KAMIKAZE

A place for Sladists to share their thoughts on Michael Slade and his work...

Postby EZ Rhino » Tue May 30, 2006 6:13 pm

I don't believe that criticism of any country's foreign policy means that their good deeds are overlooked. That's a logical fallacy.
I wish the media would report more on public service and charity news instead of gossip. It is of much greater value. - Jackie Chan
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Postby slyragz » Tue May 30, 2006 6:23 pm

So, if organized religion is really just a means to control the masses, then what is the war really over?

Does "radical" anything, Islam, redneck-ism, nazi-ism, communism (I know, ideologies not religion) fall under organized religion or organized anything?

Holy wars, crusades? Weren't they really fought over territory or the spoils, more than the belief in one God or another or way of worship? I mean, you can be religious about brushing your teeth.

I do get a little cheesed off here from time to time about "America the Bad" or the way we (and notice I did say WE) can unfailingly find all the things wrong with the U.S. What??? Other countries don't have crime, bad politics, enter wars, have horrid health care issues?

There is no series of events or changes we could implement that would make us well-liked. No matter what we did, fault would be found. We could send money and supplies and personnel to aid disaster relief and there would be something wrong with it. We could loan money and resources to other countries in need and something would be wrong with it. Pulling out of Iraq? What new kinds of problems would that lay at our door?

At this point, it just ain't gonna make difference. Our politicians just aren't what we think they should be, but they continue to get relected and when they don't, another takes his place and it's same-old, same-old. We have more than ample opportunity to vote, but we don't.

We do, however, enjoy a much better life than nearly everyone else in the entire world, and we still aren't happy. We enjoy our lives at the expense of the rest of the world.

Geez, I don't know what I'm saying exactly, except that the U.S. is not as bad as it's made out to be by those on other shores or here at home.

We do our best to deal with the legacy of past generations and the perceptions and realities of the rest of the world. We try to do the right thing, and sometimes I think we're the proof that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Show me someplace else that IS perfect, that has no economic problems, no health care issues, no unemployment woes, someplace that is loved by everyone or at least the majority of other countries, someplace that gives as much we do (and doesn't ask anything in return). Show me.

As for the war, it was inevitable. You know it, I know it. It was politics and economy. The WTC was an attack. Unprovoked? Depends on what you believe, I suppose. In my book, an attack is an attack. I don't think that anywhere in history it's going to say we bombed, blew up, or bitch-slapped them first, but I could be wrong.

I suppose you all just hit a nerve.
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Postby MarylandManson » Tue May 30, 2006 6:47 pm

WaywardSoul wrote: It hardly seems fair that two professional writers would double-team one lone hack, who types with the index finger of each hand!


I'm aware of only one professional writer here (in this topic). And I'm a one-finger typer, too! Besides, what does it matter? Everyone's views are welcome and equally valuable.

WaywardSoul wrote:Between the two of you, the blame for all the world's ills have been placed at America's feet.
How about some balance?
Where is the condemnation of the Mulahs and political leaders of Arab states, who preach hate and death to all non-believers?
Isn't that just as wrong as Truman's racist beliefs?


Yes, it's just as wrong, which is why I've been like a broken record on the wrongheadedness of America being in bed with Arab nations because of oil and for playing the game of "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" in the Middle East. Also, Truman and many others have not been as up front about their hatreds as have many Arabs. When what you project and how you really act have some distance between them, you quickly get into perceptions--often valid--of hypocrisy.

WaywardSoul wrote:Where is the mention of America being the most generous nation, in terms of money and aid, to impoverished nations and those struck by natural disasters, including those countries responsible for the most vile and hateful anti-American rhetoric?


That's close to the truth in raw numbers, less so as a percentage of GDP or per capita income. And in 1999 (I believe it was 1999), Japan still beat the U.S. in raw numbers of non-military foreign aid. Also, substantial components of U.S. foreign aid are in military aid, and who's ultimately served by that?

WaywardSoul wrote:What about the U.S. stepping in and exerting force to end the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Bosnia?
Something the gutless European nations allowed to go on and on right in their backyard?


The USA was part of the multinational UN effort. Great! As it should be.

WaywardSoul wrote:MM, sometimes it IS US vs. THEM!
I guess you would have favored opening up dialogue with Japan, after Pearl Harbor, in order top gain a better understanding of the their culture?


Of course not, hence my earlier question about whether they brought the atomic bomb upon themselves. I think they did.

WaywardSoul wrote:The simple truth is that when one faction continually comes down to the watering hole and gives the rest of the herd the stinkeye, eventually, the only option is to bash their skull's in with a leg bone!

When your enemies attack you, the time for understanding their culture is past, and the time for killing them in great numbers is at hand!


Killing them in great numbers? I don't think so. However, I support the notion of understanding the culture before you invade them. It would be pointless to expect that any culture might fully embrace other cultures, but a little more understanding and tolerance before conflicts arise would be a good thing. I think you took that out of context, WS. But it's foolhardy not to predict possible outcomes before you put 100,000+ troops in a hot zone.

WaywardSoul wrote:I'm all for dialogue and diplomacy, but once my country is attacked, all bets are off, and I really don't give a f#$k what their motivation is!
That applies to the Japanese attack, the attacks of Islamic radicals, or anyone else.


Wouldn't it be great if the government positioned itself, even as it has not yet fully done, to address--if not wholly prevent, which is impossible--such attacks? Did you ever hear of Homer Lea, Fleet Problem XIX, and Taranto? How about the WTC in '93? And where's the outrage about Tim McVeigh, an "invader" from within? Emergency preparedness is the bottom line. Whether it's from a foreign enemy, a traitor, or a hurricane, we're woefully behind the curve.

WaywardSoul wrote:I despise the American government, but I love my country and the principles it was founded on.
The constant "Blame America" game does wear on me at times, though.


I don't despise it, but it does need a revamp in accordance with the principles the country was founded on, which I also love. We've gotten far away from those principles, wouldn't you agree, WS?

And slyragz, I agree--best place in the world for me, wouldn't want to live anywhere else! Which has nothing to do with the need for improvement. Perfection might be an unrealistic goal (a more perfect union, not a perfect one), but improvement is always worth reaching for. Hypocritical, arrogant self-perception is not the way to improve, yet many Americans and their chosen leaders are hypocritical and arrogant.

Thank you for all the terrific point/counterpoint! Most of my points themselves stem from counterbalancing the superficial "We're Number One!" stance so often heard when out and about in the States. It just ain't necessarily true all the time...

Cheers! MM
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Postby WaywardSoul » Tue May 30, 2006 9:59 pm

EZ, I never said critisism negates good deeds, merely that those good deeds should receive equal airtime.

Every media outlet world-wide leads with America's misdeeds, but you really have to search to find coverage of America's good deeds.
Hardly what could be considered even-handed, wouldn't you agree?

MM, the U.S. lead a NATO bombing campaign in Bosnia, after the do-nothing UN failed to accomplish anything.

You're not a professional writer/editor? I thought I recalled you mentioning that you wrote/ edited tech manuals or something, but my memory isn't what it used to be.
All part of the accelerated brain cell killing program I've been on for years. :twisted:

We have indeed drifted far, far, from the principles our nation was founded on.
So far, in fact, that in my opinion, we need to hit the reset button on the whole works.
Taxed to death, with little, if any, real representation from our elected officials.

If George Washington and Nathan Hale were alive today, I'm sure they would be ready to ride on D.C, at daybreak tomorrow.
"Remember, there's a big difference between kneeling down and bending over." - Frank Zappa
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Postby EZ Rhino » Tue May 30, 2006 10:39 pm

Sho' nuff Wayward! But how many countries that have received aid from the US have had to knuckle under to IMF or World Bank demands in order to receive loans? I understand that many large corporate multinational interests based in the US set policy for the IMF and other international aid agencies. And by extension, they demand that developing nations agree to conditions that basically prevent countries in South America and Africa from utilizing their own resources to the best of their own populations' interests.

I'm no student of international politics, it's true, but my understanding is that any actions undertaken by the US (and I do separate the US government from the US people) government - and by extension, corporations like ExxonMobil and Bechtel - are to be examined very carefully for ulterior motives.
I wish the media would report more on public service and charity news instead of gossip. It is of much greater value. - Jackie Chan
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Postby Slade » Tue May 30, 2006 11:10 pm

WS,

Slade: Harry Truman died in 1972, the same year the Watergate scandal first broke. Nixon's personal tapes weren't made public until after Truman's death, so there was no opportunity for Truman to learn from Nixon's mistakes.

My "mistake" was written tongue-in-cheek. Truman wrote his diary in 1945, contemporaneously with what was happening, but it didn't see the light of day until the late 1970s. My point is, Conspirators should always whisper-whisper, never scribble-scribble or let's record this to listen to later.

It's probably time to repeat an earlier statement of mine that must always be taken as a given when you read any post. I have the greatest respect for the warrior who puts his or her life on the line for the GOOD of his or her country. But that doesn't extend to leaders who shed the blood of other people's kids for the sake of back-room power politics, or the psycho who sneaks into the military because it's an opportunity to kill and collect ears.

Love of my country doesn't extend to the planners of the Dieppe Raid:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieppe_Raid

Love of my country doesn't extend to those who sent us to be cannon fodder on the Gin Drinker's Line:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Hong_Kong

And my respect for the Canadian soldier who puts his/her life on the line doesn't extend to these guys:

http://www.wsws.org/public_html/iwb7-28/canada.htm

Have I not made it clear in book after book after book, that I refuse to ooh and aah over the Emperor's New Clothes, and that I don't give a rat's ass if that gives my own country a black eye? Tough beans! Didn't some president (WS, there's that tongue again) once say, "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen?"

So, WS and Slyragz, let me write you a mini story.

ASSUME that Iraq actually does have a weapon of mass destruction. Dr. Germ was able to bio-engineer a virus that if let loose - like ebola - will burn through an entire American city before it burns out. Shush, it's a secret, we don't want America to know, but two vials of that unknown weapon have been smuggled into two American cities and are ready to go.

ASSUME that Americans are getting ground down by the War in Iraq, and have come to realize they're not going to win. Feelers are out to find a way to end this thing with face, when Iraq issues a declaration for surrender.

Just one hitch.

America must give up it's belief in God.

Now we're told the American president speaks "to a higher Father." Is it possible for an American president to end a speech without saying "God bless America?" And every time you spend a buck on consumer goods, aren't you reminded "In God We Trust?"

ASSUMING what's above, and not knowing about the Germ, what reaction to the Iraq ultimatum do you think the American President will make?

Doesn't it all go back to being able to see it from the other guy's point of view?

To the Japanese, their Emperor was the Son of Heaven. So it's no small thing when Churchill advised: “It’s best to leave the Japanese some show of saving their military honor, and some assurance of their national existence. The emperor is something for which they’re ready to face certain death in very large numbers, and this might not be so important to us as it is to them.”

Truman's reaction: “After Pearl Harbor, I don’t think the Japs have military honor."

Stimson, his secretary of war, agreed with Churchill. Let Japan keep the emperor. “I heard from Byrnes,” he wrote later, “that they” – Truman and his secretary of state - “preferred not to put it in.”

The bombs dropped. And over 200,000 Japanese were incinerated by the secret "rain of ruin."

And what happened after? Truman let the Japanese keep their emperor. And the emperor is still on the throne today.

So, WS and Slyragz, I hope your umbrage at this Rat's Ass who wonders why Churchill's and Stimson's advice was dismissed, and whether there might be a parallel at work today, won't have you burning KAMIKAZE in the streets.

I apologize profusely for bruising your patriotic sensibilities, but I have a jaundiced eye for facts that don't make sense. As some president (there's that pesky tongue again) once cribbed...

I'M FROM MISSOURI, YOU'VE GOT TO SHOW ME.

Who Said It: Willard Duncan Vandiver

When: 1899

The Story behind It: In the late 1800s, Westerners liked to refer to Missouri as the "Show Me State." The implication was that Missourians were a little slow and not very bright. Missourians, however, turned the definition around and claimed that "Show me" meant that they were particularly alert and shrewd and not easily taken in.

Playfully submitted,

Your humble scribbler,

Slade
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Postby WaywardSoul » Tue May 30, 2006 11:18 pm

EZ, you're singing to the choir, my man.

The key word is multi-national. The ultra rich, from the most powerful nations, join forces to sell out the entire world.

Greed and avarice know no borders.

And don't get me started on ExxonMobil!

I'm paying $3.00 a gallon for regular unleaded, meanwhile they're posting record profits and giving they're outgoing CEO an almost half a billion dollar retirement package!
Meanwhile, Brazil has become almost totally fuel self-sufficient by producing their own ethanol.
Hell, my Scotch-Irish ancestors have been making that in backyard stills, for centuries.

I can't speak for Canada, but I know in this country, Exxon and anyone else related to the oil industry, will never allow the U.S. government to get serious about taking similar actions, until they've pumped the last drop of crude oil from the ground and made the last dollar possible.
"Remember, there's a big difference between kneeling down and bending over." - Frank Zappa
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Postby WaywardSoul » Tue May 30, 2006 11:39 pm

Slade, I have no problem with anyone's religion, but to borrow a phrase, "Your religious beliefs end, where my nose begins".

In other words, believe whatever you wish, worship your chosen deity in any manner you like, as long as your religious beliefs don't interfere with my life, or others who don't share your faith.

To my knowledge, followers of certain sects of Islam, are the only groups I am aware of who are commiting mass murder, in the name of their religion, here in the 21st century.

You see no problem with that?

This behavior was established decades ago. So, you can't blame it own Iraq, or U.S. troops in the Holy Land.

Do you really believe that if America pulled out of Iraq today, removed all traces of it's presence in the Middle-East, and never involved itself in the affairs of the region again, that terrorists attacks against strickly civilian targets, aimed at American and others from Western nations would ever stop?

I hope I'm wrong, but I believe that the Middle-East will be the location of the next major world conflict.
The lines between Us and Them will be distinctly religious.

President Bush is no Christian, by the way!
His very actions contradict that, on a daily basis.

Slade, it's hard for me to catch those subtle tongue-in-cheeks, unless you add the little smiley icons. :lol: :lol: :lol:
I thought I had caught that wonderful historical mind of yours in a rare slip.
Should have known it was too good to be true.

I won't take exceptional to your critcism of America, but I hope you take none that I am American and proud of it, warts and all.

I learned years ago that Americans spend most of their time complaining about America, while Canadians spend most of their time complaining about..................America(Tongue-in-cheek alert)!

It may just be me, but I've detected, if not an anti-American bias, at least a regular pattern of jabs, aimed at America in the Special X novels.
Does it piss me off sometimes?
Definetly!
But that's what I like about reading Slade, you're one of the few writers going today, who actually makes me feel something, when I read them.

All these long posts!!!
I really need to let the carpal-tunnel ease up.
I'll see you guys in a few days.

Yours truly, Captain America
"Remember, there's a big difference between kneeling down and bending over." - Frank Zappa
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Postby raasnio » Wed May 31, 2006 1:37 am

Slade isn't afraid to point out America's mistakes. This we know. Some of us will say we love this country (The U.S.A.) and no amount of finger pointing will make us want to move from here. Still, there really isn't a topic that I cannot brave. In fact, if you listen to George Carlin you can laugh/discuss anything. ;)

Still, no nation is perfect and this country is a perfect example. I see America as this land of people who scream 'do something!' and then after seeing what it costs they scream 'stop it!'. It is no secret that I am a registered Libertarian and I believe that the more power our government has, the more it can be misused and the greater the fallout. There needs to be a balance. The thing is that if you create a car that is way too powerful and hard to control, there is no way to guarantee that every person who drives it will do so competently. I won't even mention the back seat drivers.

In the end, we have continued to be a country that intervenes. When you enter someone else's backyard you are bound to step in some doggy doo. Is it ever worth it? In WWII I believe it was, but I don't see any wars past then that have proven to be as worthwhile, though Afghanistan can be argued due to 9/11. My point is that intervention is a threat to another country's autonomy, a large risk and a potential financial nightmare. We will never cease our overly interventionist policies as long as we continue to let the frat boys from the two major parties run things. Hell, when I think about it, those who run for public office don't need any qualifications of any consequence. It's funny, or not, that if you want to get hired as a network tech you need to have the qualifications to show that you will know what you are doing. Not so for public office. Scary isn't it?

My two pennies.
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Postby raasnio » Wed May 31, 2006 1:49 am

WaywardSoul wrote:
To my knowledge, followers of certain sects of Islam, are the only groups I am aware of who are commiting mass murder, in the name of their religion, here in the 21st century.

You see no problem with that?


I know what you are saying. The ones you speak of, though, believe that America is a Christian nation and that it bombs Muslims. History shows us that economics can cause wars, bu so can religion. Unfortunately there is a strong feeling of 'us vs them' both here and in parts of the middle east.

Are there Muslims that are committing mass murder on a daily basis? Of course, but there is no consensus in the Islamic community on whether they are doing the right thing. Just as in Iraq where most people aren't killing, it only takes a few to end the lives of hundreds. A few bad eggs spoil the bunch.

It's all so unfortunate, really.

Back to the topic of Slade and his latest novels, I like how he reveals hot subjects and opinions and can back them up. I have never felt, though, that he dislikes us Americans. He has, in my opinion, done a good job of laying blame where it need be and not where it shouldn't.
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Postby MarylandManson » Wed May 31, 2006 2:13 am

To raasnio's excellent comments I'll add that a fine example of Sladian balance relative to "America bashing" is on page 380 of the SWASTIKA U.S. edition:

"There goes the moral high ground, thought DeClercq."

As for U.S. intervention in other countries, it's downright un-American because it robs nations of the self-determination that gave birth to the USA. And it's been particularly slimy since the Dulles brothers' United Fruit Company adventures in Guatemala and oil adventures in Iran, from which one can trace a direct line through Cuba to Vietnam to Angola to Iran/Iraq to where we are now.

Take this unofficial, secondary source with a grain of salt, but it's an interesting timeline, and my, what a travelogue...

http://www.huppi.com/kangaroo/CIAtimeline.html

Cheers! MM
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Postby WaywardSoul » Wed May 31, 2006 2:17 am

I didn't mean to insinuate that Slade dislikes America or Americans.
Of course, that obviously isn't the case.

I was refering to things like making the FBI look foolish, compared to the RCMP.

The Canadian kids running a con on the American kid by naming the American state capitals and challenging the American to name the Canadian provinces and capitals.

Critisism of American law.

Very minor things like that.
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Postby TBLightning492 » Wed May 31, 2006 4:37 am

Last month I helped my 16 year old sister study for a history exam that was quickly approaching. The subject of discussion was World War II, and having a soft spot in my heart for that particular area of history, I dove right in, and one night after work I sat down to read the chapters she was to be tested on. What I found in those pages was stunning. There was no mention of the horrors that Joseph Stalin unleashed on his own people during the years leading up to WWII - stories of starvation so severe that parents were found cannablizing their own children in the name of self preservation. Instead he was a simple notation in history, the leader of one of the allied countries. Despite this being an advanced history course, very little was mentioned about the reason for Hitler's advancing the German army towards Russia. "He wanted more power" was the only print given to the topic.

"[Hitler] believed that the Russians were sub-human (the 'untermenschen' ) and that they had no right to live where they did."

"Hitler wanted all the land in Eastern Europe to be given to Germans as they, Hitler believed, could farm it properly while East Europeans could not."

He simply wanted more power.

Slade brings up an interesting point when he mentions American Westerns. The genre does an amazing job of making things simple for the viewer. "This man did wrong, so this other man is going to do right."

That's why I love westerns like "High Plains Drifter". It fits the modern world as we know it. The man without a name strolls into town and accepts that he has a job to do...but not before he takes advantage of the town's hospitality. The town has it's secrets to be swept under the rug, showing that even the innocent are guilty, and in the end the stranger literally delivers Hell on Earth. Off into the sunset he disappears, with the bad guys vanquished and the town in shambles, leaving the survivors to piece together what's left of their lives. "Unforgiven" took this a step further. Is the hero really the hero, or is he just someone out for revenge? Little Bill Daggett is supposed to be the good guy, the man who simply wants order and peace in his town, but he dies a villain's death.

Even when he was being the ultimate villain, his own people viewed Stalin as the ultimate hero - their "Man of Steel". They looked up to him, much as the Japanese looked up to their emperor.

"...while the [German] army was fighting the Russian army, soldiers from the SS Einsatzgruppen murdered hundreds of thousands of civilians. This was all part of Hitler’s plan to get rid of 'sub-humans' from Europe. It is thought that as many as 20 million Russians died during the war. The slaughter was so great that Himmler believed that the policy of shooting civilians might disturbed those doing the killing. A direct result of this was the order to find a quicker way of murdering the people of Russia and the idea of death factories developed from this which lead to the Holocaust."

I bring all of this up for a reason: after she had taken the history test, I sat my sister down and quizzed her on the basics, just to see how well she had done with the material. Satisfied, I asked one more question: "What were the concentration camps"?

In all of her history courses, after all of the notes she had taken and the chapters she had read, not once had the issue of death camps come up. She didn't know that Stalin had refused to trade an important German officer for the release of his own son (who later died in a concentration camp), and she never learned just how close the Eiffel Tower was to being melted for shell casings. (I don't know why this upset me...weeks earlier they had reviewed Prohibition, not once discussing Al Capone or Elliot Ness).

Stalin was simply the leader of Russia - one of the good guys - who was looking for justice because of wrongs committed by the villain, Hitler.

William Munny, meet Little Bill Daggett.

Who's who depends on which side of the fence you're on, I suppose.
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Postby Slade » Wed May 31, 2006 6:14 am

TB,

Good to see you back. It's Stanley Cup time. And in case I haven't said it, your Special X image - the badge, the hat, the tunic, the boots - replaced Stonehenge as my desktop picture. It now puts me in the mood each day before I write.

WS,

I know what you're saying, and it doesn't ruffle me. My love affair with America goes back as far as I can remember. It's still a thrill - no suck-up intended - to cross the border, even though the country, like all countries in the world, thanks to franchising, isn't as exotic as it used to be. And why do I take those swipes? Because at the moment, you're at the heart of the BIG issues...so that's where the stories are. If it were a century back, my barbs would be at Britain.

You throw the stone at Goliath. That's the headline. If David gets hit by a stone, it's just an obituary.

Telling story:

The year was 1990 and the Wall had just come down. I found myself in a New York bar with four thriller writers: four Americans and one Canuck. One of the Americans was crying in his beer over the demise of the big bad Soviet Union. "What are we going to do as thriller writers with no malignant superpower out to destabilize the world!"

My comment?

"What do you mean we, Kemo Sabe?"

Slade
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Postby WaywardSoul » Wed May 31, 2006 2:40 pm

Slade: Taking swipes at America was what I should have said. And I understand perfectly the reasons for them, even before the explaination in your last post.

Plus, there is a bit of truth in those swipes.

But to a proud American like myself, they can have a cummulative effect, over time.
Keep in mind the sister being the town whore scenario I outlined a few posts back.

On the topic of headlines, the worst news about America, or anything else, makes the best headlines.
Good news rarely, if ever, gets the large font type.

I know it's been said before but I appreciate to no end the ability of the members here to voice all sides of a topic, without it degenerating into pissing match.
I'm a moderator at another site, and I'm constantly putting out fires over politics, religion, and even sports.
Thanks to all members here, for their honesty and civility.

TB: High Plains Drifter is my all-time favorite Western. From your synopsis, I believe you're actually missing a key element of that movie.

Watch again, closely.
In this case, The Man with No Name is actually a spirit back from the dead to take revenge on his killers and the townspeople who stood by and let him die.
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