GENERAL DISCUSSIONS

Mal and his people are just low-life thieves...

POSTED BY: CHRISISALL
UPDATED: Tuesday, January 24, 2006 04:32
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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 2:04 PM

AGENTROUKA


I guess our definitions of "hero" and "heroic" and very different from each other. :)

To me, reversing a wrong you did is something you do have to do. Otherwise, you're bad.


And I'm not saying Mal cannot be a hero, period. I am just saying that his pirate life on the rim doesn't deserve that distinction.

Mal is a hero in the way that he himself describes in Jaynestown. "Every man ever got a statue made of him, was one kind of sumbitch oranother."

Mal is a hero in that he has done a heroic thing or five. But his regular life is not a heroic one by any stretch of the imagination. Not even a particularly moral one.

I am saying this mostly because I've seen it implied a lot in this thread and I personally disagree, that's all.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 2:11 PM

1978


Mal and his people are great people and I would like to know them in real life. Forming groups like that and having a "Family" that looks out and takes care of its own is a rear thing indeed. Serenity's crew is just that ....... We know some about them have a past and a family but I think that situation calls for them to be separated and away from their families.

Joss has talked a lot about "The Frontier" and how "Firefly/Serenity" is supposed to work off the idea of "The Frontier". It makes sense that they have different kinds of morals and sense of family. The West, The Frontier whatever had people who made their living many different ways but I think that "the Alliance" has made it hard for anyone on "The Frontier". Firefly has delt with issue of the outer planets getting the right medicines and other things that they need to survive. So, maybe people need to be a little tougher and rougher on the outer areas.


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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 2:30 PM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by dc4bs:

Sorry. I can't cotton to the notion the guy surrendering was innocent.

He was an active participant in the unprovoked slaughter of an entire settlement.

Look back to the war trials after WWII, etc... It's up to a soldier to refuse "bad" orders. The soldier is held responsible for his own actions.



And how much did he seriously know about the people they were attacking? Are all soldiers always briefed about every detail of what they are told to do?

What if they were told "these are terrorists working on weapons of mass destruction"? Preventative measures such as those aren't exactly an unheard of thing, even if they are morally and legally ambiguious.

I find it odd that this soldier crawling out of the aircraft with his hands raised in surrender would deserve to die more than the man who ordered the slaughter that Mal ended up letting go. If there was nothing morally wrong with shooting that soldier then Mal should at least have had the consistency to kill the Operative, too.

Besides, it was only an example. I'm not about to found the "Justice for Unnamed Alliance Soldier" league.


Quote:


How bout this:
You are walking down the street with your wife/sister/brother/best friend etc...
A stranger walks up and shoots them dead in front of you and then tosses you their gun and raises their arms...
You honestly would go find a cop and politely ask for this person to be arrested? You hoestly have any doubt of this persons guilt? You are the only witness. It will be their word against yours. By the way, he happens to work as a security guard for said court and you happen to have a record of previous arrests for various crimes.



Why is it so hard to make a distinction between "What is humanly understandable" and "what is right"?

I could easily snap and shoot the man in revenge. (More realistically I'd be hysterially crying and trying to revive my husband/sister/best friend, really.)

That doesn't mean it is the right thing to do. It's just a basic human response.

I grant that an Alliance court is most likely corrupt. It's still murder to kill a man who surrenders.
That's why doing the right thing is generally so very hard, because the universe doesn't always reward it with satisfaction or justice.

These things exist parallel next to each other. In the same way, Mal is both a petty crook with loose morals and a hero. One doesn't exclude the other.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 3:26 PM

PRINCESSROHANNEN


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:

Why is it so hard to make a distinction between "What is humanly understandable" and "what is right"?

I could easily snap and shoot the man in revenge. (More realistically I'd be hysterially crying and trying to revive my husband/sister/best friend, really.)

That doesn't mean it is the right thing to do. It's just a basic human response.

I grant that an Alliance court is most likely corrupt. It's still murder to kill a man who surrenders.
That's why doing the right thing is generally so very hard, because the universe doesn't always reward it with satisfaction or justice.

These things exist parallel next to each other. In the same way, Mal is both a petty crook with loose morals and a hero. One doesn't exclude the other.



Nicely put, once again. Look, I'm not trying to condemn Mal's actions here. Were I in his place, I hope that I would have the strength of will to do exactly as he did.

That doesn't make his choices morally right by any stretch of the imagination, though. He was reacting to his understandably strained emotions, not thinking about right and wrong.

The fact that he doesn't always make the most moral choices is part of the reason I love the character so much, part of the reason I keep watching. I never can predict what that guy is going to do next. If I knew he was always going to do the right thing, all of that dramatic tension would disappear.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 3:30 PM

PRINCESSROHANNEN


Quote:

Originally posted by itsbroken:
you seem very narrow minded PR.
-----



Back off there, buddy. I didn't call you any names.

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 3:54 PM

SPACEMANSPIFF


This thread is very interesting; neat to see where people draw the lines of things like this.

I'll just throw this out. The Alliance is just like (almost?) all large, empiralistic governments; it relies on a (at least partially) put down group of people to prop up a smaller group of people. You can include the U.S. in this group, though our working class has it better than a lot of other put-down groups. All Mal wants is to be able to live his life. If the put-down group in the 'Verse were to all think like Mal, the Alliance would crumble. Can't have that.

In all, I think there are a lot of aspects to this argument for the Firefly 'Verse, just like in the real world. Very few answers are good for everyone, especially for Mal and the crew. So, do what you have to, the best you can.

Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:09 PM

TEETHGRINDER


That's exactly why I'm so fascinated by his character. He's a walking contradiction... An enigma. Book once asked Inara the same question and her answer sums it all up for me... Human error.
I love my Captain!!!!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:33 PM

ROCKETJOCK


Okay, here's how I see it:

1: In response to the person who suggested that Mal would be more heroic if he worked within the system: First, that logic only obtains if there is a real fighting chance of such change happening--and we don't know enough about the Alliance to judge if this is reasonable, or even possible-- but Mal is under no moral obligation to attempt it! Mal did not choose to be a citizen of the Alliance. His status as such is a condition imposed on him by virtue of being on the losing side in a war of conquest! The Alliance is lucky that Mal and his fellows didn't choose to go all Maquis on their ass.

2. The killing of the Alliance pilot on Haven was fully justified. That pilot had just murdered an entire settlement of Alliance citizens in peacetime! Yes, it could be argued that he was just following orders. The first time that defense was tested was at Nuremberg; it didn't go well for the defendents. A subsequent attempt to use the same argument involved a small Vietnamese town call My Lai. You may have read about it.

That pilot had the choice to follow orders or not. He chose to obey an order that was, no doubt, illegal even under Alliance law.

And yes, Mal had no right under that law to act as judge, jury and executioner, but since the Parlament, through its Operative, obviously considers itself above the law, what other options did he have? Letting a mass murderer survive? Taking him prisoner, thereby imposing yet another danger on himself and his crew?

Finally, as to Mal "threatening" his crew by cocking his weapon: There can only be one Captain aboard a ship, especially a ship at war, which is what Serenity most certainly was by that point. Granted, they were all planetside at that moment. That was why Mal offered them the option of remaining dirtside. If they chose to lift ship with him, it would be under his command. You pay your money, you takes your choice.





"It is often better for a Commanding Officer to be wrong than for him to be indecisive." -- Robert A. Heinlein

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:47 PM

JOSSIZBOSS



Okay, I have a few points I'd like to make...

A number of years ago, an elderly person I was very close to (family member even) was raped. Now, I am not a violent person; however, if the rapist had been in front of me at the time I would of killed him in a heartbeat (if not done much worse to him prior to the killing). This would of course have been morally wrong. Does this make me a bad person? I certainly like to think it does not. People are capable of terrible acts.

Now, what Mal does was certainly reprehensible and immoral. Is he evil? Is he a bad person? I don't believe so. One thing I have thought about the various times during the tv series and also in the movie when Mal has killed people is that he only kills because of necessity. As Joss Whedon says, a hero doesn't kill people. Now these two ideas don't seem to be compatible, but I believe they are.

Lets think about some of the times we've seen him choose to kill or not kill someone - In the pilot, he kills the Fed without a second thought. Dobson represents a threat to his crew. Not only because he will turn them over to the Alliance if he ever gets away, but also because they need to get outta' Whitefall as quickly as possible because of the impending arrival of the reavers. However, Mal chooses not to kill Patience who he has every right to be really pissed at. After he has her pinned under her horse, she poses no threat to him or his crew.

When Mal kills the converted reaver in the episode Bushwacked, I don't believe anyone would have a hard time conceiving of this as not only necessary, but merciful.

Mal chooses not to kill Atherton Wing in Shindig even though the rules of society allow for this possibility.

Mal chooses not to kill Rance Burgess even though I'm sure he would dearly like to at the end of Heart of Gold (although he's not going to lose any sleep over Petaline killing him). He controls his anger and takes him back to the people of town for their judgment.

As for the movie:

Mal is not in the best place at the beginning of the movie. Him throwing the young man off of the mule was indicative of this. I believe that Book and Inara leaving the ship and the constant threat to the crew of capture by the Alliance because of the presence of the Tams on Serenity have really worn him thin. As he pushes the man from the mule, I think that he rationalized it in his mind, ie: 'the ship won't run with five' and also maybe the guy might make it back to the vault, who knows? I don't think he was trying to kill the guy. But then when the reavers got a hold of him, he of course killed him out of mercy.

Mal shoots the unarmed operative in Inara's chambers. Mal viewed the operative as an extreme threat to him and his crew.

Mal shooting the unarmed Alliance soldier is probably the closest thing to cold-blooded as he has ever come. Nonetheless, I think his killing of the soldier was also calculated and not completely out of rage. What was he going to do with the man? Take him with them? Drop him off on another planet so that the guy can tell everything about them to the Alliance? Or leave him on Haven, most likely to die there by himself? I think Mal wanted to kill this man, but I also think he saw it as somewhat of a necessity.

Mal chooses not to kill the operative in the end. First of all, he realizes that making the operative discover that everything he's believed in is wrong is probably worse than killing him. Also, he had disabled the operative and therefore, he no longer posed a threat - not to himself or his crew this time (I'm pretty sure he believed they all were toast anyhow) - but a threat to the completion of the mission.

Okay! Long-winded, I know Anyhow, I don't believe that Mal is a hero in the tv series. However, he becomes a hero by his choice to do the right thing at all costs in the movie. The fact that Mal is even willing to risk his crew is even more telling than him risking his own life. He strongly believes that the rest of the 'verse needs to know what has happened.

And as far as him just being a thief or a thug, I say that we are judging him by the context of our respective societies. I like to think that if I was living in the sort of totalitarian world that Mal is, I would also being doing a lot of things that would normally be considered illegal or morally questionable. But I live in a fairly just world with mostly reasonable laws. So I therefore live fairly morally and mostly follow the laws However, if a law is unreasonable, it is right (or at least not necessarily wrong)to disobey it and if a society is unjust, it is right to fight against it.

Just my 2,000 cents or so...

JIB

Sorry about the long post - got kind of carried away. But you guys hit on a topic I've given a lot of thought!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 4:51 PM

PRINCESSROHANNEN


Quote:

Originally posted by RocketJock:
2. The killing of the Alliance pilot on Haven was fully justified. That pilot had just murdered an entire settlement of Alliance citizens in peacetime!



So I guess the question is: Is there a distinction between what's justifiable and what's right? Vengeance in this case is certainly justice, but couldn't it be argued that showing mercy to this murderer would be a more morally sound choice?

Again, not saying that I would show mercy; I would have actually been more gratified if Mal had walked on over to that man, ripped him out of his ship, beaten him senseless, and strangled him with his bare hands. Watching that scene, I would have cheered him on.

But, if Mal had left him alive... It's concievable that the soldier might have come to see that Mal was on the right side. Maybe he would even have gone back to the Alliance under cover and worked to help bring it crashing down! Hard to imagine, but we'll never know if it would have been possible, will we?

If such an outcome could have been, wouldn't it have been a more suitable way of avenging Book? Isn't the merciful course the one that Book himself would have wanted Mal to take?

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:17 PM

DC4BS


Hehe... A thought.

You know, I'm sure if Joss gets around to stumbling across this thread he's gonna have a smile spread from ear to ear.

His characters being discussed in such depth. It's prety telling about the quality of the work that so many people have so much to bring to the table in such a discussion. And from so many different viewpoints as well.

Different people can look at the same art and may perceive very different things. Different people look at crap and prety much will all see the same crap.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

------------------------------------------
dc4bs

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:27 PM

PRINCESSROHANNEN


I know I'm diggin' it. Man I love this show!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 5:36 PM

ROCKETJOCK


Quote:

Originally posted by PrincessRohannen:

So I guess the question is: Is there a distinction between what's justifiable and what's right? Vengeance in this case is certainly justice, but couldn't it be argued that showing mercy to this murderer would be a more morally sound choice?



Re-reading my own post, I see I forgot to specify something. Specifically, Mal did not kill that pilot out of vengeance. If vengeance were his goal, he would have killed the Operative after their climactic fight. Which would have gotten him and his killed very, very dead.

But don't think he let the Operative live as an act of mercy. He'd gotten the man's measure by then. Forcing him to face the truth of what he'd spent his life serving was the worst punishment he could have given him.

But not vengeance. Justice.



"Vengeance is counterproductive. Not to mention the fact that it gets your soul all sticky." -- Lady Sally Magee

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 6:25 PM

JETFLAIR


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
I've heard from some right on this board that Mal is someone you wouldn't want to know in real life, that he's cold and hard, and that no matter how entertaining Serenity/Firefly is, we're basically rooting for crooks.

I don't hold with that.
I think they're Big Damn Heroes, as much as their existence allows them to be.
Like the best in us sometimes has to be.

Chrisisall, pattin' us Browncoats on the back a little



I don't hold with that either. In the world they inhabit, Mal and crew are not the bad guys. And while there were a couple of things that Mal did in the BDM that I didn't like, that were cold and hard, for the most part I totally disagree that he's someone you wouldn't want to know in real life.

I would be more than honored to know Mal in real life. If y'all want to point me to someone who is more loyal and resilient and caring in the face of all that he's been through, go ahead. I know people in the real world who are far more cold and hard, and they justify it on the basis of the fact that they have been through some tough times, but nothing even close to Mal.

Show me anyone else, fictional or real, who can lose his war, his home, his family, his planet, and be shot, stabbed, betrayed, and tortured and come through it all with a kinder and more loyal heart than Mal.

Maybe by today's standards of society, they're "badguys." But in the world they inhabit, they are a pretty darn shiny crew, and I'm not the least bit ashamed of rooting for them.

As far as the "is Mal heroic" debate goes, of course he is. He's a normal human, he's not flying around looking for ways to save the world. But tell me sheltering Simon and River when they can bring down on him what he fears teh most isn't heroic. Returning the medicine, risking arrest and knowing he will piss off a very dangerous man is heroic. Helping the prostitutes make their stand was heroic. Helping Wash survive torture while he himself was going through the exact same thing was heroic. Staying on his crippled ship and sending his crew off to their best chance of survival was heroic. Defending Inara's honor was heroic.
_________________________________________________



"Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you when she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home." .......We love you, captain.

"This is the captain. We may experience some slight turbulence and then.....explode"

www.serenityverse.com - Zoe necklace replicas, Serenity dogtags, jewelry, image gallery w/ custom DVD covers, other goodies!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 6:31 PM

JETFLAIR


Quote:



Shooting someone who surrenders: In my book that is always wrong. Always.

Threatening the crew, can be argued, was likely not quite genuine and more of a way to harden both himself and them to the situation.

Shooting that Alliance guy? Wrong. Callous, selfish, immoral, testament of how far OVER the line this savagery pushed Mal.

My personal opinion, anyway.




I also have to agree.....I see how people justify it, but I will never be okay with Mal shooting a surrendering soldier, or threatening to shoot down his crew. Lines were crossed there that just don't sit right with me:(

___________________________________________________

"Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you when she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home." .......We love you, captain.

"This is the captain. We may experience some slight turbulence and then.....explode"

www.serenityverse.com - Zoe necklace replicas, Serenity dogtags, jewelry, image gallery w/ custom DVD covers, other goodies!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 6:42 PM

VIOLETRIX


Quote:

I've heard from some right on this board that Mal is someone you wouldn't want to know in real life, that he's cold and hard...



oh, i don't hold to that either. mal is hardly cold, he's broken. i hardly see the Alliance as "good" so i can't really even call the crew "crooks" in good conscience.
and if i knew someone like mal, i'd probably follow him into the black too.

http://violetrix.blogspot.com
soon there'll be no room for naughty men like us to slip about at all

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 8:58 PM

JETFLAIR


Quote:

Originally posted by violetrix:
Quote:

I've heard from some right on this board that Mal is someone you wouldn't want to know in real life, that he's cold and hard...



oh, i don't hold to that either. mal is hardly cold, he's broken. i hardly see the Alliance as "good" so i can't really even call the crew "crooks" in good conscience.
and if i knew someone like mal, i'd probably follow him into the black too.




Where do I sign up:) I would follow him anywhere.

Though I would argue that Mal isn't broken. Deeply hurt, yes. But not broken:)

________________________________________________

"Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you when she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home." .......We love you, captain.

"This is the captain. We may experience some slight turbulence and then.....explode"

www.serenityverse.com - Zoe necklace replicas, Serenity dogtags, jewelry, image gallery w/ custom DVD covers, other goodies!

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Wednesday, January 18, 2006 9:20 PM

REAVERINA1985RIVIERA


Quote:

Originally posted by Bowie:
Hero's are not always fancy knights on chargers, set to make all ends good.



In fact everyone I've seen with a Dodge Charger has been a bad guy: Vin Diesl(the fast and the furious), Peter Fonda (Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry), and the assasins in Bullit.

Oh, you meant horses. Sorry, when I hear charger, Dodge just pops into my (gear)head.

---------------------------------------------
The real-life box droppin', man-ape gone wrong thing, now without the pesky falling boxes

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 12:36 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by RocketJock:
Okay, here's how I see it:

1: In response to the person who suggested that Mal would be more heroic if he worked within the system: First, that logic only obtains if there is a real fighting chance of such change happening--and we don't know enough about the Alliance to judge if this is reasonable, or even possible-- but Mal is under no moral obligation to attempt it!



Nor did I say he was.

All I am saying is that living a pirate life on the fringe is not a heroic thing.

Working within the system to try and change it would be a heroic thing. The more difficult, the more unlikely the chance of success, the more heroic, actually. That's where the whole selflessness and sacrifice deal comes in.

Nowhere am I saying that Mal is obligated to do so. Or that it's the only heroic thing he could possibly do. Or that choosing not to do so is morally wrong.

Being a hero is something extraordinary that has nothing to do with just getting by or refraining from crossing certain lines.

I don't understand what is supposed to be so insulting about the statement that Mal's ordinary smuggler-thief-scavenger life is not heroic, per se.


Quote:


2. The killing of the Alliance pilot on Haven was fully justified. That pilot had just murdered an entire settlement of Alliance citizens in peacetime! Yes, it could be argued that he was just following orders. The first time that defense was tested was at Nuremberg; it didn't go well for the defendents. A subsequent attempt to use the same argument involved a small Vietnamese town call My Lai. You may have read about it.



Oh come on. At least read what I really said before bringing on the emotionally charged Nazi references.

The pilotS (more than one in that craft, most like) were with all probability not told "Go kill these innocent citizens! Unless you don't want to, then go have coffee and a bagel."

Alliance soldiers are humans, too, and the most probable way of making them cooperate is to lie to them or give them the most motivating tidbits of information.

It's not inconceivable that they were told that the people on Haven were a terrorist cell. Operations to preventatively murder terrorists in their own dens, without a declaration of war, that's something happening in this world right now, too. Ordered by more or less respectable governments. (Is it right? Another question.)

To the soldiers/agents/whoever carrying out those attacks, they are doing a patriotic duty, based on the information they are given, to protect the greater good. The people they are attacking are identified to them as guilty and dangerous.

It's not all black and white, but shades of grey.


Quote:


And yes, Mal had no right under that law to act as judge, jury and executioner, but since the Parlament, through its Operative, obviously considers itself above the law, what other options did he have? Letting a mass murderer survive? Taking him prisoner, thereby imposing yet another danger on himself and his crew?



Why is it so hard to imagine that these were ignorant grunts? Did Haven have a big sign posted, saying "Innocent Civilians! You're superiors, who you have no reason to distrust based on your own previous experience, obviously lied to you!"

It's not like the Operative went out and said "Who wants to mass murder today, raise your hand!"

It's at least possible (and not so very unlikely) that they did not know they were attacking complete innocents, and that has to be considered. There is a reason Prisoners of war are NOT to be just randomly executed. They are pawns in a bigger game and the extend of their knowledge is probably not all-encompassing.


Killing that man was either hot-headed revenge or coldly calculated convenience. Justice, it was not.

Doing the right thing isn't measured by what others are doing wrong. It's not a relative thing. Relative is what motivates us to NOT do they right thing and how understandable those motivations are.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 1:33 AM

XIEAINING


To those of you who think Mal shooting an Alliance soldier who's throwing up his arms in surrender is just plain wrong, you really really really need to rewatch the series with particular attention to what the Alliance military says and does. You really really really need to get a grip on what the Alliance and Blue Sun are.

Listen to what the commanding officer says in Train Job. Critical medicine has been stolen. The officer says to mark it as delivered. Orders the attachment of soldiers on. Sends no help to the townsfolk to retrieve the meds. They're on their own.

Watch Safe again and realize that the Alliance officer would have refused medical assistance to Book, thus condemning him to death, had Book not had an ident card that the officer deemed worthy.

The Alliance is an unholy entity. Blue Sun is a corporation that owns just about every damn thing, and is, in most respects, the government. You're looking at a facist government/corporate monopoly that is only interested in its own survival and amassing more power and wealth.

Mal has lived his whole life suffering the indignities, horrors, and injustices of a brutal, oppressive regime. He fought for independence from it and was betrayed by his own commanders in the end, left to watch damn near everyone under his command die AFTER a cease fire, waiting for the med ships that didn't come until the Alliance and the Browncoats worked out a surrender.

Mal has no alligance, nor should he, to the Alliance code of justice. The Alliance code of justice is warped, slanted towards the "haves" and the "have-mores". It seeks to empower the rich and disenfranchise the poor. Why the hell do you think they were trying to rebell? Because they didn't want to pay their taxes? NO! Because the Alliance is evil and indifferent by turns to the beleaugered people on the outer rim planets and these folks had had about enough of being abandoned when they needed help, and being interefered with in the most high handed way imaginable when it suited the Alliance.

He tried to win his independence from the Alliance and lost. So he simply declared his own personal independence and tries to stay as far away from the Alliance as possible. Unfortunately, circumstances keep drawing him and the Alliance face to face.

You cannot judge Mal's actions by your own standards that were forged by living in a prosperous country governed by the rule of law, with democratically elected officals, states rights, and advocacy groups for the disenfranshised. You live in a paradise that Mal couldn't even concieve.

Honestly, seriously, rewatch the episodes and pay attention to what the Alliance is.

That being said, there's another layer.

Inara: I just want to know who I'm dealing with. I've seen too many versions of you to be sure.

Mal: I start fighting a war, I guarantee you'll see something new.


Mal is no longer a civilian when he lands on Haven and sees what the Operative has set in motion. He's now at war.

If on the beaches of Normandy in the heat of battle, a German solider stumbled out of a bunker with arms raised, after having spent the last three hours shredding the Allied soldiers to bits, do you honestly think any of the Allied soldiers would have stopped, accepted his surrender, and marched him off to a prisoner of war camp? Every last man on that beach would have picked him off--shot, stabbed, or stomped him to death. Because it's war. And unlike our "civilized" wars, in the future Mal lives in, there are no humane Rules of Engagement. Honest to Pete, the Allied solider was, to Mal, an enemy combatant. Maybe not by our rules, maybe not by your priviledged standards, but he was an enemy combatant to a man who's had to live with a regime that's heaped upon him and his nothing but sorrow and pain his whole life. To a man who's fought against this sort of hideous behavior in one war already and finds himself in another war with an Operative of the Alliance and the men at his command, it's a no brainer to shoot anything that moves on a battlefield, which is what Haven had become.

And anyone who's been paying attention to what and who the Alliance and their soldiers are, knows that at the first opportunity, that pilot would have turned on the crew and killed every last one of them if they'd accepted his surrender. Everyone on that rock knew it too.

Mal only kills for survival. The only times he ever killed in the series or movie was to ensure his own life, the lives of his crew, or of innocents that he'd pledged to protect. The circumstances under which he fights cannot be judged by our own society's standards. Look up the definition of "cultural relativitly".

(I'll be in my bunk)

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 2:03 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Bowie:
Its right to kill someone if they killed a whole town, yes. Not all revenge is justified, like it'd be bad to kill for the sake of being slighted at school, but for killing a whole town, including children and old folk, yes. They don't have a law system to do it for them, so they do what they have to do, cause someone has to.


GWB and Tony Blair are responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians. So when are we going to summarily put THEM to death. Killing is killing, there is only one justifiable reason, that of self defence, people putting their hands up in surrender and getting shot happens all the time in War, doesn't make it right.

Mal acted as Judge Jury and executioner, it was murder not justice.

For all we know that guy could have been the galley cook, and had nothing to do with the slaughter, he could have had no idea there were children and old folk down there, he could of believed they were a disguised terrorist cell. We don’t know and neither did Mal, at the end of the day it was revenge, and revenge isn’t a justification.

Quote:

The killing of the Alliance pilot on Haven was fully justified. That pilot had just murdered an entire settlement of Alliance citizens in peacetime! Yes, it could be argued that he was just following orders. The first time that defense was tested was at Nuremberg; it didn't go well for the defendents. A subsequent attempt to use the same argument involved a small Vietnamese town call My Lai. You may have read about it.

When are the American soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guatanamo etc going to face a court for their crimes, or is the American government largely protecting them from prosecution?
Quote:

And anyone who's been paying attention to what and who the Alliance and their soldiers are, knows that at the first opportunity, that pilot would have turned on the crew and killed every last one of them if they'd accepted his surrender. Everyone on that rock knew it too.

This is the Alliance that uses non leathal weapons in law enforcement and puts distress calls above aprehending criminals. The Alliance is not an evil empire, FireFly's 'verse is not black and white.
Quote:

Look up the definition of "cultural relativitly".

And killing a surrendering soldier fits that, how?



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Thursday, January 19, 2006 2:22 AM

XIEAINING


Did you even read the post above yours? Honest to Pete.

(I'll be in my bunk.)

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 3:06 AM

AGENTROUKA


You live in a very black and white world.



If the Alliance as a whole and Blue Sun are corrupt and unjust, that still doesn't make every Alliance soldier evil to the core.

Human beings = shades of grey.

Hell, if a company uses child labor in third world countries to produce cheap products, does that make their low-level cashier in the first world country a soulless greed-driven misanthrop, too??

The Alliance isn't the Borg. No one is assimilated. It's made up of individuals. People with parents, spouses and children, some are good and some are bad. I bet the bulk of them have no idea what their government has been cooking up. Hell, even Dr. Mathias had no access to the Miranda secret and his own project was already pretty damn evil.

If the military guy sent the troops on their way in "The Train Job", does that mean the troops deserve to be shot because they're all Alliance anyway?

A human live becomes worthless if the person happens to be working for the wrong guy?

Are you honestly saying every single Alliance soldier gets their jollies murdering innocent folk??




And yes, even those D-Day soldiers would have been wrong to kill surrendering German soldiers. War is war and the German soldiers were doing their job no less than the Allied ones. Fighting on the other side is not a war crime in itself.

That's what separates the bad guys from the good guys, doing the RIGHT thing, not the one that feels good. Otherwise, it's just a case of winning and loosing side. And we know how much THAT has to do with justice...

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 3:21 AM

PRINCESSROHANNEN


Quote:

Originally posted by XieAining:
To those of you who think Mal shooting an Alliance soldier who's throwing up his arms in surrender is just plain wrong, you really really really need to rewatch the series with particular attention to what the Alliance military says and does. You really really really need to get a grip on what the Alliance and Blue Sun are.



You really really really need to read the rest of the thread before you start posting.

I remember the key antagonist in the BDM admitting that what he does is "evil." I remember every episode vividly. I've watched each one of them a dozen times at least.

Right and wrong do not change relative to your situation. Justice is not the same thing as morality. Killing a man with his hands in the air in surrender is never the right thing to do, even if it is the just and smart thing to do.

And I'll say it again: I would have made the same choice Mal did given the same cirumstances. I love my captain. I don't think any less of him because of the things he did.

Doesn't make his actions right.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 3:24 AM

PHOEBE


Everything any human ever does is right. Legally wrong, undoubtedly in some cases. But if they think it's right, then it's right. For them. For us it's not. Hell, for some of us it IS right. Not one person has the *exact* same morals, not one of us would draw the EXACT same line and do the exact same thing in any situation. Therefore, we can't 'officially' define what's right or wrong. We just state our *own* morals. It ain't right to force other people to live by our morals. Laws, yes, morals, no.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 3:38 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by Phoebe:
It ain't right to force other people to live by our morals. Laws, yes, morals, no.



What are laws, though, if not that very attempt of enforcing generally aknowledged morals?


Ultimately, we have to default to our own definition of right and wrong, otherwise nothing would have a point.

I am not going to be rooting for a rapist and murderer, were he a tv character. Telling me that my morals are different from his wouldn't change that his actions are despicable to me.

I have no problem with judging certain actions as "wrong", whether the person in question thinks they are or not.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 4:38 AM

TOMSIMPSONAZ


The dude was trespassing, screw him.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 4:43 AM

PRINCESSROHANNEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Phoebe:
Everything any human ever does is right. Legally wrong, undoubtedly in some cases. But if they think it's right, then it's right. For them. For us it's not. Hell, for some of us it IS right. Not one person has the *exact* same morals, not one of us would draw the EXACT same line and do the exact same thing in any situation. Therefore, we can't 'officially' define what's right or wrong. We just state our *own* morals. It ain't right to force other people to live by our morals. Laws, yes, morals, no.



"It ain't right to force other people to live by our morals." Isn't that, in and of itself, an attempt to force a moral?

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 5:30 AM

AMITON


Wow, everybody sounds so mad...

I personally don't think what Mal did or does is wrong. That's the short version, and if that's all you want to know then that's far enough to read =p Otherwise, I'm going to jabber for a bit longer if that's okay with everyone...

In western society we have laws against stealing and killing. In judeo-christian practice, they are absolutes - thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not kill. The big man spoke, and that's the end of *that* part. However, law is a little shakier.

At least in the US, we have sympathy clauses (my term *shrug*). Sometimes there are such things as justifiable homicide or being in possession of something that isn't yours. Legally, even. I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I was taught these things as absolutes, and then I learn that they're kind of soft around the edges, and I've always been intrigued by that. Anyway...

Let look at Mal for a second. Yes, he takes things that don't belong to him. Even things that he *knows* belong to someone else. Is that wrong? Maybe...certainly under the laws of the Alliance, but I'll come back to that. Yes, he has killed people. Is that wrong? Again, maybe, and most certainly under the laws of the Alliance. I do honestly struggle with the concept, but at least for now I am not in the camp that says any killing of another human being is always wrong, and that's kind of important to this point.

Humor me for a bit while I wander... Mal and the Alliance. Mal is a citizen in an Alliance controlled 'verse entirely against his own will. From what I gather, the Alliance didn't exist when Mal was born...there was an attempt to create an Alliance to control everything ~10 years prior, and Mal and Zoe fought against that. They lost, and here we are. Being Browncoats, it would stand to reason that they were both from border planets (I don't know where Shadow is, to be totally honest). I kind of see a parallel between, say, being in a region conquered by Alexander the Great or the Roman Empire or something, right? Only, unlike Greece or Rome, they forced the societies to adapt their ways, and while some fit, our Good Captain didn't for reasons I presume we all can understand.

Mal adapted the only way that he could understand to try to live the life that he felt he had to, and up to there I think we all probably agree. The big bicker points seem to be stealing, killing, and this hero thing.

In an absoulte world, Mal steals, kills, and does whatever he has to do to get by. We've all seen it, and we've all heard him say it. Certainly legally wrong. All of the crew seem to have a loose but fully functional moral compass, however. They care who theey're stealing from (when they know). They try to take the bad situation and make it as positive as possible - helping guards responsible for protecting money to cover for themselves for example. And as far as killing, I think the only questionable time we've seen Mal kill someone was on Haven, yes?

Mal's defintely a man under pressure and on the ragged edge at that point. He's certainly angry enough to murder anyone associated with what had just happened. And the movie can definitely be interpreted in such a way that indicates that is exactly what happened, but I don't think it is.

Something definitely snapped in Mal, but I don't think that's what happened. I do think that this is the first such scenario where we've had to see Mal kill someone where Joss didn't take the time to explain exactly why Mal had to do what he did. In the circumstances, though, what else could he have done? Take him prisoner? That's gotten him in trouble before, and that would have been a *lot* more for him to worry about with what he was about to do. He didn't have a lot of time. He was on limited resources. What dangers would he have put that soldier in if he brought him along as a POW? No, I don't see that being plausible.

Could he leave him there? Well, he was in a big wrecked ship - it's safe to assume he had some fair injuries. Then what? The guy dies? Mal doesn't have the medical supplies or the time to spare. Could the ship signal the alliance? Maybe, and that would only bring more trouble to Mal and crew, if it hadn't already. Who was the guy? Again, Mal didn't know if he was a conscript or an operative at that point, and didn't have time to figure that out. He had a crew with 2 days worth of work to do and 2 hours to do it. At any rate, Mal is an *incredibly* deliberate person with an extremely sharp, pragmatic sense, and Joss Whedon doesn't leave very much at face value...I think Mal did exactly what he felt he had to do, and would likely call it a mercy. He just didn't have the time or inclination to explain that right then. However, if you see all killing or stealing as immoral and wrong, then none of that matters =)

On the hero note, I can't think of anyone who could be called a "hero" in terms of life. A hero, to me anyway, is a normal person doing an incredible (heroic, per se) thing. A mass murderer could be a hero for an instant. The most selfless, "heroic" person in the world could be a tyrant for a moment. I can't imagine someone being a "hero" all the time. I can see someone doing something that leaves an impression on someone and them considering them "a hero" (a la Jaynestown).

Erm...that got kind of long, and I hope it came across as coherent. I'll shut up now =)

Amiton.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 6:14 AM

QUEENOFTHENORTH


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:

For all we know that guy could have been the galley cook, and had nothing to do with the slaughter, he could have had no idea there were children and old folk down there, he could of believed they were a disguised terrorist cell. We don’t know and neither did Mal, at the end of the day it was revenge, and revenge isn’t a justification. [



Okay, I have a few problems with the "for we all we know he could have been the galley cook" theory. For one thing, that ship looked like the equivalent of a fighter jet to me, which means it's not likely someone's home when they're flying around space, and probably doesn't even have a galley on it. Also, I'm pretty sure your average galley cook wouldn't be wearing armor.

"Well, what are you gonna cook in today?"

"You know, I thought my purpebelly Alliance armor would be a good idea. I could get splattered with grease, you know."

Don't try to feed me that innocent grunt crap, cuz I'm not gonna buy it. That guy was a soldier. And as for the "they could have told him it's a terrorist cell" theory, I don't buy that either. Why wouldn't the guy say, "Can't we go down and arrest the terrorist leaders, bring them to justice before the courts? Do we really have to slaughter an entire settlement?" Do you honestly think that anybody could have believed that entire settlement was made up of completely evil terrorist people, and that there wasn't an innocent person or child among them? I'm not saying that what Mal did was necessarily right. But the Alliance soldier was most certainly not an innocent man.

Quote:

Originally posted by citizen: When are the American soldiers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Guatanamo etc going to face a court for their crimes, or is the American government largely protecting them from prosecution? [


Yes, the American government is protecting them from persecution. I don't think what the American government's doing to combat terrorism is right at all, and neither do a lot of other people. However, just like the Alliance, there's nobody around who can stop the Americans. They've got the power, and they're doing what they like with it.

Quote:

Originally posted by citizen: This is the Alliance that uses non leathal weapons in law enforcement and puts distress calls above aprehending criminals. The Alliance is not an evil empire, FireFly's 'verse is not black and white. [


The same Alliance who took an innocent girl, stripped her of her ability to handle her own emotions, and turned her into an insane living weapon? The same Alliance who said, screw the dying people of Paradiso, we've got better things to do? The same Alliance who used biological weapons to murder entire settlements during the war, then stole their valuables? The same Alliance who believed Mal guilty of killing an entire shipful of innocent people because he was a Browncoat, with no actual proof? The same Alliance who don't protect their citizens from Reavers, because they can't acknowledge the fact that they were the ones that made them? The same Alliance who employs people like the Blue Sun guys, who mercilessly slaughter their own Alliance soldiers just because they talked to River? The Alliance isn't a good empire, either, so don't try to convince anyone that it is.

And as for Agentrouka, everybody pretty much covered all the arguments I was going to make in reply to you. Damn people spoiled my fun.


"I'm having one of those things - a headache with pictures."

"Of course I'm right. And if I'm not, may we all be horribly crushed from above somehow."

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 6:32 AM

VINK


Hey everyone.

Just finished watchin firefly the series and cant wait to watch the movie. though a bit scared cos after that there's nothin new to watch.

I dont think its that easy to categorise the characters on the show as either heroes or villains. People's perceptions of good and evil may vary depending on the circumstances. I will say that on the whole, Mal and his crew do tend to try and do what's morally correct, even if they make a few mistakes on the way. Which is what keeps it interestin for us.

Anyways, thats my two pennies worth(mayb a bit more than two, soz)

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 6:38 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by queenofthenorth:
The Alliance isn't a good empire, either, so don't try to convince anyone that it is.



But who is trying to do that?

All that's said is that the Alliance is neither black nor white. It's grey.




Honestly, do people really think that every single person employed by the Alliance is a blackhearted eater of babies? That every person who happily lives in the Core grows up wanting to murder and oppress in the name of the Alliance? That every low-level Alliance soldier is fully aware of the things that the Alliance is capable of?

It's a sea of millions of people.

The Institution of the Alliance is corrupt, no doubt. But the idea that every single employee in its ranks is equally guilty and corrupt and evil, with nothing but oppression and conspiracy in mind? A little unlikely.


Quote:

The same Alliance who believed Mal guilty of killing an entire shipful of innocent people because he was a Browncoat, with no actual proof?


Mal was a suspect.

Police suspect innocent people all the time. That's not evil, that's called investigating crime.

Being a suspect is not the same as being sentenced guilty. (Or executed on sight, for that matter.)

Not everything every Alliance-employee has ever done is unjustified or mean-spirited.


Edited to insert the correct quote.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 6:52 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Orginally posted by XieAining:
Did you even read the post above yours? Honest to Pete.


Yes, I did, one wonders whether you did.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends -- if they're okay, then it's you.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 7:11 AM

THESOMNAMBULIST


To quote Shakespeare:

There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

or

I must be cruel to be kind, thus bad begins and worse remains behind.

If you take these on board all actions have a measure of good and bad too them. Many of Mals and the crews actions appear on the surface as bad, or villainous, but beyond that, he is fending for himself and his crew and for their immediate need for survival.

Personally it's a question of survival - that's key to many of there actions...and all species do just about anything to survive, when it comes to it. Good or bad.

If you want to argue about the morals of their actions, well then you have to establish which values we all share and adhere to, and which stand to be respected and which actions may (if at all) be ignored.

But these human frailties are what makes these characters interesting and the dilema they (us) are placed under is what constantly keeps us watching.

Given Mal's character he is more likely to discard a man's life (WOLF) more readily than he is to take sexual advantage of a woman (Saffron). Where that places him in the echelons of moral obligations I dunno. But it's a curious contradiction in the character that adds dimension.

The
Somnambulist

www.cirqus.com

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 7:11 AM

QUEENOFTHENORTH


Quote:

Originally posted by AgentRouka:
Quote:

Originally posted by queenofthenorth:
The Alliance isn't a good empire, either, so don't try to convince anyone that it is.



But who is trying to do that?

All that's said is that the Alliance is neither black nor white. It's grey.




Honestly, do people really think that every single person employed by the Alliance is a blackhearted eater of babies? That every person who happily lives in the Core grows up wanting to murder and oppress in the name of the Alliance? That every low-level Alliance soldier is fully aware of the things that the Alliance is capable of?

It's a sea of millions of people.

The Institution of the Alliance is corrupt, no doubt. But the idea that every single employee in its ranks is equally guilty and corrupt and evil, with nothing but oppression and conspiracy in mind? A little unlikely.


Quote:

The same Alliance who employs people like the Blue Sun guys, who mercilessly slaughter their own Alliance soldiers just because they talked to River?


Mal was a suspect.

Police suspect innocent people all the time. That's not evil, that's called investigating crime.

Being a suspect is not the same as being sentenced guilty. (Or executed on sight, for that matter.)

Not everything every Alliance-employee has ever done is unjustified or mean-spirited.



I believe Citizen's exact quote was that the Alliance wasn't evil. If it's not evil, that would make it good, yeah? Besides which, I didn't say that everybody who worked for the Alliance was evil. I'm saying that the institution itself is evil, and that some of its citizens are as well. NOT all. And I'm further saying that the Alliance soldier Mal shot was not innocent, and was indeed responsible for what he'd done. That doesn't mean I think every Alliance soldier is evil.

Also, I think you used the wrong quote there. You used my blue sun quote, then went on to say that Mal was a suspect. Kinda confused me for a second.

To address your argument, I'm not saying that guy was evil because he suspected Mal. I'm saying that one of his reasons for suspecting Mal was simply that he was a Browncoat. I believe he says something along the lines of "Only I think you're still fighting the war. Only these weren't soldiers you killed, but innocent people trying to make lives for themselves, but you couldn't stand that, could you?" Also, had Mal actually made it to trial, I SEVERELY doubt he would have been found innocent, even though the only evidence that he did anything was simply that he was there.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 7:22 AM

ITSBROKEN


Quote:

Originally posted by PrincessRohannen:
Quote:

Originally posted by Phoebe:
Everything any human ever does is right. Legally wrong, undoubtedly in some cases. But if they think it's right, then it's right. For them. For us it's not. Hell, for some of us it IS right. Not one person has the *exact* same morals, not one of us would draw the EXACT same line and do the exact same thing in any situation. Therefore, we can't 'officially' define what's right or wrong. We just state our *own* morals. It ain't right to force other people to live by our morals. Laws, yes, morals, no.



"It ain't right to force other people to live by our morals." Isn't that, in and of itself, an attempt to force a moral?




lol thats funny. just thought i'd point it out.

-----
***someone should make a MMORPG based on the 'verse!***

Geeze i want Firefly to come back!

-----

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 7:27 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by PrincessRohannen:

Again, not saying that I would show mercy; I would have actually been more gratified if Mal had walked on over to that man, ripped him out of his ship, beaten him senseless, and strangled him with his bare hands. Watching that scene, I would have cheered him on.


PrincessRohannen, this comment is by far the most unsettling on this thread for me, and I hope it's just you being dramatic. Mal was angry, yes, and the guy poked his head up at the worst time, but Mal needed him to not be there, so he switched him off. Would you torture a dog that killed someone? No, you put it to sleep. If the scene had played out as you describe, I would never have watched the movie again and given up on Joss' work completly.
Quote:



But, if Mal had left him alive... It's concievable that the soldier might have come to see that Mal was on the right side. Maybe he would even have gone back to the Alliance under cover and worked to help bring it crashing down!:dissapointed: Hard to imagine, but we'll never know if it would have been possible, will we?


Again, I hope you're just goofing around.

Let's look at thoughts as they might occur to that pilot, in order:
" This'll teach those filthy terrorists!
Uh...this don't look like a terrorist cell...
Shit! I'm on another scorched earth mission...
As much as I morally DETEST this, it IS my gorram job, so...
Wha- a gun??!!

Uhh, I must have been out for a few...
Oh boy those folk look like they knew these people, and they're all mad-like. I don't wanna stay on this rock alone. I'll have to take the chance they have SOME respect for Alliance Law...
He's gonna shoot me, oh well-I took a chance..."

Put in that soldier's place, I would expect to be killed.
Anything else is fluffy nonsense, IMO.



Hard Chrisisall

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 7:41 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by TheSomnambulist:
Given Mal's character he is more likely to discard a man's life (WOLF) more readily than he is to take sexual advantage of a woman (Saffron). Where that places him in the echelons of moral obligations I dunno. But it's a curious contradiction in the character that adds dimension.


This is exactly why I started this thread, I wanted to take measure of how people percieve this as a show/movie about bad guys.

My own take is that 'Law' is an artificial construct, more good than bad, but with serious room for corruption and abuse. Our BDH's seem to also see it this way, and it's no small part of why I love these guys.

Like life, it's mostly grey, with but a few black and white moments.



Chrisisall

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 7:59 AM

CHRISISALL


Quote:

Originally posted by citizen:
For all we know that guy could have been the galley cook, and had nothing to do with the slaughter, he could have had no idea there were children and old folk down there, he could of believed they were a disguised terrorist cell. We don’t know and neither did Mal, at the end of the day it was revenge, and revenge isn’t a justification.



Citizen, a rare moment of disagreement...
That was an attack ship, one or two man. He was not a cook.
It was an attack ship for low-atmo strikes; visual range (Or book couldn't have shot it), and this means the trigger-man knows full well who he's shooting (and who's NOT shooting anything back).
The appearance of the pilot alive was a complication Mal didn't need, so he took care of it (The timing was great btw, it underscored Mal's hardness at the moment, nice of that guy to give his life in service to the narrative)


It's not justice, it's war.
Mal would never have killed the guy if he didn't have to. It was NOT revenge, and it did not make me feel good that he did it (nor Mal, by the look on his face).


It gets hot in the kitchen is all Chrisisall

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 8:16 AM

AGENTROUKA


Quote:

Originally posted by queenofthenorth:


I believe Citizen's exact quote was that the Alliance wasn't evil. If it's not evil, that would make it good, yeah?



Well, it could be ambiguious. It could be flawed. Shades of grey. It's corrupted, but the entire idea of the Alliance, for example, isn't. There's upsides to civilization, unity, progress.

The downside is the fact that the Alliance isn't living up to its own ideals, really.

In some of the arguments here, I sometimes miss the recognition of the fact that it is an institution made up for flesh and blood people. Human beings, just as flawed and good as people on the rim.



Quote:


Also, I think you used the wrong quote there. You used my blue sun quote, then went on to say that Mal was a suspect. Kinda confused me for a second.



Ah, crap, you're right! How embarrassing!


Quote:


To address your argument, I'm not saying that guy was evil because he suspected Mal. I'm saying that one of his reasons for suspecting Mal was simply that he was a Browncoat. I believe he says something along the lines of "Only I think you're still fighting the war. Only these weren't soldiers you killed, but innocent people trying to make lives for themselves, but you couldn't stand that, could you?" Also, had Mal actually made it to trial, I SEVERELY doubt he would have been found innocent, even though the only evidence that he did anything was simply that he was there.



Well, whether he would have been sentenced guilty is pure speculation. They should have some seriously superior crime-solving science available to them. It'd be up to chance whether he'd face a corrupt judge or an honest one.

If you give him the benefit of the doubt and look at it neutrally, it's not utterly reprehensible that he might have a bias in his suspicions. Mal's not simply a man who was a Browncoat, he essentially still is one.

To the side that won and wants peace, that is a reasonable threat, even if they aren't evil. Suspecting him is not such a stretch.


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Thursday, January 19, 2006 8:42 AM

SINGATE


The only reason this soldier has his hands up is because he was unarmed. If there had been a gun handy I doubt he would have had any problem with shooting all of them in the back.

Besides if someone killed a bunch of your friends/family and you later ran into that person while he was unarmed or helpless how would you react?

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 8:47 AM

CITIZEN


Quote:

Originally posted by Queenofthenorth:
Okay, I have a few problems with the "for we all we know he could have been the galley cook" theory. For one thing, that ship looked like the equivalent of a fighter jet to me, which means it's not likely someone's home when they're flying around space, and probably doesn't even have a galley on it. Also, I'm pretty sure your average galley cook wouldn't be wearing armor.


The ship looks like it was at least the size of Serenity, which is large enough to have a galley. The guy Mal shot wasn't wearing body armour. You don't know what he did, I don't know what he did, and Mal didn't know what he did. He shot him for wearing an Alliance uniform.
Quote:

Do you honestly think that anybody could have believed that entire settlement was made up of completely evil terrorist people, and that there wasn't an innocent person or child among them? I'm not saying that what Mal did was necessarily right. But the Alliance soldier was most certainly not an innocent man.

So all those attack jet/helicopter pilots that flew sorties against al qaeda training camps, and indeed sorties against Baghdad deserve to be shot because they aren't innocent?
And if he believed it to be a terrorist camp there’s no reason to believe that there would be women and children.
You're assuming that since he was part of the crew that did the dirty work he knew all the details, which frankly he certainly did not. As with all militaries the Alliance will run on need to know, and he wouldn't need to know.
Quote:

The same Alliance who took an innocent girl, stripped her of her ability to handle her own emotions, and turned her into an insane living weapon? The same Alliance who said, screw the dying people of Paradiso, we've got better things to do? The same Alliance who used biological weapons to murder entire settlements during the war, then stole their valuables?

Are you living in an evil empire beyond salvation? Is it okay to kill a cop in the street in New York, is it okay for America’s enemies to kill surrendering soldiers rather than take them as prisoners and try them in a court?
Everything you listed has a comparable event from America, yet I see 'the land of the free', 'proud to be an American' and other statements a lot. So is America evil?
To River I say CIA and military testing of drugs and weapons on unwilling participants during the fifties and allegedly the first gulf war.
To Paradiso I say Katrina.
To Biological weapons I say the wholesale illegal use of white phosphorus in civilian areas of Fallujah (it is illegal to use white phosphorus even against military personnel under the Chemical Weapons Convention). Besides, the Alliance using biological weapons was actually flaunted as an illegal and uncaught act by one man. Further more it was possibly a lie Yo-Saf-Bridge told to get Mal 'on side'.
The point is every nation on Earth can pull a parallel with those acts and their own, but that doesn’t necessarily make them evil.
Quote:

The same Alliance who believed Mal guilty of killing an entire shipful of innocent people because he was a Browncoat, with no actual proof?

What, like the fact there was a guy in their infirmary who looked like he'd been tortured, a ship full of dead people and another shipload of people who were just leaving?
Okay put yourself into a similar situation, you're a captain of a navy Cruiser, and you've just come across a couple of ships in the middle of the Atlantic. One ship was full of unarmed fishermen, who are all dead, and the other ship is full of armed mercenaries and confirmed ex-soldiers, who not only have the other ships cargo, but the sole survivor tied up in their hold. What do you do? Say "Oh I'm sure they were just on a rescue mission" and let them go? Please.
Frankly given a comparable time (i.e. the 1800's) they would have been blown out of the water for piracy.
Quote:

The same Alliance who don't protect their citizens from Reavers, because they can't acknowledge the fact that they were the ones that made them?

The only people who know about the Reavers are either dead or happen to be high up in government. Who helped create Al Qeada, who helped create the Taliban Mujahideen? Is America an evil empire?
Quote:

The same Alliance who employs people like the Blue Sun guys, who mercilessly slaughter their own Alliance soldiers just because they talked to River?

CIA. Is America an evil empire?
Quote:

The Alliance isn't a good empire, either, so don't try to convince anyone that it is.

I'm sorry, I said the Alliance is whiter than white when, exactly? I'm not the one trying to the push the black and white, good and evil position here. That's other people:
Everything the alliance do is evil because they're baddies and everything Mal does is good because he's a goody.

Chris:
I’m not saying that the act may not have been necessary; I’m saying that it being necessary doesn’t make it right. Good people do bad things sometimes, doesn’t make them bad people, but saying that what he did was okay because Mal is a goody isn’t valid.
Quote:

That was an attack ship, one or two man. He was not a cook.

The ship is larger than that. As I said it looks more comparable to the size of Serenity. In fact all we see is the nose cone, and that doesn’t look too far in size from the nose cone of a B52 Strategic bomber.
But the there’s plenty of non-combat roles. In a two seat strike fighter the pilot doesn’t fire the weaponry, which is the job of the gunner. The guy could have been a navigator, or a radio operator, he may not have had a direct combat role. Point is we don’t know, and neither did Mal.
Quote:

It was an attack ship for low-atmo strikes; visual range (Or book couldn't have shot it), and this means the trigger-man knows full well who he's shooting (and who's NOT shooting anything back).

RAF Tornado Fighter/Bombers perform low level strafing and bombing runs all the time. I doubt they can tell who they are shooting at that well.
As for not shooting back, I doubt many training camps have either before being turned in to bloodied craters. Oh and they did shoot back, unless that ship crashed by accident .
Quote:

The appearance of the pilot alive was a complication Mal didn't need, so he took care of it

Judging by the Geneva Convention Mal committed a war crime (If he’s not at war then that’s covered to, it’s counted as murder under local criminal law).
Quote:

From:
Protocol Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, and relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I), 8 June 1977.
Art 41. Safeguard of an enemy hors de combat

1. A person who is recognized or who, in the circumstances, should be recognized to be hors de combat shall not be made the object of attack.

2. A person is hors de combat if:
(a) he is in the power of an adverse Party;
(b) he clearly expresses an intention to surrender; or
(c) he has been rendered unconscious or is otherwise incapacitated by wounds or sickness, and therefore is incapable of defending himself;

provided that in any of these cases he abstains from any hostile act and does not attempt to escape.

Art 44. Combatants and prisoners of war

1. Any combatant, as defined in Article 43, who falls into the power of an adverse Party shall be a prisoner of war.

2. While all combatants are obliged to comply with the rules of international law applicable in armed conflict, violations of these rules shall not deprive a combatant of his right to be a combatant or, if he falls into the power of an adverse Party, of his right to be a prisoner of war, except as provided in paragraphs 3 and 4.

Emphasis added





More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
The statistics on sanity are that one out of every four persons is suffering from some sort of mental illness. Think of your three best friends -- if they're okay, then it's you.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 9:13 AM

PRINCESSROHANNEN


Quote:

Originally posted by TheSomnambulist:
To quote Shakespeare:

There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

or

I must be cruel to be kind, thus bad begins and worse remains behind.

If you take these on board all actions have a measure of good and bad too them. Many of Mals and the crews actions appear on the surface as bad, or villainous, but beyond that, he is fending for himself and his crew and for their immediate need for survival.

Personally it's a question of survival - that's key to many of there actions...and all species do just about anything to survive, when it comes to it. Good or bad.

If you want to argue about the morals of their actions, well then you have to establish which values we all share and adhere to, and which stand to be respected and which actions may (if at all) be ignored.

But these human frailties are what makes these characters interesting and the dilema they (us) are placed under is what constantly keeps us watching.

www.cirqus.com




Gotta agree with you on several points here.

Frankly, ain't no way we here on this board are going to establish what's eternally right and what's eternally wrong. Better philosophers and holy men and women than any of us have been carrying on this debate since the dawn of human language, and they're no nearer an answer than they were when the debate began.

The biggest point I think I'm going to take away from this discussion is that the moral ambiguity of Mal and the crew are what keep this show so interesting. There's no hard and fast moral to the story. Each one of these characters is flawed enough to make him or her human.

Just the same way that each one of us is human and therefore flawed.

That's why we connect to them so strongly.

And Chrisisall: I would never torture a dog no matter what it did. Even if a dog killed someone, I'd want to conduct an investigation to make sure that someone wasn't asking for it before putting the dog to sleep. But that guy in the ship had it comin'. And you can't prove that my outlandinsh speculations wouldn't have come to pass.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 9:59 AM

CYBERSNARK


Quote:

Originally posted by ReaverInA1985Riviera:
Quote:

Originally posted by Bowie:
Hero's are not always fancy knights on chargers, set to make all ends good.


In fact everyone I've seen with a Dodge Charger has been a bad guy: Vin Diesl(the fast and the furious), Peter Fonda (Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry), and the assasins in Bullit.

Dukes of Hazzard?

(Which, ironically enough, tosses us back into the moral relativity debate. )

-----
We applied the cortical electrodes but were unable to get a neural reaction from either patient.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 10:38 AM

BROWNCOAT1

May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one.


Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
...I've heard it said by some.

I feel Mal and co. are survivors; they don't steal from regular folk, or endanger lives. They nibble off the edge of the Alliance to live. They definitly ain't getting rich stealin' and such. Plenty ways to get wealthy in the 'Verse if you got no morals...

Thoughts?




I agree that Mal is a survivor, and so by necessity are the rest of the crew. Sure they steal, but as we have seen in the series & in the movie, Mal will do all he can not to take from or hurt the ordinary folk.

Now Mal loves a job if it means he gets to thumb his nose at the Alliance, or as Badger might say "flash his ass at the gorram law", but that does not mean that Mal is reckless. He is capable of planning & cunning when it is required. Look at the double cross he pulled on YoSafBridg in "Trash". Snubbing the Alliance is a bonus that Mal will pull for free. It is a perk for him.

Mal & crew are not getting rich as you mentioned, but that is due to them having some lines they will not cross. Mal is a man w/ a code & ethics. There are things he will not due, even if it means that things are lean for him & the crew. He could very likely make great money running guns or slaves, but he won't cross that line. He might even be able to pull in some cash running legitimate runs to or from the Alliance, but he refuses to do anything to help the purplebellies.

We wonder sometimes if Mal is happy w/ his choices. When he asks River in the BDM "Do your understand your part in all of this?" & she looks at him & asks "Do you?" Mal answers "This is what I do darlin'." then more quietly & to himself "It's what I do." I am sure everyone saw the look on Mal's face, a mix of pain, resignation, perhaps even fatigue. Is he really happy? He looks like a man with a great many burdens to bear. As he tells Simon jobs are harder to come by, even legit ones, since Simon & River are onboard Serenity.

Now, it could be that the situation might change to an extent given the way events end in the BDM. With River no longer a "threat" in the Operative's report to Parliment, it could be that the Alliance calls off the hounds. The damage is done, the dirty little secret of Miranda is out. It could be that if the hounds are called off Mal & crew can get work more readily & perhaps breath easier.

I have no doubt that the spin doctors of the Parliment powers are hard at work, but are they done w/ River & Mal? Will someone be looking for payback due to the fallout of the broadcast going out? Are there other secrets locked away somewhere in River's mind that have not surfaced yet? Who can tell, but if not & the Alliance does leave the crew alone it could mean greener pastures for our BDHs.

Only time, & Joss, will tell.

__________________________________________

"May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."

Richmond, VA & surrounding area Firefly Fans:

http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/richmondbrowncoats/

http://www.richmondbrowncoats.org


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Thursday, January 19, 2006 11:11 AM

JOELIST


Quote:

Originally posted by BrownCoat1:
Quote:

Originally posted by chrisisall:
...I've heard it said by some.

I feel Mal and co. are survivors; they don't steal from regular folk, or endanger lives. They nibble off the edge of the Alliance to live. They definitly ain't getting rich stealin' and such. Plenty ways to get wealthy in the 'Verse if you got no morals...

Thoughts?




I agree that Mal is a survivor, and so by necessity are the rest of the crew. Sure they steal, but as we have seen in the series & in the movie, Mal will do all he can not to take from or hurt the ordinary folk.

Now Mal loves a job if it means he gets to thumb his nose at the Alliance, or as Badger might say "flash his ass at the gorram law", but that does not mean that Mal is reckless. He is capable of planning & cunning when it is required. Look at the double cross he pulled on YoSafBridg in "Trash". Snubbing the Alliance is a bonus that Mal will pull for free. It is a perk for him.

Mal & crew are not getting rich as you mentioned, but that is due to them having some lines they will not cross. Mal is a man w/ a code & ethics. There are things he will not due, even if it means that things are lean for him & the crew. He could very likely make great money running guns or slaves, but he won't cross that line. He might even be able to pull in some cash running legitimate runs to or from the Alliance, but he refuses to do anything to help the purplebellies.

We wonder sometimes if Mal is happy w/ his choices. When he asks River in the BDM "Do your understand your part in all of this?" & she looks at him & asks "Do you?" Mal answers "This is what I do darlin'." then more quietly & to himself "It's what I do." I am sure everyone saw the look on Mal's face, a mix of pain, resignation, perhaps even fatigue. Is he really happy? He looks like a man with a great many burdens to bear. As he tells Simon jobs are harder to come by, even legit ones, since Simon & River are onboard Serenity.

Now, it could be that the situation might change to an extent given the way events end in the BDM. With River no longer a "threat" in the Operative's report to Parliment, it could be that the Alliance calls off the hounds. The damage is done, the dirty little secret of Miranda is out. It could be that if the hounds are called off Mal & crew can get work more readily & perhaps breath easier.

I have no doubt that the spin doctors of the Parliment powers are hard at work, but are they done w/ River & Mal? Will someone be looking for payback due to the fallout of the broadcast going out? Are there other secrets locked away somewhere in River's mind that have not surfaced yet? Who can tell, but if not & the Alliance does leave the crew alone it could mean greener pastures for our BDHs.

Only time, & Joss, will tell.

__________________________________________

"May have been the losing side. Still not convinced it was the wrong one."

Richmond, VA & surrounding area Firefly Fans:

http://tv.groups.yahoo.com/group/richmondbrowncoats/

http://www.richmondbrowncoats.org




Actually the best way for Parilament to damage control now would be to call off the hounds on Simon and River and revoke the warrants on them. Find someone that can be the fall guy for the screwup on Miranda, and claim that they will fix the problem. In fact, they should also find a scapegoat for the secret program River was in and claim ignornace.

Even with this, they have lost public confidence and will need to rebuild it.

As to Mal finding jobs, it may become easier. The Alliance will be occupied with anti-Reaver operations (albeit our BDH made this easier by drawing a large number of them into a firefight with an Alliance battlegroup). Also, they will probably have orders not to interfere with Serenity unless they do something REALLY illegal.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 11:27 AM

DARKLIGHTER9


Im thinking that wot will happen next will be this:
The broardcast that mal sent out at the end of the BDM will cause a second civil war, with the crew of Serenity at the forefront of it in some way, possibly as a crack spy/ search and destroy team working for the new browncoat armies (think the A Team in space). That could be what Joss means by staying in the 'verse but telling a different story. The BDHs won't be criminals or pirates anymore, they will be heros!

_________________________________________________
Reavers Vs Oompaloompas, clash of the titans! (I'm talking scary Oompaloompas with orange skin and green hair, not the rubbish new ones)

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 11:27 AM

CAPTBRYAN


Im seeing some of you Condone and some of you Condem the choosen life style of our favority crew.

I guess I stand on the Condone side.

I have been in the place of steal or starve.

Ride or die.

So until you people that Condem get to those places where you gotta choose spitin or swallowin...you have no way of understanding.





________________________________________________

Saying that God authored confusion by creating Lucifer is like saying my sniper rifle goes out all by itself and shoots people 2 miles away so I dont get into trouble.

Ridin the Ocean's boring when there aint no waves


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Thursday, January 19, 2006 12:02 PM

QUEENOFTHENORTH


Okay, Citizen, I've just re-read my post and realized I sounded like a complete bitch who was personally attacking you. That wasn't what I was trying to do at all. To be honest, I love arguing and I'm having a right blast having it out with intelligent folk like you and Agentrouka. However, I tend to get a little passionate and black and white in my arguments. So anyways, sorry if I offended you in any way, my humblest of apologies.

Now, to qualify my arguments and make them grayer and more supportable. Instead of referring to the Alliance as evil, I'm gonna call their system corrupt and say that they do do bad things. I think we can all agree on that, yes? Just because they do sometimes do good things doesn't mean they shouldn't be brought down. And for the record, I feel America is the real world version of the Alliance. Their system has become corrupt and they do a lot of unconscionable things. They had some really good ideals there at the beginning, but it's long since gone downhill. Unfortunately, I don't think any country has the power to bring them down right now. Not your homeland, not mine, not anybody's. They don't even listen to the UN anymore, and the UN's supposed to be the voice of morality and reason. My only hope is that the American people can stop their government before something really bad happens.

Now, as to the whole "innocent guy" thing. For the record, let me state here that I think MAL WAS WRONG for killing that soldier. However, I don't think that soldier was innocent by any stretch of the imagination. I think soldiers should be held responsible for their actions on either side. While there's a slim chance that your scenario about the galley cook was possible, I really don't think that that's the case. I don't really think the Operative is gonna send a ship with soldier's living/eating quarters down to destroy a settlement. I figure he would probably send a fighter ship, with guys and weapons. Now, that being said, the guy could have been a pilot.

Let me use Wash's words to address that: "Right, cuz I wouldn't get in trouble if we got caught. I could always say I was flying the ship by accident." I figure, any way you look at it, the people of Haven couldn't have been slaughtered without that guy's help. Which makes him guilty in some small way. That doesn't make what Mal did right, but only because killing is wrong, not because the dude was some innocent saint. I think that was about all the points I was gonna make.

Oh, and Agentrouka, I will try to refrain from making endless fun of you for using the wrong quote.

"I'm having one of those things - a headache with pictures."

"Of course I'm right. And if I'm not, may we all be horribly crushed from above somehow."

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Thursday, January 19, 2006 12:05 PM

JUBEL


mal doesn't live in america or any other democratic nation. he didn't ask to be in the alliance. him and zoe fought againt the alliance takeover of their world. and i'm sure there are other browncoats doing the same as mal and the crew - from other worlds as well. what goes on in the 'verse cannot be compared in any way to our culture. closest you come to that is the american indians. what kind of police state does the alliance run? since the crew spends most of their time on the border worlds we don't really get a glimpse into the true way that the alliance is run - except for what is done with river.

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