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Harry’s personality has a fatal flaw. He is a murder victim looking for a place to lie down and die. He isn’t alone.
Actually, it is a peculiar form of cowardice, although certainly not usual sort. Harry is a very religious man, and I am fairly sure that death is not what frightens him. Harry is utterly terrified to look deep into his soul and see beast looking back out at him. He fears his own inability to control himself once that beast is out in open. So he holds himself to total and absolute non-violence, regardless of level of threat brought against him, and he has convinced himself that this is somehow virtuous.
Harry has been very lucky in his eighty years of life. He has never been attacked, or watched someone else be attacked, and tasted helplessness that would be natural result of refusing to prepare himself for such an eventuality. So he has never experienced self-loathing that would result from his inaction. Harry doesn’t have too many more years left to him, and I honestly hope he is never forced to learn that lesson.
Harry calls himself a pacifist, but he is very wrong. He is a victim. Sad and pathetic.
On other side of coin, my partner and closest friend in whole world is a pacifist, as I am. He is definitely male, but resemblance to Harry stops right there. John is possibly most dangerous man I’ve ever known.
Contradiction? Not at all.
John believes, as I do, that to initiate force against another human being – or government – is wrong. I’ve known him for years now, and I have seen him under enormous stress and enormous provocation, and I can state with absolute moral certainty that nothing – nothing at all – can make him cross that line.
So he is a definitely a pacifist. Say anything you want to him. He will not escalate conflict. Tell him that his mother is a scum-sucking whore, and he will grin and ask you where you met her. Bring him a real grievance, and he will try to resolve it so that everyone goes away happy. If it cannot be resolved immediately, he will try to walk away from you so that all parties can calm down. If you will not let him walk away, and you insist on fighting, he will break some portion of your anatomy in very short order (not any particular skill – just age and treachery).
If you are stupid enough to attack John with any kind of lethal force – especially by reaching for his gun – I absolutely guarantee that you will die before your eye even registers that he has reached for his holster. Attack me, and it will happen even faster (although I would certainly try to beat him to it – but he’s fast!).
John is a pacifist, not a victim. And he cares about me, so he will not allow me to be a victim.
It is not immoral to resolve a physical conflict efficiently. It is only immoral to start one. A pacifist is committed to never, ever starting a physical conflict.
You see? No contradiction in terms.
John is a pacifist. And John is a man.
At a tiny 5'1", Kathryn A. Graham is a licensed private investigator, pilot, aircraft mechanic and handgun instructor in Texas. Also a prolific author, she has written numerous articles, short stories and a science fiction novel. http://www.kathrynagraham.com/