But this time was a little different. I don't recall how the conversation started, but I remember vividly where it ended up. You see, he was an immigrant from Ireland, and he had just done a seven year stint for murdering his sister's rapist.
Yup. Situation normal for me.
If you are somehow shocked or surprised, don't worry, I wasn't. My attitude was to shrug. I'm relatively certain I would be interested in doing the same if I had been in his circumstances. My Irish compatriot elaborated, stating that he had felt nothing while he offed the son of a bitch in question, and casually mentioned that he cared about who he cared about, and wouldn't have felt much of anything if he had killed any other random person in the area -- though he was careful to point out other people to use as his example. He wasn't trying to intimidate me, merely trying to illustrate a point.
What I didn't know then, but know now, is that sociopaths come in several varying flavors. Though how much of that is "sociopath" and how much is "I scared the shrink" is a topic for another day. In America, the American Psychological Association has decided to make psychopathy and sociopathy lumped into "anti-Social personality disorder."
My general attitude is to say "Oh, screw off."
Should a someone in the military feel even a speck of guilt over having killed someone trying to kill them? They might, but are they obligated to? Nope. Sorry, but when people are shooting at you, shooting right back at them is the only reasonable course of action.
But if they don't feel guilty about it, congratulations, they get the label of sociopath. And, of course, baby killers, and monsters, and murderers and ...
Yeah, they should just shut the hell up. I call BS on the whole concept of a soldier being automatically "a killer," with all the negative connotations that usually comes with.
Heck, should the team that killed Osama bin Laden feel remorse? I can't imagine why they should. He had it coming, and would you just like to imagine the scenario that would come after Osama had handcuffs slapped on him?
Once upon a time, an article on Strong Female Characters insisted that James Bond was an interesting character because he was a psychopath. Except he's not really that interesting in the books, he's mostly just a thug. But the films have hot women, cool toys, cute banter, and mindless mayhem.
Part of my problem with Daniel Craig is that he's the perfect Bond, really faithful to the novels -- he's all thug, and all the charm of an ice block.
Sorry, but I suspect that most "sociopaths," for lack of a better term, are more interesting than that.
Now, obviously, in my novels, I have a few different flavors of sociopath. I have one who is the angry, violent, "I enjoy killing people" variety. Sean AP Ryan is mostly the "if someone tries to kill me, I'm going to kill them, step over their corpse, and take a nap" kind. And there's Matthew Kovach, who likes the thrill of killing someone before they kill him -- it makes for a nice adrenaline high.
But guess what? Not all people who kill and lack guilt are not serial killers. To pretend otherwise is slanderous.
And if not feeling guilty about that is crazy, I'd rather not be sane.