Reader WKRO sent me this op ed from the Charlotte Observer by pastor Kate Murphy and I have been trying to digest it without having seizure.
Several weeks ago, in an attempt to be a good spouse, I watched the new Jack Reacher series now streaming on Amazon Prime. Like the movie starring Tom Cruise, the show is based on the wildly popular books by British author Jim Grant, who writes under the pen name Lee Child. The protagonist is an American man named Jack Reacher — he is strong and silent, skilled and smart. He’s handsome, brilliant and loves literature. He’s haunted by the violence he’s seen and the people he’s failed to save. He’s also funny and sensitive and gentle, when he’s not being heroically brutal. The series is incredibly well made, the acting is exceptional, the story is compelling, the violence is horrifying, the end seductively satisfying. I do not recommend it.
I hate how much I liked it.
Seems to me she enjoyed a bit too much and upon reflection, she felt guilty about it because…? Let’s keep reading.
Jack Reacher is the quintessential American hero. You can trust him. He selflessly risks his life to kill dangerous unredeemable people. A decorated former Marine, he is highly skilled and precisely targets his violence.
Wait one minute. Reacher is a retired US Army MP Major. Why do I get the feeling the Lady pastor was more concentrated in the musculature of the actor than the story or the plot?
He only hurts people who deserve it. He is a critical thinker with absolute control over his emotions, he is able to act without malice or bias. He is a white man with a Black best friend. He is humble and detached. He has no agenda other than to do what is right.
And you hate that? I do not track.
He is the archetype of a “good guy with a gun.” He is the myth of redemptive violence.
Sweet Jesus! Now I am having to decide if she even saw the show. I saw it and there is a lot of eye candy for the ladies, but I also remember about half the violence that Reacher dispenses is without the use of a gun at all.
A myth is any story that explains a cultural phenomenon. The myth of redemptive violence is deeply embedded in Western culture and more American than apple pie. The myth of redemptive violence says that only violence can protect us from violence, so it is necessary that righteous and highly skilled people be permitted to discriminately use violence to protect the vulnerable. All violence is bad — except for the violence that stops violence — that violence is redemptive. That kind of violence is a happy ending.
OK, I had to look up the meaning of redemptive violence and I found this:
The story that the rulers of domination societies told each other and their subordinates is what we today might call the Myth of Redemptive Violence. It enshrines the belief that violence saves, that war brings peace, that might makes right.
So what is the problem with the statement above? Several issues actually. First the phrase the “rulers of domination societies” insinuates only those ugly dictatorial or quasi-dictatorial regimes inflict violence for their purposes (which obviously exonerates what they consider non-domination societies from any culpability when they use violence.) Next is Violence does indeed save lives, but for them they only see violence as a tool to support evil, not fight it. This is very common in people that have not truly been victims of violence and paid the price for not being able to return it.
War is violence write very large. We can wage war against an innocent country or wage war against the attacker us doing some ethnic cleansing in a territory it wishes to occupy or simply does not like the people there. That this op-ed came out just a couple of days before Memorial Day when we commemorate those who fell in the name of our Country and the Freedom it stands for by accusing them the Peace they bought with their lives was wrong is simply a demonstration of purposeful ignorance.
And then, of course, she twists the conversation into Gun Control and loses the argument.
If you believe in the myth of redemptive violence, the answer is always more guns — because only violence is powerful enough to stop violence. The world is so dangerous and evil that only someone like Jack Reacher can save us, so we can’t take his weapons away from him. The myth of redemptive violence says our only hope is more good guys with guns, more Jack Reachers.
After all the high-moral spiel, she only confines those evil sentiments to “gun violence.” Again, Reacher keeps beating the living hell out and killing people in the show with his hands and other weapons and that is OK, but the moment he uses a gun, the morality of killing and use of violence flips into the negative field. Of course, the dead do not know the difference.
To summarize Pastor Murphy’s position, if you strangle a kid, bash somebody over the head with a hammer, stab your significant other or poison a family is not even closely as bad as if you put a slug in somebody’s leg for trying to kill you. That is some seriously sick way to see Evil.
But that is Pacifism and Pacifist for you: Talk a good game and do shit to stop Evil.