” You are looking down the sights at another human being hell-bent on ending your life. Do you have “the warrior’s heart” to pull the trigger? Could you live with yourself knowing you’d ended another person’s life? “
I have heard different military men say that one doesn’t know if a particular person has what it takes to pull the trigger, and that only facing the actual experience will show the answer. A lot of people talk big but can’t do it for real, while others can. I’ve also heard that many soldiers in a firefight freeze and can’t shoot, or deliberately aim to miss and hope someone else will get the target. I don’t know f these things are true, but I’ve heard them.
I suspect that whether one can pull that trigger also depends on the nature of the situation, whether it’s kill or be killed and no real choice, or if it’s more indefinite and the right choice uncertain. Also whether there’s time to think and contemplate or if it’s immediate with not time to think. I can imagine some people being able to shoot in some situations but not in others.
As for living with one’s self, I suppose to some extent it would depend on how well one can compartmentalize one’s thinking; it’s possible to hold certain values in ordinary life but shunt that out to one side when there is an emergency and then do what one considers to be necessary. Some people feel no more about killing people than if they’d drunk a glass of water; ie, a life is worthless to them and they feel no guilt at all.
My thought on guilt is that it is a red flag produced by the soul [the deeper working of the mind] that something is wrong. Many people try to justify many things they have done in life but the guilt doesn’t go away but keeps carving out an empty, hollow space over time. That says to me that one is trying to talk oneself into believing something one knows isn’t true because the truth is painful and unendurable, or isn’t enough to answer all the feelings.
I’ve found that facing guilt and accepting it is better than trying to justify it; I admit that I was wrong, even if I can justify my actions, because I know a part of me isn’t buying the justification that I’m telling myself. Also, to continue to stifle the voice of conscience is to ultimately kill a part of oneself; one can burn out and destroy the conscience from working as it should. My action may have been the right one sometimes, but I still feel guilt. I try to accept how I feel and not try and tell myself I shouldn’t feel guilty. sometimes necessity provokes us into feeling we must take an action that violates our own standard. We may do it, but still feel guilty for it. Our guilt is telling us things are not okay,and action must be taken to reconcile that guilt with forgiveness.
Bugs Bunny: "I speak softly, but I carry a big stick."
Yosemite Sam: "Oh yeah? Well I speak LOUD! and I carry a BIGGER stick! and I use it, too!" BAM!