Violence - A Conversation - Worse Thing

"So when was the last time you were in a fight?"

"Been, well shit, let's see, since I was 19 or 20. Don't remember exactly when."

"What happened?"

"Guy mouthed off. Didn't like the look of him anyway. Took him to the ground."

"That's it?"

"No. Had him by the throat and started giving him the ways I could and was going to kill him from that position."


"Yes, I was serious."

"And what happened?"

"From what I have been told, someone was talking to my big brother and said: 'Why does your little brother have that guy on the ground?' He turned, saw what was happening, jumped off the porch and was on me in a few steps. Put his body over mine with his hand on my hands. All he said was 'Stand down.' So I did and let the guy go."

"That's all it took?"

"He was in charge. I let the guy go and he walked me off. Someone grabbed the guy and told him he needed to leave."

"Why? Why go that far?"

"Well, for starters I was drunk. Second, I was taught you only fight tot he end. Guy didn't know how to fight."

"How did it make you feel?"

"You a therapist?"

"No. But, I mean is this only time you did something like this? I mean what's the worse thing you have ever done?"

"Depends on what you consider 'the worse.' Really, what is a bad thing? What is wrong? Depends on your context. Do you consider beating someone up who owes someone else money or information a bad thing? Do you consider it a bad thing to point a gun at someone or a pull a knife on a person? Is it a bad thing to provide intelligence you are pretty sure leads to someone disappearing or something being stolen? If these things are your job, you don't feel guilt. You don't see them as wrong. They are a part of what you do."

"So you did these things? You were a what? An enforcer?"

"I never said I did any of those things. I posited them as questions. If you had to do those things as part of your job, would you consider them bad things?"

"Yes. They are bad things. I mean even soldiers feel bad for killing people."

"Nope. Wrong. Some soldiers feel bad for killing people. Most Marines don't. Spec Ops guys don't. They do it as part of their job."

"What about feeling guilty?"

"Goes back to what you consider the worse thing you have done? To what you consider bad."

"Well, what about the guilt.?"

"I don't feel guilty for the things others think I should or would feel guilty for. The things I feel guilty for are bigger than those things. At least they are to me. Letting people down. Not avenging wrongs to the family. Not being there for people. Those things I feel bad for. Hurting someone for work: no."

"But you realize that makes you a sociopath? That makes you evil. I mean hurting someone, no matter what they have done or owe or what your work is isn't right."

"Why? Because someone wrote it in a book once? Because certain philosophers decided it? No. Sorry. No joy was taken. It was what it was: bad things done to bad and sometimes good people. There was no thrill to it."

"So to you, letting someone down is worse than hurting someone?"

"Letting down the family is worse than hurting a stranger. Yes. Even if the family doesn't feel that way. Loyalty always has been my greatest weakness."

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