as casually as our dear Professor implies he shot the doctor. There is actually a much wider gulf between being willing to intimidate/strong arm someone and being willing to premeditativly kill them for failure than people think.

        There’s also a world of difference between “I believed he was denying me because of who/what I was without proof” and Max, after it was pointed out all his potentially reasonable reasons for denial could just as easily be excuses for cowardess/self-justification for being selfish outright saying, “Y’know what, the REAL reason I don’t want to do it is because I don’t like who/what you are!”

        What Alison did to get what she wanted was wrong to be sure, but to imply the blood on their hands is somehow the exact same is the kind of “poisoned thinking” slippery slope argument he claims to dislike.

        • Insanenoodlyguy

          Alison never said she was going to kill him, I think. She was going to mess up his arm/shoulder, but I don’t think she was going to kill him. There’d be a lot of pain though.

          Not really the point though. You are looking for a more exact comparison where there doesn’t need to be. It’s not about life and death, it’s about power and the choices it providers you. Alison has her superpowers. The professor had his gun. Both had significantly more power then somebody else, and used that power nakedly to get something they wanted. The difference is that one had conditional power that is no longer relevant, and the other has a far broader “responsibility” in that they always have that power. There has never been a time that Alison isn’t the power in the room, even when other super’s are around. She always has the gun, she will never be guiltless or clean.

          • Stephanie

            She did threaten to kill him. Specifically, she threatened to leave him in the middle of the ocean, where he would definitely die. I still think it was justifiable, but that is what she did.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            Ah, fair enough, I forgot that part.

          • Giacomo Bandini

            Actually, i do not belive it. I think it was a mistake from Brennan and Molly (heresy, i know but…). The original phrase was something like “I’m gonna drop you in the middle of the ocean atlantic, where you’ll be free to live the rest of your life unrestrained by society and its obligations”, which makes little sense: the rest of his life she is refferring are the twenty minutes he would spend drowning? I guess she implied “a deserted island” in the middle of the ocean atlantic, it gives the whole phrase more sense.

          • Stephanie

            I assumed she did mean that the rest of his life would be 20 minutes, but your interpretation is also possible.

          • Tylikcat

            Huh. I read it as a death threat. (OTOH, studies on people who tried the deserted island deal, even with reasonable tools going in, are a lot grimmer than most people like to expect. It’s pretty heavy either way.)

          • cphoenix

            I’d be interested in reading those studies. My first google found this link:
            https://www.pri.org/stories/2014-02-04/9-real-life-castaways-who-are-tougher-tom-hanks
            which is short on details, but many of the people survived for long periods of time.

          • Tylikcat

            I read this in paper form some decades age. If I have a chance I’ll poke around, but it’s not a source I can guaranty I can track easily.

  • Olivier Faure

    He shouldn’t have pulled the trigger, even though he made the threat. As someone else pointed out, it’s not like he needed to maintain his reputation for executing murder threats. And in general, doctors menaces with a gun will be much more motivated even if they suspect the threat is probably void, because *they don’t want to risk it*.

    • Tylikcat

      I think that’s fairly obvious. From one set of perspectives. Especially given, doctor, in a war zone. There’s a reason he’s giving this to Alison as insurance. He knows it’s terrible.

      That doesn’t mean I can’t understand how he might have been that man, in his youth.

      (I didn’t break the knee caps of my nephew’s father. That doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes contemplate that I’d promised I would, if he didn’t stick it out as a father in some kind of minimal way.)

    • Stephanie

      Of course he shouldn’t have done it, but I doubt that he was actually giving it a careful ethical consideration at the time, and in particular he makes it clear that he didn’t approach the situation from a utilitarian perspective. He wasn’t actually thinking, “I had better pull this trigger to maintain my reputation for following through on murder threats.” It was most likely an emotionally motivated act.

      • Tylikcat

        Mm. I agree that it likely wasn’t a purely rational action.* But when people are at sea, and not sure what to do (which is most crisis points for most people) they tend to fall back on a lot of cultural models. If keeping one’s word was highly valued, that might have weighed heavily into what he did. (When I say cultural models, I mean it broadly – what people did in stories, decisions they’ve seen friends make, pretty much anything you can turn to and say “When situations come up this is how you act!” – it’s a psychological assessment of ethical decision making, not a philosophical one.)

        * I don’t know if I believe in purely rational action, if it comes to that.

        • Stephanie

          That may be, but in that case he still wouldn’t be thinking from the perspective “It will be useful/advantageous for me to follow through on my promise.”

        • Insanenoodlyguy

          I think, in his anger and grief “This doctor killed my firend! He didn’t try, that was just to trick me into thinking he tried!” might be part of his reasoning. Rational? Not really. But rationality wasn’t the entirety of the decision tree. His friend was dead. Nothing could change that. But could avenging his death have value? At least in the sense of making somebody who hurt feel a little better?

          • Tylikcat

            I would at least venture that it was a poor investment.

            Anger and grief can go in a lot of different directions. He cites keeping his promises as motivation, and I see no reason not to believe him (for all that I suspect there was a lot more going on with it.)

            I have a somewhat embarrassing litany of more and less maladaptive things I’ve done when people close to me have died, though, damn, this once again leaves me feeling pretty good about my teen and young adult years.

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            I don’t say he’s lying about that. But I don’t think it was his primary movitvation; seems unlikely that with his friend bled out and dead beside him, his toughts were “oh well I can’t break a promise i made, so i have to kill this guy now.”

          • Tylikcat

            I think some of this is definitional. In my experience, an awful lot of the time people don’t really know what they want to do. (Not around all situations, of course.) On something like this – strong emotion can easily leave you feeling like you should do something, but the what is often a lot more arbitrary.*

            One of the more common things people do is revert to learned models of What is Good and Right. Some of these are more adaptive than others. Anyhow, that would be one of my more likely interpretations of why he decided keeping his promise was important under that situation. There are others, of course.

            * As an aside, this is one of the reasons it’s fairly easy to take charge in crisis – if you know how to take charge at all – and to influence people in crisis.** Obviously, this is the kind of knowledge that can be used pretty badly.
            ** Huh. I wonder if that’s part of why my mother is so easily led?

      • cphoenix

        I agree it was emotionally motivated.

        And I note that, in presenting it to Alison, he denied that emotion.

        I said this in a reply to a previous comment, but I’m repeating it because you’re thoughtful and I’d like to know what you think of this analysis:

        Either he lied, or he retconned his memory (and didn’t notice, despite that he should know it’s human nature to do exactly that); in the first case Alison shouldn’t trust him, and in the second, she shouldn’t trust his competence.

        Either way, she shouldn’t be listening to him so much.

        And the “insurance” isn’t insurance, because he could always say “This happened to a guy I knew, and I personalized it for pedagogical reasons.” There’s no easy way to check, and he’d be believed. And he’s smart enough to know this, so his claim that he’s given Alison insurance is another probable lie.

        Do you see any alternative to my reasoning? Any reason why Alison should trust him?

        • Stephanie

          I do see an alternative–I think the “because deontology” thing is Gurwara’s dark humor. We’re not intended to take it at face value, and neither is Alison. Gurwara is basically using “I was a deontologist” as a dry euphemism for “I absolutely shot that doctor.”

  • Philip Bourque

    No utility? It gave him a chance to vent, he kept his promise like a good man and it made him feel better. For all of a moment or two.

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      Guns don’t make killing easier. They make killing A LOT easier. That’s significant. Also, without the gun, threatening would have been harder. The gun changed the decision trees of everybody involved.

  • Stephanie

    Pretty dark. It seems like Gurwara is saying that having power burdens you with moral responsibility. If you act, you’re responsible for what you do. If you don’t act, you’re responsible for what you failed to do. The only way to remain innocent, to remain morally pure, is to lack the power to change anything in the first place.

    • Vigil

      I suspect she means “There might have been utility in having genuinely precommitted to kill the doctor (in the form of your threats being more convincing) – and therefore following through on that precommitment, taken as a possibility in a series of actions, rather than as a single action, might have utility.”
      I also suspect she doesn’t think there’s very much value in that, and is just being a bit pedantic about “technically there could in theory have been some utility”.

      In addition, I agree with your points downthread that this is not what was going through young!Guwara’s mind.

    • Gurwara is taunting her with the implication of her statement. He’s suggesting that by her reasoning, she might have killed the doctor if there was utility. It is this implication that she objects to.

      • Stephanie

        That makes sense.

    • Giacomo Bandini

      So he is saying that Power can’t be Innocent.

    • Beroli

      Considering Gurwara just says “Ah” to that and then continues with a reply that doesn’t make sense unless that’s exactly what Allison means, I think it’s understood by both of them that “that’s not what I meant” here is “that was what I meant but it makes me wince when you phrase it that baldly.”

  • Nonsense on the insurance issue. There is probably no way remaining to prove that this happened, even after he told the story, while what Alison did is easily provable.

    • Eric Schissel

      some of what Alison did is “easily provable”, but the things she confessed to him in the recent conversation I think he has only her word on, and it would take some real work to obtain supporting evidence.

    • Campor

      But let’s be honest, who are people going to believe if they both ousted their stories? They’d both suffer, and mutually assured destruction is technically a form of insurance so long as both sides don’t want to be destroyed.

  • It seems he is going to let her pass his class after all.

    • palmvos

      maybe we are going to go for double or nothing… she has to take the class again so she can fail it twice……

  • Pol Subanajouy

    With how fed up Al has been, I wouldn’t be surprised if she crushed the stone between her fingers just for some catharsis. I wonder if the monochrome backgrounds were a result of time crunch to get the page out and/or a dramatic decision to frame this game of stones, the bloody tale of desperation and Al’s mounting guilt all in a tense, oppressive, bloody light.

    “But for that damned gun, I could have lived guiltless and clean, at the mercy of the world.”

    Oh boy, this sentence.

    Here the professor seems to be characterizing serendipitous opportunities to use force to get your way as things that happen to a person and not something ever present and available to us at all times. But the truly thorny implications is that if you are to be guiltless in this world, you must be a victim of it. That it’s either to take the gun or surrender. Do or get done is a tough pill for me to swallow. But then again, it’d be the type of unpalatable lesson that would very much fit this character.

    • Insanenoodlyguy

      No, if he found the gun and didn’t take it, that would still have been a choice, a power he gave up. He doesn’t say the moment he took the gun is pivotal, but the moment he FOUND it. It is only when we have no choice to make that it’s not our fault what happens. Once the choice exists, we make it, one way or another, and live with that as best we can.

      • Lostman

        However, I like to point out that Gurwara was despite as Alison was not.

        • Insanenoodlyguy

          For all the organ recipients Allison’s actions have saved, her friend was effectively under constant torture on a daily basis with no end in sight. We see in comic that stressed her out a LOT. And suddenly, a solution was right there! She could SAVE HER FRIEND, BUT THIS OTHER PERSON WASN’T COOPERATING BUT SHE COULD MAKE THEM COOPERATE DAMN IT.
          I think the parallels are pretty valid.

          • Lostman

            True… but it’s not like there was a race against time or anything. It’s just that something fell into Alison lap, and she acted on it.

          • Stephanie

            There was a race against time. Feral was continuing to suffer every moment that Alison delayed, and people were dying every day.

          • Arkone Axon

            And Alison cared about none of them, as has been established by the story and her own testimony. Her concern for them is noncanon.

          • Stephanie

            I decided to unblock you today. I hope you can refrain from personal attacks on my character from now on.

            You will notice that I said “Feral was continuing to suffer every moment.” That’s sufficient to establish a race against time, regardless of whether or not Alison’s entire previously established characterization is a lie and she is actually a sociopath toward every person in the world except Feral. I am not interested in continuing to debate whether or not she’s a secret sociopath.

          • Arkone Axon

            And I hope you’ll do the same.

            Also, I never called her a sociopath. I specifically, emphatically, and repeatedly emphasized the canonical fact that her concern was for Feral. Not the nameless individuals that she was perfectly prepared to throw under a bus if it would save her friend. She specifically and only cared for Feral.

            Which (as I have said before) does not make her a sociopath, so please stop accusing me of calling her one. It makes her HUMAN. She values the one person she knows, admires, and cares for, over an unknown number of strangers. Feral is part of her monkeysphere and she is prepared to go to great lengths for Feral.

            That is also why she regrets her actions. She demanded that Max show empathy towards a person he’d never even met, at the request of someone who then refused to show him empathy in turn. And then used violence to force him to do something, when showing him empathy would have most likely succeeded. She feels horrible about it. Because she has a conscience, and is not a sociopath but a human. Flawed, but doing her best.

          • Stephanie

            I said I’m not interested in debating that anymore. Regardless of whether you think she cares about anyone but Feral, she only has to care about Feral for it to be true that there was a “race against time” in her eyes.

            I don’t think I ever actually personally attacked you, for the record. I used a sarcastic tone, which I really do not think qualifies as a personal attack. I certainly didn’t, for example, say “you sound exactly like the people on some homophobe forum because I don’t like your tone, so I’m comparing you to them even though you’ve said literally nothing to remotely suggest you share their awful beliefs.”

          • Arkone Axon

            One: you did indeed engage in multiple personal attacks. And no, I did not compare your beliefs to that of those idiots on the RHJunior forum. I compared your behavior to that of those idiots on the RHJunior forum. Different beliefs, same attitude: “This person disagrees with me and therefore counterarguments must be coupled with snide commentary.” If you don’t like that comparison, then DO BETTER. Hold yourself to a higher standard, and refrain from coupling counterarguments with insults.

            And you are correct – she did care about Feral, and every moment Feral spent on the table was agony. But it’s Feral that she cared about, not the random faceless strangers. It’s virtuous of her to want to help the person engaged in such a dramatic and noble act of truly effective martyrdom… but the random faceless strangers are a nonissue in the moral calculus. It’s why Alison no longer mentions them… it’s also a reflection of how Alison needs to grow. She does care about people, but her affection has been… selfish. Self-centered. She admitted that she’s been a bad friend to her former teammates; she never really thought about how her actions affected them. She focused on the people she liked, and ignored the ones she didn’t. It’s one thing to speak of the people as an abstract entity, and talk of helping “the people.” It’s quite another to actually get to know the people, to deal with the people, with all their grubbiness and foibles and quirks. The way Bradley was doing (and oh, he was awesome!). Or Klevin. Or Lisa. Or… Gurwara, who has given up his morning in order to help a person in dire emotional distress.

            Alison has the powers of Superman, but the thing that makes Superman so super is that he cares about people like that. Superman could efficiently do the most good by generating energy in a big treadmill or by transporting food and supplies around the world… but he’ll give up an entire afternoon just to float next to a suicidally depressed woman on a window ledge, until she’s ready to come down on her own terms. Alison’s not at that level of empathy… yet. Hopefully she’ll get there, with Gurwara’s help.

          • Stephanie

            Yeah, you doubled down on the same shit I blocked you for once already. Charming that you tell me to hold myself to a “higher standard” in the same breath. Bye again.

          • Arkone Axon

            “And nothing of value was lost.”

          • Insanenoodlyguy

            If my friend was being put into perpetual pain, literally cut open and torn apart again and again, I’d despair. The moment I found out I could stop it, I’d act immediately. Which is exactly what Allison did. There wasn’t a “race against time”, but every moment she didn’t do it was another moment her friend was suffering. And as the whole story conveys, having the power to do something about it changes everything. Alison suddenly knew what to do. She set about doing it asap.

          • Lostman

            As like to call it: Alison took a loan from the morality bank, to pay another loan from another morality bank.

    • The implication of Gurwara’s statement is that if you are powerless, then you must be guiltless, because you don’t have the power to do anything worth being guilty about.

      The converse–if you are guiltless, then you must be powerless–is never implied. If Gurwara had found the gun and not shot the doctor, he would have been guiltless but not powerless. He knows that as well as anybody.

  • AustinC123

    The number of comments on the theme of “guns don’t kill people”
    Jeez everybody. That is not the point, that is not it at all.

    • Grant

      Guns don’t kill people. We are all immortal souls living temporarily in shelters of earth and meat.

      • Freemage

        Or we’re all soulless globules of earth and meat, shambling about and trying to find purpose.

        Query: How would we know the difference?

      • Zorae42

        Guns don’t kill people, blood loss and organ damage does.

      • Nathanaël François

        I am simultaneously saddened and happy that someone beat me to a Night Vale reference by a few minutes.

        (Although I prefer the first one “Guns don’t kill people. It’s impossible to be killed by a gun. We are all invincible to bullets, and it’s a miracle.”)

    • Amelia Picklewiggle

      (Crap crap crap… this is my coauthor’s account that I’m inadvertently logged into. Disregard this comment)

    • dragonus45

      Guwara seems to be proposing that had he not found the gun he would have done none of those things. He is in essence blaming the gun for enabling his murderous rage.

      • Stephanie

        He wouldn’t have done those things because he wouldn’t have been able to. It’s as simple as that. He is not saying that this absolves him of what he chose to do with the power the gun gave him. His point is that if you’re powerless, you’re blameless–you can’t be faulted for the terrible things you had no power to prevent, and you can’t commit any terrible acts even if you otherwise would.

  • AustinC123

    I guess you could say that now we know Gurwara’s

    trigger event
    #worm

    • Kane York

      ow, 1d6 pun damage

  • Elaine Lee

    Most of the people arguing in these comments have mentally separated Gurwara, his friend, the doctor and the gun from the terrible war raging around them. How long has this war been going on? How many people has Gurwara seen killed? How long has he been trying to get his friend to safety and what kind of mental and emotional toll has it taken before they even reach the doctor’s door. When you set this scene within the larger context, the war, and don’t just think about it as a philosophical problem, Gurwara’s actions make more sense. When his friend dies, he is acting purely from emotion. The doctor becomes every horrible bigot who has participated in the genocide, whether by actively taking up a gun and killing, or by protecting themselves and taking no action at all, thus allowing it happen. Gurwara has had decades to formulate his story of why he did what he did. That doesn’t mean he’s correct in his assessment. Recent research tells us that human beings act from emotion then instantaneously give themselves a reason for the act. What you “think” matters little until after the fact. Reason developed in service to desire. Feeling is everything. Science tells us this. And in this, science and philosophy are at odds. Even though I tend toward utilitarianism (no philosophical stance works all the time), I realize that this tendency is in large part genetic. I didn’t choose it. It’s an after-the-fact rationalization. Had I been in Gurawara’s place, I like to think I wouldn’t have shot the doctor, as there would have been nothing to gain by it. But who knows? If it had been my son who died on the doctor’s table, the doctor would’ve been dead meat, as I would have had both a gun and a terrible need to make someone pay for my grief. Nothing philosophical about it.

    • I agree, except for the part where you suggest the discrepancy is due to Gurwara’s incorrect assessment of his motives. I suspect Gurwara thinks there’s no utility in going over the emotional baggage.

      • Tylikcat

        Or that it’s inappropriate to do so with his student.

    • Weatherheight

      Your assessment is pretty sharp – you’re understating a bit the power of rationality in acts of consciousness. The research focuses mainly on unthinking or reflexive actions – one can overcome those by being deliberate, but that requires a lot of mental effort, and that’s exhausting and ultimately unsustainable for most everyone.

      That said, the greater context in which Arjun’s decision is made is actually pretty important, in that during war / armed conflict, the fear of imminent death is always there, which amps up anxiety. Persistent levels of strong anxiety has a lot of negative consequences mentally and physically.

      Nice paragraph.

    • cphoenix

      I strongly agree with your analysis.
      Even before I read it, I was thinking that Gurwara was not being accurate about why he killed the doctor.
      A philosophy professor (who takes it upon themselves to give their students lessons in applied morality) should know what you just described – even if they haven’t read the research, it should be apparent from carefully watching people.
      So, either
      1) Gurwara knows it, and deliberately concealed the fact that he acted out of overwhelming emotion;
      2) He doesn’t know it at all, and he is therefore incompetent in his own field;
      3) He knows it, but doesn’t apply it to himself, in which case he is still incompetent.

      Whichever the reason – whether his character or his competence is lacking – this is further evidence that he is NOT to be trusted.

      Also, if Alison did tell anyone the story, he could just say “That story happened to a guy I knew in the war, and I personalized it for pedagogic purposes.” So it’s not insurance at all. And he’s smart enough to know that. So he lied to her about it being insurance.

      Yup, Alison is spending way too much time listening to a smart and untrustworthy person here. Not wise.

      • Stephanie

        I don’t think we’re intended to take “I did it because deontology” at face value. It seems like Gurwara’s typical dark humor.

  • Stephanie

    Wait, I just realized–he’s been carrying those pebbles around this whole time? Does he just take them everywhere in case he needs to lecture someone about game theory?

    • Tylikcat

      He’s a major go enthusiast.

    • AnonoBot9000

      Another knock towards, he is actually a super villain attempting to influence her.

    • Weatherheight

      He was cursed by the wife of the doctor that he shot to always carry a heavy burden.
      That’s all she had…

    • bta

      My hypothesis is that he’s memorized a bunch of several abstract games he can use these pebbles for, not just one.

      That or playing with them is a stress reliever.

  • Hiram

    “Am I supposed to be impressed that you’ve never killed anybody? What a
    bold moral choice from someone who’s terrified of violence and scared
    shitless of going to jail!”

    There’s an pseudo-appropriate quote I’m not remembering about how giving guns to teenagers and sending them over seas means they’re setting your foreign policy (internal policy in this case) for you.

  • K. J. Hargan

    After having read all the comments (yes, I usually read all of them) two things stick out for me.

    First, there seems to be a lack of awareness of the dynamic of Us versus Them in war time. A couple of commenters mention it, but most ignore the reality of Guwara’s choice being based on a martially conflicted situation. Guwara admits he doesn’t know if the doctor is the same religion as him, but acts sufficiently secure in thinking he has to motivate the doctor by a mortal threat. He wouldn’t have to do that if he concretely felt the doctor was ‘on his side’.

    Conclusion, Guwara’s choice was definitely shaded by the context of war. Does that excuse what he did? No. But it wasn’t a simple case of ‘this is my moral choice’. A soldier has little moral choice when he murders an enemy soldier, even though the enemy is trying to kill that soldier. Is murder in war self defense? Highly debatable. Explain an unprovoked attack in war. Do we have to sit on our rifles until the other side shoots? Nope.

    But that’s why we have legal rules of conflict in wartime. Guwara was making sure that the doctor, on the other side, was not trying to intentionally kill his friend. I am not applying this construct as a specific or defense, but as a qualifier in regards to Guwara’s decision.

    But this is a problem as far as Allison is concerned, because although much of Guwara’s story is analogous to Allison’s predicament, Max was NOT on the opposite side. He’s a person with powers like Allison, so her decision has much LESS merit than Guwara’s in this scenario (until it is revealed that Max is part of some kind of antagonistic team, which I seriously doubt).

    Second, the Gun Argument has mostly passed over the agency of the gun. But a gun has no agency, you say! Wrong. The latent agency is implied in the clear DESIGN of the tool.

    Try to hammer together two boards with a screwdriver. Not impossible, but there is a much more efficient tool Specifically Designed for the job. A gun could have many uses, but is designed to be most efficient at one thing.

    Guns don’t kill people. People kill people. True, but guns make killing people very, very easy.

    Guwara’s lament, to me, was in finding a tool that had that latent agency that most easily facilitated his later immoral decision. Most decisions, even ones that seem to be instantaneous, usually take into account some outlying factors. So as far as latent agency is concerned, in his threat to kill the doctor, yes he could have used a rock or his hands, but how simply efficient was it to merely pull a trigger.

  • Weatherheight

    The faces on this page are just wonderful.
    The background hues starting orangish, deepening to blood red in panels 2 & 3, then lightening again is also neat.

    To be honest, the phrase Arjun used in panel 5 that struck me the most was “at the mercy of the world.” It seems to me that Arjun has made a point during this conversation that the world is pretty merciless; “at the mercy of the world” implies to me that Arjun wants the world to have mercy but his experience has taught him it does not. That phrase felt very, very bitter and full of regret to me.

    He focuses on the gun but his real problem is that the world as it exists is not in consonance with his desire. He can take up the gun and gain power to make the world as he wishes it but ultimately, the world is still merciless, and now he is truly a part of that merciless world – to borrow a phrase, prior to his exercise of power he was “in the world but not of it”; afterwards, he was “of the world and in it.”

    Really nice page.

    • Eric Schissel

      Interesting. Well-caught, I believe.

  • Eternal

    Say what you want, but a threat has no value if you are not willing to go through with it. Otherwise it’s not a threat, it’s a bluff. And sometimes people can tell when you’re bluffing. (Also, if people learn that you do not go through with your threats, they become totally ineffective… but here this is a one time thing, so that’s a bit irrelevant).

    I think that while his killing of the doctor may seem totally gratuitous (or maybe like a revenge?) once his friend is dead (it does not bring him back to life), using a threat to increase your friend’s odds of survival and being ready to go through with it is actually something that works. It’s totally unethical by many standards, but well, an individual using violence to get what he wants never really is.

  • Zorae42

    His promise was “If he dies, you will die too”, but technically everyone will die at some point. So he could’ve totally kept his word without killing the doctor. It’s not like he said “If he dies, I’ll kill you”.

  • JohnTomato

    Ali can never get a tattoo.

    It was getting all too heavy in here.

    • Tylikcat

      Gosh, I hope she’s up to date on her vaccinations.

      • palmvos

        well her powers manifested around 12. its safe to say she hasn’t had the ones they give teenagers. we are talking about the girl they use a disk grinder to cut her hair! I would be afraid of what they might use to give her an injection- they can’t even stitch her up right now. would the injections work if they were introduced into an open wound? but the parents don’t strike me as the type to not get the immunizations.
        here’s a related question- would a tetanus shot be useful for her?

    • Zorae42

      She can now. Her indestructibility goes away when she flies, so she just has to hover the whole time… Actually, that might not be feasible considering how long it takes and how hard that’d be to concentrate on.

      • Beroli

        That does imply that she can potentially turn off her invulnerability, if her combat instincts will even let her learn that.

  • Dawn Smashington

    The inner hope that Guwara’s later role will be as a dapper-as-fuck villain dies a little bit with this, but not all the way. Obviously, not all killers are merciless, heartless monsters, and not all non-killers are good people. Nobody is so uncomplicated as to be fully one or the other. And so, one who might genuinely regret murdering a doctor may not feel much regret for other murders. I imagine, as others here have, that Guwara went on to join an army or resistance group, and that the doctor is not the last life he ended. The scars, the broken nose; here is a man who clearly was suffering, and used that pain to inflict revenges upon the enemies responsible for his friend’s death.

    And here it is, the gun he found that day, sitting before him in a pizza shop. I wonder if he’ll pick it up, and I wonder at what cause he would point her at. Is this war he described still happening? A different war elsewhere? Something completely different?

    Guwara is smarter than Al. I imagine he could convince her to do something terrible in the name of some greater good. Especially since, as Al has said herself before, she enjoys fighting; punching something wrong into something right. She may as well put that bloodthirstiness to some “utility”, right?

    • Mechwarrior

      The inner hope that Guwara’s later role will be as a dapper-as-fuck villain dies a little bit with this, but not all the way. Obviously, not all killers are merciless, heartless monsters, and not all non-killers are good people. Nobody is so uncomplicated as to be fully one or the other. And so, one who might genuinely regret murdering a doctor may not feel much regret for other murders.

      Remember, villains will often lie to manipulate people.

      • Dawn Smashington

        There is that too; that if Guwara were the absolute black-hearted villain, then he could be lying about feeling bad about killing the doctor, and may have in fact enjoyed it. Here, I can’t help but think of him pulling out the chips to treat Al’s painful existential exposition as entertainment. So I think it’s still possible we have an unapologetic, “real” villain, even though I think I’m beginning to favor treating villainy as shades of prideful self-righteousness in regards to how to fix the world’s problems.

        • Mechwarrior

          I’m saying that this whole story could be a lie. It’s not like Alison could ever verify it.

          • Dawn Smashington

            Man, if he’s lying about everything and none of that happened, I’mma be so mad at him

  • BMPDynamite

    (eyebrows)

    (yes, that is my response to this entire page)

    (but especially panel 2 and the last panel)

  • You can ascribe morality to it all you want, but when it comes down to it, he, like pretty much every other person who’s ever killed under the guise of a code, did so because they lashed out in a moment of anger, then tried to give meaning to it in hindsight. His friend was dead, so he was mad and wanted some kind of revenge for it, and the doctor made a convenient target. Same as the soldiers who shoot civilians, then later blame it on confusion or orders. You were mad, so you wanted someone else to hurt too. It’s that simple. Anger, pleasure, or fear.

  • In other words when he gained power things changed.

  • McFrugal

    I already thought of what’s going to happen next.

    Either one or both of them is going to put no stones on the table.

  • Mitchell Lord

    Well…this comic definitely did a good job of provoking discussion. I find it interesting how many people tend to argue PAST each other, instead of TO each other. Interestingly, the ‘gun’ could easily be substituted with a knife, a rock…or any weapon. Or,, for instance, Allison’s superpowers, or the dossier.

    • Stephanie

      The “gun” can definitely be a metaphor for many kinds of power, but I disagree that it could have been easily substituted with a rock or a knife in Gurwara’s specific situation.

  • Urthman

    Note that Guwara comments about his overall philosophy and feelings at the time but definitely does not come out and say whether or not he actually acted on those thoughts and killed the doctor.

    (He says the doctor “would have shut his door and lived,” which could mean “Without the gun, he could have safely shut the door on us and I never would have been in the position of making a threat and having to decide whether or not to carry it out.”) Maybe he’s just talking in euphemisms, but he could definitely at a later point say, “Now, I never actually said that I killed him.”

    • Beroli

      He’s not a genie. If he wants to deceive for some reason, he can simply lie; playing word games to pretend he’s not won’t benefit him.

  • Philip Petrunak

    It’s times like this I wish each page was tagged with the characters that appear in it like David Willis does with his comics. Much easier to track down older strips, like the first time they played this game.

    Also, holy shit, he actually killed someone.

  • myself

    one should not blame an inanimate object for ones own choices. the man done screwed up. and while I have some vague sort of empathy (or understanding as you will) I feel neither forgiveness nor sympathy for him.

    • Stephanie

      He’s not blaming the gun for his choice. He’s saying the gun gave him the power to make that choice, not that it forced him to.

  • I’ve been giving a lot of thought to this over the last several months: why do we determine that some actions are unforgivable and some people are irredeemable? I would agree that if I accept that Gurwara actually did kill the doctor, than the doctor could certainly never forgive him- but forgiveness is something that is given, regardless of whether it is earned or not. Arguably, absolution requires right action to correct or balance wrong action, but the words, while similar, are not identical in my mind.

    Now, with that little bit of semantic philosophy out of the way, I will also put my own two cents in.

    First, I think, in general, I accept that Gurwara did, in fact, kill the doctor. His implication leans heavily to that understanding, and I find it entirely believable given the circumstances. I do not accept his post facto reconstruction of his thought processes- they seem extremely unlikely for anyone who is not a sociopath- and, while he may be many things (including a murderer!), I don’t buy that he’s got no moral compass.

    Second, I can definitely see the parallel he’s making between his situation and Alison’s, although it is clearly imperfect- for one thing, he did not successfully leverage his power into a positive outcome- but the idea that great power brings with it the responsibility for acting or failing to act (and all the outcomes those choices can reasonably be predicted to have) is right in line with how he’s been presented throughout.

    I do think that, under the circumstances, Gurwara should be held accountable for his actions, assuming he was not already, but I’m not at all sure that the evidence from a war-torn crime scene decades after the fact could be successfully brought to trial; heck, even a full confession might not be sufficient, if the government in question no longer exists. Perhaps his current profession is the best way he can think of to balance his wrong actions? I note that he almost certainly has not been convicted of murder within the U.S., or else he could not hold a job as a professor in any publicly funded university and the vast majority of private universities, as well.

  • bryan rasmussen

    Since Gurwara has pedagogical reasons for everything I’m not sure if he is telling the truth all the time.

  • Arkone Axon

    I’ve just read through all the comments on this page up to this point, and reflected upon them, and… I’d like to share my contemplations and see what people think.

    Gurwara blames the gun. He says, “if I’d never found that gun, my friend would have died in the street, the doctor would have lived, and none of it would have been my fault.” So there’s three things I’m seeing there, thanks to the comments directing my thoughts this way.

    One: projection. Projection of guilt. I think that’s a huge part of why anti-gun people are the way they are. You’re afraid of the power, of the responsibility that goes with it. Even though you might have no problems with operating a vehicle capable of exponentially more destruction than any handheld firearm (seriously, google “drunk driving murders” and then select the news tab). And even then, there’s STILL a projection of guilt – murdering someone with a car carries far less severe penalties than murdering someone with a gun, knife, rock, poison, etc. For some reason, once you do it with a car there’s an “oops” factor.

    “What do you have to say for yourself!?”
    “I didn’t mean to! The car must have suddenly accelerated for no reason, I guess…”
    “Oh, well. Then I’ll just hand down a five year sentence. Now bring in the guy who stabbed his victim, I want to hand down a 25-to-life sentence to someone.”

    Guns… and cars. Those two items in particular. There’s a desire to project guilt onto an inanimate object (I wasn’t kidding about the “sudden unintended acceleration” example. SUAs were the subject of a federal investigation and the ruination of a once-popular cheap import… and the investigation concluded with “it is physically impossible for a car to move unless someone puts their foot on the accelerator. We didn’t need to spend all this time and money to confirm that.”). It’s the person operating it. It’s one of the reasons why gun enthusiasts call themselves “operators,” not “gunslingers.”

    Two: victimhood mentality. The Right often accuses the Left of encouraging a victimhood mentality… they do have a bit of a point (though I’d add that both sides are guilty of this. “Gays are getting married and that victimizes us! They’re getting married at us!”). If you refuse to protect yourself – not just by carrying a useful defensive tool, but also via training, physical conditioning (Harry Dresden: “I run. Not just to stay in shape, but so I can outrun things that want to kill me.”), awareness techniques, and not making stupid decisions (I’ve never been stabbed in a bar fight… I also don’t go out getting blackout drunk in bars), if you’re trusting the responsibility for your own welfare to others, then you’re deliberately seeking powerlessness. “Only cops should have guns! Anyone else with a gun should go to jail!” That’s saying that there should only be sheep and sheepdogs to protect them from the wolves… when there isn’t much physical difference between a domesticated sheep and a wild one, only the willingness to defend themselves by headbutting the wolves over the horizon.

    I’ve known a lot of people who actively sought victimhood, who openly refused to seek empowerment. No, I’m not just talking about self defense, I am NOT mocking those who choose to refrain from carrying a firearm. I’m talking about people like a morbidly obese diabetic in a wheelchair who blames the doctors and blames the therapists and blames everyone else… and then won’t stop eating sugar and responds to criticism with anger. I’m talking about people like a person with bad knees who refuses to do physical therapy to fix those knees. I’m talking about an unemployed alcoholic who couldn’t even fill out the paperwork to put herself on disability and receive money just for continuing to draw breath, and then cries and feels sorry for herself (even as she leeches off her child, thereby taking food out of the mouths of her own grandchildren).

    Being a victim is safe. You’re safe from… guilt. From responsibility. If Gurwara hadn’t picked up the gun, he wouldn’t have been responsible for what he did with it. Just like how Alison wouldn’t be responsible for assault, torture, and terroristic threats if she didn’t have her powers. Once you have power, you are responsible for what you do with it.

    Three: power seeking. I’ve noticed a number of people have been cheering Alison on, blaming Max and attempting to retcon what’s actually been shown to imply that the guy who tried explaining his fears of exposure to the person who then coldly dismissed his pain and fear before torturing him into compliance was actually a selfish jerk who said no just to spite her (even though the comic itself has been emphasizing the former for the last month or two). And those people keep saying: She had the power, so it’s RIGHT that she use it! She has a responsibility to do whatever it takes to help others!

    That mentality… I see it elsewhere. I see it with a lot of those “operators,” because their writings imply that they’re literally hoping for a societal collapse where they can shoot bad guys and be the big damn heroes while the “sheeple” starve and die. I see it with cops who look at anyone who isn’t wearing a uniform and thinking “potential criminal, treat as a perp because everyone’s done something.” I saw it with George Zimmerman when he disregarded the police dispatcher’s warnings to NOT chase after Trayvor Martin because he was “tired of these damned punks.” I’ve seen it with lynch mobs, I’ve seen it with riots. I see it with the war on drugs, the war on terrorism, the war on… pretty much anything that isn’t a hostile invading military force. Some people are literally seeking power so they can make the world a better place in THEIR OWN OPINIONS. The Khmer Rogue had that exact motive for what they did to Cambodia.

    You want the power, fine – but it DOES carry responsibility with it. You want the power to lash out violently and force your views on others, fine – but that doesn’t make you any less of a victimizer when you hurt others. Your glorious vision of a brighter tomorrow offers no comfort to your victims. And make no mistake: they will not thank you, they will not forgive you, they will not appreciate you. You’re forcing your views on them, using your power. To them, you are the bad guy. And they very well might be correct.

    • Stephanie

      Gurwara does not blame the gun for his decision. As another commenter said, he recognizes the gun as a key factor in his decision-making process. It opened options that were previously unavailable to him. However, at no point does he deny his agency in what he chose to do with the gun.

      I’ll quote another commenter, Lethologica, who I think summed it up very well:

      “The implication of Gurwara’s statement is that if you are powerless, then you must be guiltless, because you don’t have the power to do anything worth being guilty about.

      The converse–if you are guiltless, then you must be powerless–is never implied. If Gurwara had found the gun and not shot the doctor, he would have been guiltless but not powerless. He knows that as well as anybody.”

      • Arkone Axon

        Actually, I’m specifically talking about the general mindsets, the way others in general behave. Projection of guilt (blaming inanimate objects or others). Embracing and seeking victimhood. And seeking power to force others to abide by your own morality.

        I’m not talking about Gurwara’s words as he ruminated over his many regrets and feelings of guilt. I’m talking about the musings that came to me while reading people’s discussion over said words.

        • Stephanie

          “Gurwara blames the gun.” — Arkone Axon, 2017

          • Arkone Axon

            Again, totally missing the point. I specifically wanted to discuss the mindset of projecting, not whether or not I was accurate when I took his words at face value before addressing the comments made. Or to use your own phrasing:

            “But for that damned gun, I could have lived my life guiltless and clean, at the mercy of the world.” Gurwara, 2017

            (But – again – the fact that he specifically said that he blames the gun is not what I wanted to discuss. Will you continue to belabor the point?)

  • BMPDynamite

    He’s offering her something she hadn’t anticipated: a second chance. Let’s see what she does.

  • zopponde

    Honestly, AS A FICTIONAL CHARACTER, I like Gurwara’s decision as a narrative element. It’s certainly much better than a lot of the “shocking reveals” I’ve been hearing about in the superhero genre lately, as a source of conversation (one where, while I can’t really relate to Gurwara’s decision, I can at least understand why he did it and it isn’t all “the author wanted people to be surprised”) and as a means of furthering the plot/adding emotional weight.