The Indifference of Good Men
April 2, 2007
“Never shall innocent blood be shed. Yet the blood of the wicked shall flow like a river. The three shall spread their blackened wings and be the vengeful striking hammer of God.”
For those of you who have an affinity for great films, I’m sure you’ve heard the above quote from “The Boondock Saints.” (ahem!) I was talking about this film with friends this weekend and we discussed the interesting dual plot of the film as well as the dual role of this particular film.
Many films that we see today can be easily placed into one category; such as action, drama, comedy, romance, etcetera. With “The Boondock Saints” you find yourself watching an action film, but what you may or may not realize, is that you can’t help but think about the moral of the story long after the film’s final scene. These types of films are the ones I like to call “dual plot” film because the film has one plot (good men doing bad things to bad people), but the story has its own plot, a plot that is intended to be played out after the film ends.
As my friends discussed the story plot (the one that occurs after the film), we began to wonder how our society would react to this type of behavior. At the end of the film, the director showed some clips of what appeared to be interviews with everyday people. These people were either praising or condemning the “Saints” for whatever reason they could think of. Some of the standard responses that you would expect to hear were:
- The streets are safer without the pimps and drug dealers and murders.
- What makes them any different than the murderer if they murder themselves?
- It’s not like they’re killing good people.
- Who gives these men the right to take life?
- One day they’re killing murders, the next they’re killing those who litter.
I started to think about how I would respond if someone came to me and asked, “Do you think it’s okay for people to kill evil men?” Being a Sociologist at heart, I first begin thinking about the societal repercussions of such actions. Being a Scholar at heart, I then start thinking about history and how people have reacted to this behavior in the past. Being a Human, I finally think about how I would feel if someone killed my brother because they thought he was evil.
In the end, you have a mess of thoughts circulating, all tied together with one common thread. But before I tell you that common thread, allow me to map out the thoughts I had while pondering this question…
- How will society react? Right now, many people in the world view George Bush as evil. If he was assassinated, our country would likely respond in a most aggressive manner. The end result is a probable war and in the worst case scenario, World War III.
- How has society reacted? Hitler began pointing out “evil conspirators” against his own country and proclaimed that all Jews need to be extinguished to save their society. He began systematically “cleansing” and a World War erupted all across the world. Even stationary battleships were bombed in a country that was not yet involved in the war.
- How would I react? I can’t imagine that Saddam Hussein’s family was thrilled to watch video of their family member being hung because others thought he was evil. He may have been the most evil man in the world, but I’m sure someone, somewhere loved him and was devastated. But is it okay to take the life of one person to save the lives of many? That is what was done in this case, but I can’t say that I wouldn’t be vengeful.
The common thread here is that what one views as evil, another may view as a liberator. What one views as dangerous, another views as protective. Therefore, the only logical way to solve these types of issues is to come to a NON-UNILATERAL consensus. No one person should be able to decide the fate of any person. This is why we have jury’s and judges and courts of appeals and due process. If one person were allowed to make such major decisions as to the fate of another human being, our society would be nothing more than a blood thirsty peoples all vying for the “Top Dog” spot; so that we can execute our enemies.
In the beginning of this wonderful film, a priest is lecturing his church on current events. He tells a story of a young girl who was killed in broad daylight, and not one person who was around did anything to help. He posed a thought that was meant to sit residually in the back of your mind the entire movie. At the end of the movie when you try to answer that question, you may find yourself writing a blog about it and fiendishly searching for your own answer.
Since I can’t directly quote the Priest verbatim, I’m going to write it as I remember…
“Of course we must fear evil men, but there is another evil that we must fear more… and that is the indifference of good men.”