“Civilization needs people who can protect it, and then go back to being part of it. Otherwise, it stops being civilization.”
These words, from yesterday’s Schlock Mercenary strip, are among the last words, indeed the posthumous words, of a psychopathic killer. This individual was taken and trained to do whatever it took to get the job done. “Monster” is the term. But the people who helped create this monster overlooked a fundamental flaw in their approach: when they create a killer that does not care about humanity, humanity suffers for it.
Best-case scenario: humanity’s “protector” gains lethality, but loses that compassion which keeps them grounded within the human race. They lose that little voice that tells them to get back up when they’ve been knocked down, that drive which pushes them forward when they should already be dead. They lose the ability to value themselves and other “assets” and everyone who is “collateral damage.” Their capability as a “protector” is diminished, because they sacrifice the individual without a second thought. The same sort of thinking which made them a monster in the first place.
Worst-case scenario: they bite the hand that beats them. They turn on their masters and cause extensive damage to the infrastructure that makes up humanity’s precious defense. And why shouldn’t they? They’re not a part of civilization anymore.
Either way, it’s a gaping weakness just waiting to be exploited.
Fortunately, in the comic, this killer was able to find a shred of compassion, albeit a fragile peace, resting delicately within an unstable mind. When they chose to lay down their life in the defense of their civilization, it meant something. They never joined civilization again, but they became self-aware just in time to do truly protect it, and from a group of monsters who had turned against said civilization.
Do the ends justify the means? Arguable. But should not the means uphold the dignity of the ends?
Finally, I just want to give a shout out to everyone who defends us, everyone who fights for our protection. They may become scarred, on many levels, but when they are ready, home will be here, ready and waiting, to heal them.