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Determination; a good-morning one-shot
Topic Started: Aug 13 2016, 04:36 PM (208 Views)
dmboogie
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A Delicate Machine
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This isn’t fair. This isn’t right.

((Harold Porter needs justice in his life right about now.))

Certainty is incompatible with morality. Without self-doubt and introspection, you can never claim to be a good person, not really. Well, Harold would still never trust anyone who freely called themselves a good person, himself included, but you get the point.

Dogma leads to lynch mobs and witch burnings. When you see the world through the lens of an old-school television, you divide yourself and the world into easy categories. Good and evil, right and wrong, us versus them. It makes a horrible sense, really. Making broad, sweeping statements is easy. Once you’ve painted someone as an irredeemable villain, regardless of what crimes they’ve actually committed, you’re done. You can stop thinking. You don’t have to try and understand them, or even consider the fact that it might not be too late, that they could be helped before they end up completely destroying their own lives, maybe dragging others down with them while you cluck your tongue and say they had obviously always been a ticking time bomb. Throw away the key, squeeze your trigger, the gallows are full tonight, yessir.

Of course, there are still unarguable moral truths and lines that must never be crossed. When you’re talking about basic human rights, you can’t compromise, can never give an inch, you stab your banner into the sand and stand your ground and try to weather the blows but your blood ends up staining the hill you have chosen to die on that day. All metaphorically, of course, because you’re seventeen goddamn years old living in a safe town with a stable family, and though you do your best with your voice on the platforms you can find, you’ve never had to actually fight, not really.

He’s always believed that, as long as no one’s getting hurt, no one deserves to live in fear because of who they are. No one deserves to be hated because of who they love. No one deserves to die, not really. Humanity doesn’t live in an ideal world and sometimes we have to compromise for the sake of others, and using your ideals as an excuse to pat yourself on the back for doing nothing while innocent people suffer is also unforgivable. Still doesn’t make killing in the name of protection any less regrettable. You don’t get to justify your actions just because you think you picked the best way out of a bunch of bad options.

Harold wanted to be a good person, and he had planned to continue wanting that for the rest of his life. Doing the right thing is something you have to continually strive for, not a comfortable rut to settle in, and shouting “I’m a good person!” to the heavens is the equivalent of throwing your hands in the air and saying you’re done, that’s it, I don’t need to change anymore. Binding yourself to a single set of ideals for your whole life isn’t admirable, it’s stupid. If you use your own personal moral code to justify trampling over the feelings and rights of others, you’re just a coward who doesn’t want to take responsibility for your actions, plain and simple. The same goes for laws - blindly obeying the law because it’s “the law” isn’t right. The law doesn’t mean anything without the humans it’s supposed to be serving. Laws exist, in theory, because a bunch of people got together and agreed that following those rules would ultimately serve humanity (or, realistically speaking, themselves). When that’s no longer true, you need to take a good, hard look and make some changes.

What does this all amount to, in the end?

For the first time in his life, Harold was up against unambiguous, capital-e Evil. There was no gray area, no room for debate, nothing to gain from hesitation. He was scared, sure, who wouldn’t be? What really consumed him, though, was anger. Righteous anger.

He was in the custody of a group of merciless mass-murderers, the most wanted criminals on the planet, and there was nothing he could do about it. He’d seen his teacher be executed, just feet away. There was no obvious way to fight. Now that he’d finally found a problem that could be made better just by punching the right people in the face enough times, he had no idea where to even start fighting back. The collar around his neck was proof enough of that. One misstep, and boom, Evil wins. They wouldn’t even have to get out of their chair.

What did Harold have, then? What could he do?

Well, he had his body. Evil couldn’t take that away from him, and it was a better weapon than the joke they had deigned to give him. He had his mind and his voice, for all the good they’d do. He wasn’t stupid, no, but Harold knew his limits. He wasn’t the genius who’d unlock the trick to getting off the island in one piece, wasn’t the charismatic leader who could rally people under a banner of rebellion. What use was he, then?

Harold guessed he’d have to find the answer to that one out himself. If all he had was two fists and a desire to do “the right thing”, that’s where he’d have to start. Maybe he’d stumble on a real hero along the way. Maybe he’d find someone who’d already decided to play by Evil’s rules and had decided to terrorize others. Maybe he could protect the first, persuade the second. In either case, he couldn’t just sit idle. He slung his bag over his shoulder and headed out.

All it takes for Evil to prevail in this world is for enough good men to do nothing. Much as he hated to call himself “good”, Harold supposed there were worse sayings to live by. It’d do for now.

((Harold Porter takes his first steps towards the future.))
a tribute for the dead and dying

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