On Killing | Myke Cole

On Killing | Myke Cole.

Killing is a chain.

Fan­tasy seems to iso­late the act to two bel­liger­ents, the slayer and the slain, at least as far as the con­se­quences go. But the truth is that, in law-enforcement, coun­terin­sur­gency, and war, the ulti­mate act is the result of the efforts of dozens if not hun­dreds of people. Each is a par­tic­i­pant. Each owns the expe­ri­ence. Each is changed by it. Permanently.

Those changes are rarely positive.

I thought about the treatment of killing a lot while I was writing The Desert Wall and The Red Fortress, and how casual it can seem for the character who is doing the killing. I didn’t think that seemed very realistic, but rather a product of casual killing on TV, in the movies and in video games.

More things to read (besides Mike Cole’s post in its entirety): What It Is Like To Go To War by Karl Marlantes and On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society by David Grossman


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