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View Full Version : When Is Homicide justified- Buffy trying to kill Faith, Giles killing Ben, etc.



Dipstick
05-12-18, 01:32 AM
A conversation emerged about the ethics of Buffy killing Faith or Giles killing Ben/Glory on this thread (http://www.buffyforums.net/forums/showthread.php?21403-Spike-in-quot-Becoming-quot-Conundrum/page2).

I think we're mainly debating Buffy v. Faith in Graduation Day. However, this thread could be a general discussion on what murders committed in the 'verse were justified. I say, exclusive of the comics, the "justified" murders in the 'verse were those titled in the thread- Buffy trying to kill Faith, Giles killing Ben, and any of the killings committed in self-defense in the middle of combat.

I wrote:


What "wahuh"? Faith was going to be assisting the Mayor the next day turn into a giant snake who could eat/enslave all of humanity. She was a superbeing threatening the world with imminent danger. Faith was actually beginning the Ascension battle earlier that night when she shot Angel with the poison to take him off the board and to take Buffy off the board with distraction/heart-break. That's why the Mayor bought her the poison. Buffy continued the battle to capture Faith to feed to Angel that night. Faith doesn't have the monopoly on setting the time of engagement.

I think it was a mix of revenge and saving Angel. Yes if Angel was randomly struck by that arrow by some MOTW, Buffy would try to feed Angel herself and risk dying instead of killing Faith to get Angel the right blood. That's the revenge part. However if Faith killed Angel and there was no hope of saving Angel with Faith's blood, I don't think Buffy would go on a revenge spree. I can't say 100% for sure. Buffy wasn't ever really in Willow's exact position in Villains where a human murdered someone that she deeply loved above all. However, Buffy didn't kill Ben/Glory as revenge for Glory capturing Dawn to kill and Ben likely enabling it (according to what Buffy could see). The animating factor in Graduation Day is Buffy's pursuit of the blood to save Angel. Regardless of Buffy's intent, I don't get why Buffy has to wait a few hours to have a probably lethal fight with Faith at the Ascension so it fits within the proper rules of engagement but meanwhile Angel dies because Faith engineered a situation where Angel would die if he didn't drain the blood of a slayer.

bespangled replied:


If we are going by that standard than damn near everyone who aids any big bad is a superpowered being trying to destroy the world. That includes all vampires who help the master and Angelus, the Mayor's assistant demons, Glory's scabbie sycophants - the enire BTVS universe is filled with evil superbeings.

Well sort of yes. Any of these minions helping the Big Bad destroy the world is...trying to destroy the world. The vamps helping the Master and Angelus were super-beings. Faith is a super-being. I don't think Glory's trolls were super-being, but just because it didn't seem like they had any remarkable magical or strength powers. So, Faith is a slayer, a super-being. And she was an accomplice to the Mayor's plans to destroy the world.


Faith is a human - we do not kill humans. A huge part of this season is the changes in Buffy that lead her to premeditated attempted murder. It isn't just Faith who goes dark.

Oz: The only way to cure this thing is to drain the blood of a Slayer.
Buffy: (long pause) Good.
Xander: Good? What did I miss?
Buffy: No, it's perfect. Angel needs to drain a Slayer, then I'll bring him one.
Willow: Buffy, if Angel drains Faith's blood, it'll kill her.
Buffy: Not if she's already dead.

Since Buffy s talking to friends it wouldn't be difficult or take time to get the tranq gun used on Oz, and use it on Faith. She wants to kill Faith for revenge as much as she wants to save Angel.This is premeditation - this is revenge killing.

I have no problem discussing it but I think we need a separate thread.

IMO, the exchange you quoted indicates why Buffy didn't bother with a tranq gun. The rules of the cure was that Angel had to drain the blood of a slayer, as in no more blood, as in dead. Buffy wouldn't need a tranq gun if Faith's life couldn't be spared in the draining process.

I believe that Buffy really expected to die when she offered her neck up to Angel. She was spared by pure dumb luck. I think her "Maybe it won't kill me if you don't take all my blood" was an inducement to get Angel to drink rather than her true expectations. The lore said "drain the blood of a slayer" as in no more blood.

bespangled
05-12-18, 04:24 AM
That still ignores the main issue - we don't kill humans is what Buffy says through the entire show. Killing Warren is something that caused Willow huge issues. Killing Phillip Henry cause Giles to completely change his life. Spike showed how much he had changed by not killing Robin Wood after Wood tried to kill him. The ethos is clear - killing humans destroys the killer as well as the victim.

Faith: What if he was? You’re still not seeing the big picture,
B. Something made us different. We’re warriors. We’re built
to kill.
Buffy: To kill demons! But it does not mean that we get to
pass judgment on people like we’re better than everyone else!
Faith: We are better. (Stunned silence from Buffy.) That’s
right, better. People need us to survive.

****

Buffy: Being a Slayer doesn't give me a license to kill. Warren's human.
Dawn: [scoffs] So?
Buffy: So the human world has its own rules for dealing with people like him.

*****

Buffy: I don’t know. Not yet (pause). He was a person. And
I killed him.
Willow: Don’t say that.
Buffy: Why not? Everyone else is, and it’s the truth.
Xander: It was an accident.
Buffy: I’m the slayer. I had no right to hit him like that.

There are multiple examples of this basic underlying ethical stand. The question is examined repeatedly - should Buffy be allowed to kill humans if she feels there is a need?

Cordelia: I don’t get it. Buffy’s the Slayer. Shouldn’t she
have...
Xander: What? A license to kill?
Cordelia: Well, not for fun. But she’s like the superman.
Shouldn’t she have different rules?
Willow: Sure, in a fascist society.
Cordelia: Right! Why can’t we have one of those?

Buffy beat the crap out of Spike for not understanding how she felt about accidentally killing Katrina

SPIKE: It wasn't your fault!
BUFFY: I killed her!
SPIKE: It was an accident. It just happened.
BUFFY: Nothing just happens.
SPIKE: Why are you doing this to yourself?
BUFFY: (tearful) A girl is dead because of me.
SPIKE: And how many people are alive because of you? How many have you saved? One dead girl doesn't tip the scale.

Nobody in the B-verse commits murder without suffering. Warren killed Tara - that didn't give Willow the right to murder him. Because of this Willow goes through a lot of guilt and suffering. No one gets a free pass because of extenuating circumstances. If anyone should I would say it's Willow - she was out of her mind with dark magics and grief when she killed Warren.

Whether or not Buffy thought there was a way to save Faith, according to the ethical foundation of the series, Buffy still had no right to gut her. She had no right to attempt premeditated murder. As it happened, Angel didn't drain Buffy. To decide it's not worth keeping Faith alive because she'll probably die anyway is ridiculous.

Yet Buffy guts Faith without blinking an eye, and has no regrets ever.


Faith: What are you gonna do, B, kill me? You become me. You're not
ready for that, yet.

Buffy: There's a cure.
Faith: Damn. What is it?
Buffy: Your blood. As justice goes, it's not un-poetic, don't you think?
Faith: Come to get me? You gonna feed me to Angel? You know you're not going to take me alive.
Buffy: Not a problem.
Faith: Well, look at you. All dressed up in big sister's clothes.
Buffy: You told me I was just like you. That I was holding it in.
They approach until they're standing face to face.
Faith: Ready to cut loose?
Buffy: Try me.

The idea that Buffy killed her because she was working for the mayor is fallacious. It was because of Angel - not the mayor. As I've said, there were other ways of getting Faith's blood. Buffy gutted Faith because she wanted revenge. Buffy admitted it - Faith knew it. There is a huge difference between wanting someone dead, and killing them.

I am not saying that Faith was good. I am not saying that she didn't deserve prison later on. What bothers me most of all is the fact that Faith doing evil is used as an excuse for Buffy's attempted murder. It encourages the idea that Faith deserved to die and Buffy was right too kill her. But we see later that Faith was capable of redemption. This is the foundation of the rule against killing humans. Anyone with a soul can be redeemed and deserves that chance.

vampmogs
05-12-18, 09:05 AM
I'm with Dipstick. Buffy not only had the right but the obligation to kill Faith in Graduation Day. Having Faith at the Graduation ceremony would have been disastrous. She'd have either indiscriminately attacked and killed innocent students, attacked Buffy who would have been presumably weakened after feeding herself to Angel, or attacked Angel and eliminated him front the frontlines of their surprise second army which would have allowed the vampires to overwhelm the students (Angel was demolishing vamps left right and centre in Graduation Day II).

Whether or not Buffy was justified to kill Faith to save Angel is largely irrelevant to me. She was justified to kill Faith purely on the basis that she'd be saving innocent lives. IMO Buffy's job description is pretty clear - "She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness." What is Faith if not a force of darkness?

I also disagree with bespangled on a number of her examples. But mainly;



Buffy:Being a Slayer doesn't give me a license to kill. Warren's human.
Dawn: [scoffs] So?
Buffy: So the human world has its own rules for dealing with people like him.

IMO you bolded the wrong part. Buffy does not argue that Warren doesn't deserve to die on the basis that he has a soul or is redeemable. Buffy doesn't argue when Xander says that Warren is "just as bad as any vampire sent to dustville." Buffy argues that the human world has rules for dealing with people like Warren and that he therefore falls outside of Buffy's jurisdiction. The human world does not have rules for dealing with Faith. The series repeatedly shows us that a Slayer cannot be held captive by regular law enforcement/prison against their will;

- Buffy easily overpowers the cop in Becoming II and escapes
- Buffy and Faith easily escape the cops in Bad Girls
- Buffy tells Giles that "the cops wouldn't know what to do with a Slayer even if they knew we existed" in This Years Girl
- Faith easily overpowers the cops in This Years Girl
- Buffy bends the bars of Jonathan and Andrew's prison cell to allow them to escape in Two to Go
- The moment Faith decides she wants to break free from prison in Salvage she effortlessly does.

The human world is ill-equipped to deal with a Slayer who they'd want to imprison against her will. Faith was only in prison as long as she chose to be there. It was a self-imposed imprisonment. Warren is a regular human who can be jailed quite easily when separated from his gadgets.

What do people feel Buffy was prepared to do to save the world from Willow in Grave ("I'm not about to sit back and let Willow destroy what I've chosen to protect. I have to stop her")? Buffy would have killed Willow without a doubt if it came to that and she'd have been entirely justified to do so because the human world is no more equipped to deal with an Uber Witch than it is a Slayer regardless of whether she's human or not.

I also disagree that the series gives a blanket rule about killing humans. A lot of the examples raised do not apply to Faith. With Ted, Buffy explicitly states that she was a Slayer and therefore had no right to hit him like that which doesn't apply to a Slayer VS Slayer battle at all. I've already covered Warren. And Buffy was so devastated by Katrina's death because she believed she killed an [B]innocent woman by mistake. There are numerous examples of Buffy killing humans in battle (the Knights of Byzantium) without blinking an eye or playing a role in their death mid battle (Gwendolyn Post, the swim coach, the zoo keeper) without feeling even a hint of remorse or unease. Granted, Buffy went after Faith but Faith was killing innocent people and was on the eve of participating in a plot to murder the entire town. Buffy also never expresses regret for her decision to kill Faith. She offers Faith another chance in This Years Girl but she never, ever expresses regret or second thoughts about whether going after Faith was morally wrong or out of her jurisdiction to do so.

Humans get elevated in the Buffyverse because of their souls and their capacity to do good/be redeemed but the soul alone is never the primary reason for Buffy doesn't kill them. If it were, then Giles wouldn't ask Buffy if she's prepared to kill Angel again if necessary in Amends if he becomes a threat to them all. If all it took was a soul then Angel would be out of Buffy's jurisdiction and Buffy would have no right/duty as the Slayer to kill him. However, it would be up to Buffy to kill him if necessary because, whilst souled, Angel is also a supernatural threat that couldn't be dealt with by human law. There is little difference with Faith and Angel in this regard and Faith is actually more dangerous ("We have a rogue Slayer on our hands I can't think of anything more dangerous").

Dipstick
05-12-18, 02:22 PM
I'll add a caveat to vampmogs's point which he might even agree with. I think Buffy (or really anyone) has the right to kill superpowered humans if they're on a path of lethal destruction. Faith may have taken a little candy/comic book break in between trying to take Buffy and Angel off the board for the Ascension that night and helping the Mayor Ascend the next morning but she was on a path of total destruction. In that, Buffy slays Faith indirectly because of her rights to defend herself and others. However if a superpowered human had committed destructive acts in the past but is no longer on a path of destruction, I do not believe that Buffy has execution rights because she's the slayer. Buffy (and Giles in The Gift and really anyone) has the right to kill a superpowered human in defense of others but not to dispense their idea of justice. A human does not give up their rights to a trial by jury just because they've acquired or were forcibly given superpowers. For instance while Willow may have welcomed it, I think it would have been just as evil to execute a post-Grave Willow for her acts as Dark Willow as Willow's murder of Rack and Warren. If not more so, given the magical and grief influence affecting Willow.

ghoststar
05-12-18, 04:25 PM
Unpopular opinion: I think that most of the Buffyverse characters have screwed-up and inconsistent views of when homicide is wrong. I’m 100% OK with Buffy killing Faith to save Angel, since Faith’s poisoning of him constitutes a murder in progress and Faith has explicitly and knowingly joined the Big Bad. I’m 100% OK with Willow killing Warren (although not with torturing him first), and I think that Buffy’s speech about human rules is silly: Warren works dark magic and has perfect-replica robot copies of himself ready to go, so, no, the human world does not “have its own rules for dealing with people like him.” Were I to sit on a jury in either Buffy or Willow’s case, I would not hesitate to acquit them.

I’m also OK with— well, not with Buffy (supposedly) killing Katrina per se, but with Buffy not being punished for it. Even before finding out that it was really Warren, Buffy’s story involves, to paraphrase Spike, demons in the woods and time going wonky. She had no reasonable way to anticipate Katrina’s death, nor does she have any plausible hope of the legal system understanding the situation. Had Buffy in fact killed Katrina, it would have been an unfortunate accident on her part. I feel similarly regarding the situation with Faith and the deputy mayor: If minimally-trained teenagers are expected to kill vampires in melee combat in town, then they can also be expected to kill humans who travel with the vampires.

The presence of a soul affects my opinion of how a vampire who has one should be treated for things that they did before they got it, because it constitutes a major change in their personality, perhaps akin to removing a brain tumor or simply “growing up.” It does not, for the most part, change my opinion of whether or not they should be killed for behaviors that they are currently exhibiting. I give ensouled!Angel a complete pass on Drusilla, Acathla, and that poor puppy on the wall, but I think that the informants he beats up would be justified in taking out a hit on him. Just because two people lack legal identities doesn’t mean that one of them is obligated to wait around for the other to come beat them up again.

Additionally, while the change in personality can be massive, it’s a change of perspective rather than a change to one’s inherent morality. Whether or not it’s possible to be good without a soul, it’s certainly possible to be bad with one. Combine intolerable behavior with supernatural powers, and you’ve got a legitimate target for a vigilante staking, whether that leads to blood or dust.

Killings and attempted killings that do bother me: Willow’s of Rack (since he’s no worse than other people the Scoobies have been happy to work tolerate, and is killed for convenience rather than safety); Xander’s of Angel in S3 and Spike in S6; Faith’s of the greedy book-selling demon; Riley’s of Sandy; Buffy’s of the random hooker-vamp; and Anya’s of whomever she’s trying to smite this week. Ben is in a gray area, when you exclude factors that the Scoobies don’t know (like summoning the Queller): Killing him is unjust, but so is letting Glory run free.

As for everybody deserving a chance at redemption— any god capable of reading the depths of your soul is surely capable of taking into account what could have been. Being human, I can only judge by words and deeds, and it would be unwise to wait indefinitely for the chance that a dangerous villain would mend their ways.

Dipstick
05-12-18, 05:05 PM
ghoststar, I agree with your defense of Faith's manslaughter of Finch and Buffy's seeming manslaughter of Katrina going excused by legal authorities.

Here's the tricky thing about Willow v. Warren. I think she was wrong to kill him. However, it's not just an open and shut case of "He's an ordinary human if he can be separated from his toys." I mean, I think that's the case. But Buffy is a little annoying in her banal speech about the human world having laws for him. But we never see Warren shoot magic directly from his person like Willow can. He always needs some kind of toy. However, Warren does always travels with magic tools which he can wield expertly. The obvious plan for the Scoobies was to alert the police to the Trio's crime and then, try to design some kind of trap so that the Scoobies could divest the Trio/Warren of their toys and leave them as defenseless men for the police to arrest. If divested of toys, I see no indication that any member of the Trio can do more to evade the police than your average schmuck. By Gone, the Scoobies already have a crime-of-interest to the police in the theft of the diamonds and an attacks on Buffy's person culminating in the potentially fatal invisibleness. By that point, at the latest, the Scoobies should have trying to figure out how to get the Trio arrested. However, the Scoobies never bother to do that. They don't even pick the d*mn phone to just tip off the police. The police aren't actively considered as the method for dealing with the Trio until Tara is already dead but then, all of a sudden, Buffy can act like the police were always the obvious solution.

However, the Scoobies are inept at pursuing legal action against the Trio even on just a Good Samaritan level because (a) they're paralyzed by their own personal problems but even more because, (b) the Trio are human guys instead of demons to slay but they're also human guys with mystical know-how and they can't just be dumped on the police with only a tip-off phone call. So, the Scoobies had been acting like the Trio was an unsolvable problem for the entire season even as they kept attacking the gang and other innocent residents of Sunnydale. I think that does do its part to put an already furious, magicked out Willow in the headspace that the Trio can only be solved through murder. The Scoobies have already irrationally built up the Trio as an unsolvable problem, even in the weeks when cooler heads could have prevailed.

KingofCretins
05-12-18, 11:29 PM
Short version is, it's not. Homicide itself is a word that includes the premise of injustice -- a homicide is in legal source code an unlawful killing.

This is a point I've made many times about Buffy but it's something I think bears repeating; she has never, not once ever canonically, been the legal proximate cause of a human death under circumstances where she wasn't legally justified in doing so. And when I say that, I'm applying the rules and terms that apply to her whether she was the Slayer or not. Which is to say, not only has she never unlawfully killed, she has never relied on her status as Slayer as a writ of some sort to kill humans. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Killing Faith would have broken that streak easily, because there really was no legal nor moral justification for doing it. Had Buffy killed Faith in the course of stopping her from shooting Angel, to prevent the lethal attack, that is "defense of 3rd party" cut-and-dry. But killing her to take her life in trade for his isn't -- it's just the regular old kind of murder. The very fact that Buffy took the risk herself and survived proves it beyond all reasonable contention -- worst case, could she not have subdued Faith and brought her to Angel to attempt to cure himself under the same conditions he did with Buffy? Yes, of course she could have. She didn't care to; it either never occurred to her until it was her own ass on the line or it did but she didn't see Faith's life as worth demanding that Angel control himself.

At this point I feel I should interject that we really have no idea how the cure operated as a matter of rules. All we know for certain is that the source material said -- correction, we know that Oz described it for our benefit as having said -- draining the blood of a Slayer, and we know that it did not require full and utter exsanguination of the sort we presume a vampire capable. I mean, we don't know if this even required one "sitting". They could have had him drinking some Faith from a straw 3x a day for 10 days until he had consumed the equivalent of a typical volume of blood, etc. Don't really have any basis to know how literally to take that, but we do know this -- Buffy DNGAF about how much wiggle room there was in that cure when it was Faith's life at chance, but suddenly decided it was worth hedging when it was her own. Which on its own settles the question that killing Faith was not a "principle of double effect" application for Buffy, it was a means and an end. And there, to, we lose any choice but to recognize it would have been murder.

I don't find mogs' argument compelling here, because the alternatives were not "dead Faith" or "free range Faith as an active participant in the Mayor's plans". In point of fact, she ended up being neither. A tranq'ed AF Faith being a captive feed bag for Angel is likewise out of the picture. There never was a forced-choice about Faith living or dying to resolve.

By the by, there is a ludicrous annoyance in how they dealt with Finch's death -- Faith acted legitimately in self-defense. It was reasonable under the circumstances to believe that he was one of the may foes attacking them and she behaved accordingly. Again, this isn't about "Slayer rules" this is about how normal humans can act. It was a mistake of fact, but not a mistake of law. It would have been an awkward mess, but a true-enough story could have prevailed, like they had been chased by some men and this guy grabbed her and she had a sharp stick she'd found on the ground and just reacted. Faith never committed a human murder until the volcanologist.

bespangled
06-12-18, 02:56 AM
Vampmogs - You support preemptively killing a person, not because of what they have done but because of what they might do. Not only do I see that as immoral, it's also one helluva slippery slope. Just look at Giles. He preemptively killed Ben on the basis of possible future trouble. That was the first step toward deciding to collude with Wood to kill Spike on the basis of what he might do, and because he wanted more for Buffy.

Based on this ethos you should also believe that Buffy should have killed Willow in season 6, but she never made the attempt. She was desperate to save Willow. Willow had torture murdered Warren, was trying to kill the other two, and was the actively seeking to destroy the world. Giles had her subdued and unable to defend herself. By the standards you've given me Buffy should have gutted Willow while she had the chance. Why didn't she? Willow was far more of a threat than Faith could ever hope to be.

All of the other deaths that Buffy was involved with were immediate reactions to a person in the process doing harm - threats to Buffy, and to her friends. They were no preemptive threats that Buffy decided to eliminate based on the idea that these people could become a threat. The first knight who attacked her, she disarmed and sent off. By the standard you have given she should also have gutted him.

Yes, Buffy never felt any guilt over her decision to kill Faith and feed her to Angel. She never felt any guilt over the severe head trauma Faith was left with. And she never cared about the PTSD that is shown in Faith's dreams before she awakens.

Finally, when Giles was talking to Buffy about the possibility of her having to kill Angel, he clearly meant if Angel was an immediate threat. He didn't suggest or support staking Angel because of what he had done and what he might do.

ghoststar - I like the consistency of your beliefs. I hear what you are saying and I can definitely understand where you are coming from.

But the show is not consistent. You could argue an equivalence between Buffy gutting Faith, and Willow killing Warren. The show does not regard them as equivalent. Willow's season 7 arc is about her coming to terms with the fact that she lost control, that she killed someone and tried to kill others. I agree she had reason enough to kill Warren - Tara died in her arms. But the show is quite clear that in universe that doesn't matter. My objection is exactly the fact that Buffy tried to kill Faith - not to save Angel but to get revenge. Saving Angel would have been a by product, but there were other ways to get Faith's blood.

I do hear what you are saying about justified killing, but I don't know that I would want my life to rest in the hands of anyone who believes I might become a danger. By that standard, when Angel showed up at Giles door in Amends, Giles should have dusted him immediately. There was no way to be certain that he wouldn't lose his soul and go on another killing spree. Angel was allowed to live despite what he had done, and despite the strong possibility that he would lose his soul and do it again because he deserved the chance to redeem himself.

Speaking of Angel - how would he have felt once he recovered knowing that he had killed Faith? Making him a murderer would have had an awful impact on him. Angel believed in redemption, and he believed all humans should be allowed the chance to redeem themselves at this point. Part of the joy of the B-verse is that people screw up. Faith has a redemption arc that is a human version of Angel's arc. Her choice to go to jail reaffirms the belief that people can change.

I think Angel's biggest weakness is that he accepts the fact that he has done evil, but he doesn't always take responsibility. He separates himself into two beings, one of whom is evil and one of whom fights evil. But his situation isn't static. Because he represses the evil within himself he loses control at times (lawyer buffet). Faith also has a black and white vision of herself as time goes on. She sees herself as purely evil and without hope. That is so much easier than recognizing the choices that she does have, and the fact that she always had those choices. Had Buffy killed her she could never have become a force for good.

KingofCretins You said it better than I ever could. Gutting Faith may have been emotionally satisfying to Buffy, but it was an attempt as first degree murder. It was premeditated, and Buffy admitted to everyone involved that her intention was to kill Faith, and then bring her to Angel. Nobody even checked what Oz read as the cure, or other ways of subduing Faith. Taking her blood to cure Angel wouldn't bother me, as long as Faith was not permanently harmed. Fighting her, killing her, and returning with her as a trophy was Buffy's intent and it was beyond wrong.

I think it's important that when Faith tortures Wesley and tries to kill Angel he doesn't give up on her. He knows she is capable of changing. I'm not saying Faith is good - or she should have been allowed to do whatever evil she wanted to do unimpeded, but she was always capable of change.

ghoststar
06-12-18, 05:56 AM
Bespangled You make an interesting point re: The similarities between attempting to kill Faith in “Graduation Day, Part One” and Giles hypothetically killing Angel in “Amends.” Unfortunately, it will probably take me an embarrassing excess of words to circle back to how it’s an interesting point, so I’m going to go ahead and ask you to bear with me.

I don’t consider these two situations that close a match. Granted, it’s made harder if you take Angel, the series, into consideration, since there we find out that accidentally taking a dose of street drugs can bring out Angelus. (How? Is his soul gone, or just dormant? If it is gone, then who does the magically-intensive job of putting it back in him? We saw in S2 that it wouldn’t automatically return when the perfect happiness dwindled. Also, I have some queries about what “perfect happiness” means here, given his history, and what his laundry situation is gonna be after it goes away, but I’m gonna stop there out of respect for people who have standards.) But then, meshing the two series into one continuity never yields satisfactory results, which is a piece of fanwank that I intend to hold onto, no matter what standards I encounter. Anyway, on BtVS, and certainly as far as Giles knows, the only trigger for removing the soul is perfect happiness, something that Angel has experienced exactly once in the last century and that he shows no signs of achieving again. It’s likely that knowing the curse exists, by itself, is enough to keep him from being perfectly happy. Further, for the foreseeable future, he’s going to be mired in centuries’ worth of remembered torture in Acathla’s dimension; his usual isolation from society; the world’s most awkward ambiguous-dating scenario; and, of course, the knowledge of all the people he tortured, stalked, and/or killed from “Innocence” to “Becoming, Part 2.” Perhaps inheriting Angelus’s wicked-cool house, doing tai chi, and occasionally getting a visit from Buffy make him less than perfectly miserable, but it’s hard to imagine him being perfectly happy for years to come, or maybe even ever. Unlike Faith in “Graduation Day,” he does not present an imminent harm, although his presence may aggravate Giles’s trauma and grief. Killing Angel in “Amends” would be wrong. (If you suggested that Buffy should let him commit suicide, in the belief that he was ill-suited to live among humankind and had been even before he was turned, that’d be a different question. I think that, since Buffy, in fact, has no reason to think that there is a place in human society for an ensouled vampire, and treatments for depressed vampires don’t appear to exist, then the Kevorkian option is worth keeping open for a time when evil forces aren’t conspiring to drive him crazier than usual. However, tolerating the suicide of someone whose supposed purpose in the world is to suffer does not equal killing him regardless of whether or not he’s willing to accept the pain.)

On the other hand, if we jump back toAngel, I’m going to admit that I do think that, even as his souled self, Angel crosses several lines for which killing him would be a defensible, if gray, response. Not the one that people usually cite— letting Darla and Drusilla slaughter a room full of attorneys who had literally, knowingly sold their souls to the Big Bad; I see this as no worse than refusing to rescue an enemy platoon known for its atrocities from their own mercenaries that they’d cheated. I’d do it, too, and I doubt I’d feel as guilty.

But— to get back to your original point, which I think was more about killing dangerous souled people in general than Giles’s personal moral calculus—, there are situations where I consider Angel as dangerous as Faith, and would accept killing him, if it were the safest (to others) and most effective means of stopping him. I mentioned, above, that he habitually tortures informants, something that I find infinitely more horrifying than letting your sworn enemies kill each other. If Willy or Merle decided (and somehow managed) to arrange him a date with a stake, I’d say that was fair enough. In seasons 4 and 5, he jumps from street-level thug to corrupt corporate executive with the control, if not the title, of a petty god. He arranges the memory overrwrites of countless people, perhaps millions, since the inhabitants of L.A. generally seem oblivious to its ghost-city status under the Beast. He takes over the L.A. branch, and indirectly all Earth branches, of Wolfram & Hart. He abuses his illegitimate control of the LAPD, pretends to his colleagues that Spike is still a soulless menace, and orders Spike to torture a man.

All this is bad enough, but it gets much worse when he decides to take down the Circle of the Black Thorn. Now, taking down the Circle is not, in itself, wrong. I have no problem with his killing each and every member, both in revenge for their evil schemes and to possibly disrupt the interdimensional cash flow that keeps W&H on top. I do, however, have problems with his acceptance of any means in pursuit of this end. Despite W&H’s ruthlessness, Angel was already protecting the world from much of the firm’s evil. After all, he was a competent manager, and they’d already established that they didn’t care how he made his money, so he already had some power to protect this dimension from the firm’s excesses. He might have even been able to one day learn enough to weaken W&H’s power on an interdimensional scale. Not like he won’t have time.

So, whereas Angel may have believed that his previous misdeeds were for the greater good, or at least that they weren’t apocalyptically destructive, the AI team would have to be far stupider than they are to believe that about his last plan of the series. A god is not threatening to suck all free will out of the universe, unless you count Angel as a god-in-training, which doesn’t sound any better. He’s lost too many people. He’s lost too many times. His city is not in danger; his pride and his self-control are. He wants revenge, and he deserves it, but not at the cost of declaring open war on W&H in the middle of a crowded city that he has repeatedly described as under his protection. That’s not counting the mind-rape of the senatorial candidate, which shocked even Angel’s longtime associates, and presumably a similar assault on the candidate’s fake victim.

I know that this is a long list of crimes that probably the writers and definitely the other characters didn’t view the same way I did, and I want to make clear that I don’t hate Angel, not even at his (ensouled) worst. He’s doing evil, noun, but I don’t think he’s exactly evil, adjective, himself. If someone stopped him, I wouldn’t want to see Angel punished after the fact, beyond being booted from power. If he could be stopped (again, safely and effectively) by nonlethal means, then I would want them used, rather than killing.

Still, when you strip it down, there’s a point at which I’d condone lethal violence against Angel, soul or no soul. Giles is nowhere near that point in “Amends,” but it exists and you can see it in S5, even if the other characters downplay the moral dilemma of their situation once Angel reveals his plan.

bespangled
06-12-18, 11:59 AM
According to Angel in his series, he spent a century in Acathla's hell. "I got stuck in a hell dimension by my girlfriend one time for a hundred years,

Gotta say, I have to disagree about that room full of attorneys. All we know is that they worked for W&H. You assume that every person in the room deserved to be murdered without knowing any more than Holland, Lilah and Lindsey. Again, it's about killing for cause - killing to prevent others being killed. Not for what they might have done, or what they might do. Similarly Faith in Graduation day doesn't present an imminent danger. She is dancing in her bedroom when Buffy arrives.

As far as Angel's soul is concerned we know that when the gypsies cursed him they had one hidden clause that was triggered by a moment of pure happiness. That actually gives more of a possibility of other hidden clauses. We also know that the spell was lost and Jenny tried to recreate it. We know that 16 year old with very little experience recursed him. There is reason enough to believe that there may be other triggers. But I tend to see Angel as far more complex than the divided identity version. Angel and Angelus have a lot in common. They just tend to direct their energies toward different purposes.

I don't believe Giles had the right to stake Angel, but I also don't believe that Buffy had the right to gut Faith. Even when Buffy and Fath are together in season 6, Buffy never acknowledges anything she did wrong. Faith apologized to everyone she could, and did everything she could to make things right - and Buffy never said "Gee, maybe I lost my temper when tried to murder you, I gutted you and left you to die"

Andrew S.
07-12-18, 07:31 PM
For all of the people who say that Buffy was wrong for going after Faith in exchange for Angel's life in "Graduation Day", I'm curious to know... what would you have done in that situation? Buffy gets a lot of criticism for what she did, but what other alternative was there for her besides letting Angel die? I've scanned the thread and I've yet to see anyone mention a valid reason for why Buffy shouldn't gone after Faith besides answers that essentially boil down to "We don't kill humans but we'll let other humans kill humans and do nothing about it". Meanwhile, people have brought up multiple reasons why Buffy was justified.

1) Faith was murdering humans repeatedly and helping to participate in an apocalypse the next day, with no intentions to stop.
2) Human law could not subdue her. Not only was she a Slayer, but she was under the Mayor's protection.
3) Faith was the one who created the situation in the first place. It wasn't a simple matter of choosing one person's life over the other, but a matter of saving a victim from the actions of their attacker.
4) It was only a matter of time before Buffy and Faith had to face each other anyway and it would have been ridiculously idiotic for Buffy to let Angel die, only to end up killing Faith 24 hours later in combat at the graduation ceremony.

If anything, I think Buffy was more generous to Faith in that situation than she could have been. Faith shot Angel from an unseen location while his back was turned in an extremely cowardly and underhanded move. And instead of doing a similar thing (catching Faith off-guard, bringing a tranq gun or a group of people to help her subdue Faith), Buffy instead comes to Faith as a woman and challenges her to a one-on-one fist fight, giving Faith the right to fight for her life (which is more than Faith gave Angel).

I think the "Graduation Day" moral dilemma would have been way better if someone else other than Faith had poisoned Angel, but Buffy still decided to have Angel drain her. It definitely would make me question Buffy if, after weeks/months of maintaining that she didn't have the right to kill Faith (which I actually disagree with - IMO, Buffy would have been justified in taking Faith down anytime after she joined the Mayor and began killing people - but nevertheless, that's her position...), she all of a sudden decided to do it to save Angel from a situation that had nothing to do with Faith. But the fact that Faith was the one who poisoned Angel automatically makes it a no-brainer that Buffy was right to go after her to save him, IMO.

On Warren: I think Willow was wrong to kill him. However, if killing him meant bringing Tara back to life, she would have been justified considering he was Tara's actual murderer.

KingofCretins
08-12-18, 02:36 AM
For all of the people who say that Buffy was wrong for going after Faith in exchange for Angel's life in "Graduation Day", I'm curious to know... what would you have done in that situation? Buffy gets a lot of criticism for what she did, but what other alternative was there for her besides letting Angel die? I've scanned the thread and I've yet to see anyone mention a valid reason for why Buffy shouldn't gone after Faith besides answers that essentially boil down to "We don't kill humans but we'll let other humans kill humans and do nothing about it". Meanwhile, people have brought up multiple reasons why Buffy was justified.

For my part, asked and answered -- go, subdue and capture her, and hell, by all means let Angel feed on her incrementally but to the very clear exclusion of murdering her.

What nobody is able to spell out is a valid "forced choice", which is at the nature of the justifiable use of deadly force. There was no point at which Faith was an imminent threat to then-and-there cause a death that could only reasonably be prevented by killing her. And that includes the cure, because, guys... for good and all and final... we know with absolute metaphysical certainty that the cure did not require fatal draining. It's just that when it was Buffy's blood, we cared enough to find that out and when it was Faith apparently we did not. That doesn't get it done. Frankly, I don't find the argument that compelling even if it did require fatal draining. Had she dusted him and Oz found a spell that allowed Faith to be killed in sacrifice to some upper demon that would bring Angel back from the dead, would that too have been justified? Of course not. It would have been murder. So too was Buffy's Plan A.

DeepBlueJoy
08-12-18, 01:09 PM
I don't think Buffy was wrong to a) try to save her strongest fighter b) use his murderer's blood to do it c) take a dangerous traitor out.

I don't think Willow was wrong to take Warren out. Had she not been addicted and out of control & had she stopped with Warren, I would not have lost a moment's sleep. Warren needed stopping and he had put himself beyond human law.

The difference was that Buffy was running on the mission as much as lashing out at Faith. Angel was arguably necessary to the fight. Faith was a huge threat. Buffy was sacrificial AEB her own gift of blood.

By contrast, Willow was running on rage and arrogance and finally on mad grief - and that, not killing Warren was wrong. If she had simply directed warren's bullet at his head and simply killed him fast after slowly moving the bullet to show him the horror of what he had done, if she had then collapsed in tears in Buffy and Xander's arms, few of us would have faulted her.

Buffy never abuses her power even when angry and grief struck. Willow does.

Edit: Buffy would have been more than justified in putting Willow down. She was a demonstrated threat to all & unstoppable by pretty much anything than a long distance sniper or the slayer. Thank god for best friends and yellow crayons!

vampmogs
08-12-18, 01:21 PM
Vampmogs - You support preemptively killing a person, not because of what they have done but because of what they might do.

I support making a preemptive strike to take out an enemy solider on the eve of war. The same way I'd support Buffy taking out the vampire henchmen prior to Graduation Day to eliminate the Mayor's ranks. The same way I supported Buffy going after the Box of Gavrock instead of "sitting on their hands counting down to Ascension Day." It's war. Faith fired the first shot with the intention of taking out an enemy fighter pre-battle and distracting Buffy in the process. Buffy fired back in retaliation. If Faith didn't want a target on her back then she probably shouldn't have fired that bow *shrugs*


Just look at Giles. He preemptively killed Ben on the basis of possible future trouble.

I mean, a *lot* of people support Giles in The Gift. People tend to argue that Giles probably saved all their lives as Glory would almost certainly come back looking for vengeance and Buffy, being dead an' all, wouldn't be there to protect the Scoobies (if she even could). Me? I think it's largely forgotten what was stated by the General in Spiral when he says that if Glory misses her shot to return home that "the will of the Beast will be broken" and that she'd "fade. A distant memory." Regardless, I don't see it as the same situation at all, really. Smothering a defenceless Ben who can't move is not remotely the same thing as Buffy facing Faith, Slayer VS Slayer, in what is probably the fairest fight of the whole damn show.


Based on this ethos you should also believe that Buffy should have killed Willow in season 6, but she never made the attempt. She was desperate to save Willow. Willow had torture murdered Warren, was trying to kill the other two, and was the actively seeking to destroy the world. Giles had her subdued and unable to defend herself. By the standards you've given me Buffy should have gutted Willow while she had the chance. Why didn't she? Willow was far more of a threat than Faith could ever hope to be.

Again, not the same situation. Willow's actions in Villains - Grave take place *literally* in less than 24 hours. I completely understand why Buffy would spend time trying to reason with Willow when she hadn't made a commitment to evil over weeks, if not months, like Faith had, and who, like Willow, Buffy had also tried to reason with on multiple occasions. Besides, I already stated that I believe that Buffy was *fully prepared* to kill Willow if necessary and I am completely convinced Buffy had already psyched herself up to kill her when stuck in the grave ("I'm not about to let Willow destroy everything I have chosen to protect. I have to stop her"). But I have absolutely no problem with Buffy trying to reason with Willow before resorting to killing her. The same way I had no problem with Buffy not immediately going after Faith in Season 3.


She never felt any guilt over the severe head trauma Faith was left with.

Err why would *Buffy* feel guilt over the severe head trauma *Faith caused herself* when *Faith* threw *herself* off the building in one final act of spite to ensure that Angel would still *die* because Buffy wouldn't be able to feed him her blood? :headscratch:


And she never cared about the PTSD that is shown in Faith's dreams before she awakens.

Buffy isn't privy to Faith's dreams. Not that I think she'd be obliged to care even if she was, mind you. Faith's dreams in This Years Girl are absolute whack. She'd actually convinced herself that Buffy was some monster terrorising her as if she hadn't been working for The Mayor, hadn't attempted to torture and kill Buffy, hadn't been butchering defenceless old men, and hadn't tried to condemn Angel to an agonising "painful" death. I'm far less concerned with Buffy not caring about Faith's PTSD in her dreams (:headscratch:) than I am Faith's subconscious not having any guilt whatsoever about all the trauma she's caused *everyone else* and somehow convincing herself that *she* (and The Mayor) are the real victims.



If anything, I think Buffy was more generous to Faith in that situation than she could have been. Faith shot Angel from an unseen location while his back was turned in an extremely cowardly and underhanded move. And instead of doing a similar thing (catching Faith off-guard, bringing a tranq gun or a group of people to help her subdue Faith), Buffy instead comes to Faith as a woman and challenges her to a one-on-one fist fight, giving Faith the right to fight for her life (which is more than Faith gave Angel).

THIS. I can't at people acting as if Faith is a victim. Faith's a Slayer. Buffy faced her fair and square and gave her ample opportunity to defend herself. I can't think of a single other battle on the show that is as evenly matched and 'fair' as Buffy and Faith. As you say, Buffy could've literally shot Faith in the back when she snuck into her apartment. But instead she announced her presence and faced Faith head on and made it explicitly clear what her intentions were. Likewise, Faith made it explicitly clear what the terms of their battle was too ("You know you're not going to take me alive").

Dipstick
08-12-18, 01:26 PM
For my part, asked and answered -- go, subdue and capture her, and hell, by all means let Angel feed on her incrementally but to the very clear exclusion of murdering her.

What nobody is able to spell out is a valid "forced choice", which is at the nature of the justifiable use of deadly force. There was no point at which Faith was an imminent threat to then-and-there cause a death that could only reasonably be prevented by killing her. And that includes the cure, because, guys... for good and all and final... we know with absolute metaphysical certainty that the cure did not require fatal draining. It's just that when it was Buffy's blood, we cared enough to find that out and when it was Faith apparently we did not. That doesn't get it done. Frankly, I don't find the argument that compelling even if it did require fatal draining. Had she dusted him and Oz found a spell that allowed Faith to be killed in sacrifice to some upper demon that would bring Angel back from the dead, would that too have been justified? Of course not. It would have been murder. So too was Buffy's Plan A.

Buffy didn't try incremental bleeding or any safeguards on her blood. If she really expected that Angel didn't need to kill her to be cured, she could have approached her own blood-donation more safely by asking friends to stay to intercede and pull Angel off her if it looked like he was healing or to try bleeding into a cup and them feeding the cup to Angel instead of feeding herself. I believe that Buffy donates her blood from the most dangerous place by presenting her neck instead of offering Angel her arm or her leg. Buffy had a pie-in-the-sky hope that Angel could stop himself but she wasn't operating like she could do anything to guarantee her life as well as cure Angel. No one was operating like either slayer could survive this.

ETA


I mean, a *lot* of people support Giles in The Gift. People tend to argue that Giles probably saved all their lives as Glory would almost certainly come back looking for vengeance and Buffy, being dead an' all, wouldn't be there to protect the Scoobies (if she even could). Me? I think it's largely forgotten what was stated by the General in Spiral when he says that if Glory misses her shot to return home that "the will of the Beast will be broken" and that she'd "fade. A distant memory." Regardless, I don't see it as the same situation at all, really. Smothering a defenceless Ben who can't move is not remotely the same thing as Buffy facing Faith, Slayer VS Slayer, in what is probably the fairest fight of the whole damn show.

Giles was pretty much unconscious when the General gave that exposition. Giles genuinely believed that Glory would come back after this night even they saved Dawn to torment the gang and brainsuck and wreak havoc on the world. That was his stated reason for killing.

vampmogs
08-12-18, 01:38 PM
Buffy didn't try incremental bleeding or any safeguards on her blood. If she really expected that Angel didn't need to kill her to be cured, she could have approached her own blood-donation more safely by asking friends to stay to intercede and pull Angel off her if it looked like he was healing or to try bleeding into a cup and them feeding the cup to Angel instead of feeding herself. I believe that Buffy donates her blood from the most dangerous place by presenting her neck instead of offering Angel her arm or her leg. Buffy had a pie-in-the-sky hope that Ange could stop himself but she wasn't operating like she could do anything to guarantee her life as well as cure Angel. No one was operating like either slayer could survive this.

Yep. It's explicitly stated in the episode - "If Angel drains Faith's blood it will kill her."

Even Angel tells Buffy that "it'll kill [Buffy]" which, after all, is the entire reason he tries to run away from her.

Buffy survived out of sheer dumb luck (and let's be honest, the writers wanting to have their cake and eat it too) and *nobody* was under the impression that the Slayer would survive the draining. If they honestly believed they could just drip feed Angel some Slayer's blood does anybody really think Buffy would waste anytime doing so whilst Angel's laying in agonising pain on his death bed? She'd have just done this immediately. Scenes such as Buffy going after Faith and Angel biting Buffy are *entirely* dependant on the premise that the Slayer will *die.* Otherwise, Angel looks pretty damn silly pleading with Buffy not to make him do it and running away and collapsing if it's no big deal, doesn't he?



Giles was pretty much unconscious when the General gave that exposition. Giles genuinely believed that Glory would come back after this night even they saved Dawn to torment the gang and brainsuck and wreak havoc on the world. That was his stated reason for killing.

Oh I agree. I was more talking about fandom. It's not uncommon for fans to accuse Buffy of being reckless and stupid for allowing Ben/Glory to survive knowing that "Glory will make Buffy pay for that mercy and the world with her." I just never see it mentioned that it was actually stated in the text that Glory's failure in The Gift should have incapacitated her permanently if the General is to be believed. You're right that Giles didn't know this.

Dipstick
08-12-18, 01:48 PM
Oh I agree. I was more talking about fandom. It's not uncommon for fans to accuse Buffy of being reckless and stupid for allowing Ben/Glory to survive knowing that "Glory will make Buffy pay for that mercy and the world with her." I just never see it mentioned that it was actually stated in the text that Glory's failure in The Gift should have incapacitated her permanently if the General is to be believed. You're right that Giles didn't know this.

Oh, Ok- then sure. I think Giles was justified to seize this opportunity to eliminate Glory by killing Ben when defenseless and right in front of Giles. But I have a tremendous problem with how it seems like Giles didn't tell the gang what he did and to some degree, that secrecy colors how I see his interactions with the gang in S6-7. It's a pretty important honor thing that Buffy told the gang that she'd be trying to kill Faith.

KingofCretins
08-12-18, 03:00 PM
Guys, who... who are you kidding? I said "incremental" in the context of an executed plan while Angel still had some vitality, but the final analysis here is still this, only this:

When Angel was getting near the end, and Buffy herself was the only vehicle by which the cure could be attempted, suddenly the life of the Slayer in question was a relevant concern. The first and only time the survival of the Slayer in question mattered to her at all was when it was her living or dying. I'm shocked you guys won't admit how incredibly damning that is to the moral gravity of her attitude toward Faith.


Yep. It's explicitly stated in the episode - "If Angel drains Faith's blood it will kill her."

Even Angel tells Buffy that "it'll kill [Buffy]" which, after all, is the entire reason he tries to run away from her.

Buffy survived out of sheer dumb luck (and let's be honest, the writers wanting to have their cake and eat it too) and *nobody* was under the impression that the Slayer would survive the draining. If they honestly believed they could just drip feed Angel some Slayer's blood does anybody really think Buffy would waste anytime doing so whilst Angel's laying in agonising pain on his death bed? She'd have just done this immediately. Scenes such as Buffy going after Faith and Angel biting Buffy are *entirely* dependant on the premise that the Slayer will *die.* Otherwise, Angel looks pretty damn silly pleading with Buffy not to make him do it and running away and collapsing if it's no big deal, doesn't he?

On the contrary, we can't conclude otherwise than that Buffy lived due to Angel's conscious effort not to drain all her blood. He stopped feeding. We saw it happen after the awkward kick-gasm thing. Buffy's very words were "maybe not - not if you don't take it all". There is absolutely no evidence at hand by which we can infer that's not, then, what Angel did in the moment. No dialogue to suggest that's outside the vampire move-set (in fact it's explicitly *in* the vampire move-set, since it's the first stage to turning someone). There's no factual reason to conclude that's not exactly what happened -- Angel let off when she still might have a chance and it was still enough to cure him.

Like I said, pretty damning that this wasn't worth the same hedge with Faith; either drugged and unconscious or chained and wriggling as you like -- instead of Buffy's intention which was to drag a fresh corpse to him as far as I can tell. I mean, doesn't that alone spell out that Buffy wanted Faith dead as an end unto itself when she set out? The only way you could even argue that it doesn't, is if you seriously figure that the first time this even occurred to her or anyone else for that matter that "drained" needn't definitively mean "killed" was in her walk back to the mansion from having failed the "Capture Faith for Angel" side quest.

We can also dismiss out of hand that her mission to murder Faith was an essential component in stopping the Mayor's plans or the Ascension. We are in fact reminded immediately that her immediate move on Faith was an example of her getting sidetracked. In his ignored argument, Wesley correctly defines the choice at hand as Buffy's reaction to Angel's situation vs. on-going preparation for the Ascension. And that, of course, was the Mayor's explicit intent in having Faith use the poison in the first place, so all sides agree that Buffy focusing on Angel to the exclusion of all else was the Mayor getting what he wanted at the time.* Say Angel is never shot -- any plan the Scoobies had for the Ascension was going to have a contingency for how to put Faith in check. Maybe it still would have involved ambushing her alone before hand, chaining her up in the Mansion again or whatever. They were never facing the question of going to Graduation with "we're screwed if Faith is involved", or they'd have, y'know, just run away at that point I guess? Point is, they were always going to do something about her and we can probably all admit that it was a non-lethal something as best as circumstances would allow.

I'll paragraph to point out that, again, events prove my side on this -- she was out of commission for graduation without being killed, or Angel's cure for that matter. What happened by happenstance could have happened by intent. They could have kept her doped up in the old factory or the Master's abandoned cave or Xander's basement for that matter if they'd set a plan upon it. All of which is to say, it's a straw argument to insert the idea that Buffy's plan to murder her and feed her to Angel was in no way essential to or really even relevant to stopping the Ascension. The two things got nothing to do with each other; if you want to defend killing Faith, defend it on its own merits of having her dead and as use for an Angel cure.

And we're talking about three different scenarios in general here, and they really aren't comparable.

A) Buffy setting out to kill Faith, with the factually untrue idea in mind that Faith's death was sine qua non to save Angel's life.
B) Giles smothering Ben, with the unfortunately true fact in mind that his death is Glory's only definitive weakness.
C) Willow immolating Warren**, with the fact in mind that he killed Tara and she wanted him dead for revenge.

These aren't decisions with very similar moral questions at all. I haven't dipped into the other two but I'd point out about Giles that he doesn't think he's doing anything particularly good or just.

* Oh what a ceaselessly interesting question it is to wonder whether Wilkins knew about the cure and how all those dominoes might fall when it was put into use, when he chose it. Which is not to ask "did he set Faith up?" - Evil though he is, I don't think so and I don't think his reaction to the scene at her apartment is him having "buyer's remorse" over a plan to set her up. But it does make the question of "did he know about the cure but seriously only think Buffy would volunteer herself to save Angel and never go homicidal?"

** I defend Season 8 in many things since it ended up being the only comic season that was even kinda good in retrospect, but they should feel genuine literary shame for retconning this.

Andrew S.
09-12-18, 08:13 PM
When Angel was getting near the end, and Buffy herself was the only vehicle by which the cure could be attempted, suddenly the life of the Slayer in question was a relevant concern. The first and only time the survival of the Slayer in question mattered to her at all was when it was her living or dying. I'm shocked you guys won't admit how incredibly damning that is to the moral gravity of her attitude toward Faith.

For the record, Buffy's decision to sacrifice/risk herself by letting Angel feed on her is something that has never sat well with me. I can sort of sympathize with why she did it -- sacrificing Angel in "Becoming" destroyed her, which I think drives her refusal to let it happen again -- but it was still incredibly reckless and short-sighted of her. If anything, THAT distracted her from focusing on the task at hand (the Ascension) more than going after Faith did.


For my part, asked and answered -- go, subdue and capture her, and hell, by all means let Angel feed on her incrementally but to the very clear exclusion of murdering her.

As vampmogs said, it was pure luck that Buffy survived Angel feeding her so I really don't see how your alternative is any better. Letting Angel feed on *anyone* in that circumstance is a huge risk to their life. The fact that Angel stopped was miraculous and he would have been wayyy less motivated to do so had it been Faith that he was feeding on.


I'll paragraph to point out that, again, events prove my side on this -- she was out of commission for graduation without being killed, or Angel's cure for that matter. What happened by happenstance could have happened by intent. They could have kept her doped up in the old factory or the Master's abandoned cave or Xander's basement for that matter if they'd set a plan upon it. All of which is to say, it's a straw argument to insert the idea that Buffy's plan to murder her and feed her to Angel was in no way essential to or really even relevant to stopping the Ascension.

And when the Ascension was over, then what would you have done with Faith? Keep her drugged up and captured for the rest of her life? Ascension or not, she was an extreme danger. Once it was over, she would have came back for revenge on all of them. "This Year's Girl" and "Five by Five" proves that. Like I said, a final battle between Buffy and Faith was inevitable. Buffy was justified in going after Faith the same way cops are justified in going after mass murderers and shooting them when they resist arrest.


The two things got nothing to do with each other; if you want to defend killing Faith, defend it on its own merits of having her dead and as use for an Angel cure.

Have you been reading the thread? Multiple people have done that.

bespangled
10-12-18, 02:40 AM
Giles: (torn from his reverie) What? Oh, sorry. Um, no, it... (picks up
the notebook) I just wonder if we're looking for a thing. The use of a
symbol o-o-on a victim like this suggests a, a ritual murder and a cult
sacrifice by a group.

Buffy: A group of... human beings? Someone with a soul did this?

Giles: Yes, I'm afraid so.

He goes over to the bookshelves behind the table and starts his
research.

Buffy: Okay. Then while you're looking for the meaning of that symbol
thingy, could you also find a loophole in that 'Slayers don't kill
people' rule?

Dealing with a cult of humans who are hunting down and killing children - still slayers can't kill humans. So killing Faith because she's bad is out of the picture. Killing Faith because she is a danger to others is out of the picture. Killing Faith because she has special powers and would be hard to deal with is out of the picture in the B-vers. The reason is that the shows are about working your way through the mistakes you make and finding some sort of redemption.

Remove the supernatural - let's say Faith gave Angel something to induce immediate liver failure. Faith is a perfect match, and Buffy knows it. Would it be a dark action for Buffy to go gut Faith, with the intention of killing her and taking her liver? In this universe the answer is no. Unfair things happen - horrible things are done to others. In this universe there is a strong moral and ethical structure.


Whistler: Bottom line is, even if you see 'em coming, you're not ready
for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it
does. So what are we, helpless? Puppets? No. The big moments are
gonna come. You can't help that. It's what you do afterwards that
counts. That's when you find out who you are.

Is Buffy at heart a murderer? Is revenge a good reason to kill? In the B-verse it is not. This is why Xander says he doesn't want to lose Buffy. This is why Buffy fights not to lose Willow.

Angel: "Where are you gonna go? Back out in that darkness? (Faith hesitates then keeps walking) I once told you that you didn't have to go out in that darkness. (Faith slowly comes to a stop her back to Angel) Remember? That it was your choice. Well, you chose. - You thought that you could just touch it. (Walks slowly closer) That you'd be okay. - 5x5, right, Faith? - But it swallowed you whole. - So tell me -(comes to stand behind her) - how did you like it?"

I think Angel would have preferred to die rather than find out that Buffy murdered a human and fed her to him while he was unable to consent. He has spent so much time trying to regain control over himself, trying to atone for the brutal killings he committed so recently.

He knows Faith - and he holds on to the belief that he himself can achieve some sort of redemption simply because he knows all souled creatures can redeem themselves. He wouldn't want her or any human dead to save him.

Angel: "There is no real simple answer to that. - I won't lie to you and tell you that it'll be easy - because it won't be. - Just because you've decided to change doesn't mean that the world is ready for you to. - The truth is - no matter how much you suffer, no matter how many good deeds you do to try to make up for the past - you may never balance out the cosmic scale. - The only thing I can promise you is that you'll probably be haunted - and may be for the rest of your life."

ANGEL
Good.
(starts to walk out, but stops at the door)
Listen, Gunn... I know you feel bad about your part in what happened to Fred. And you should. For the rest of your life, it should wake you up in the middle of the night. And it will...because you're a good man. You signed a piece of paper, that's all.

GUNN
But I knew. Not about Fred, but... when I signed, I knew there would be consequences.

ANGEL
You know, the thing about atonement is, you never run out of chances... but you gotta take 'em. You can't hide in some hospital room and pretend it's all gonna go away... 'cause it never will.

The great thing about this is we can argue how you regard certain actions, but there is one clear message.

KingofCretins
10-12-18, 03:12 AM
At the top, and I can't repeat this enough -- every attempt to cast "go kill Faith" and "she'll help the Mayor/Angel will die/she'll be an otherwise unstoppable threat for as long as she leaves/etc/ad infinitum" as a forced choice is dead on arrival. The problem is, this isn't an abstract question, it's a historical one. You can't make moral argument about a historical "A" vs. "B" choice when what actually happened was "C", where "C" equals... none of that. She wasn't killed... and she didn't help the Mayor, Angel didn't die, and she ceased in fairly near order to cease being an unstoppable threat. In point of fact, it was within... what, 3-5 days of coming out of her coma?

So all forced choice ethical arguments are simply... false. It's a settled fact of the canonical history of events, the argued hazards of not killing her then and there were not true. It could have been prevented by other means because it literally was.


For the record, Buffy's decision to sacrifice/risk herself by letting Angel feed on her is something that has never sat well with me. I can sort of sympathize with why she did it -- sacrificing Angel in "Becoming" destroyed her, which I think drives her refusal to let it happen again -- but it was still incredibly reckless and short-sighted of her. If anything, THAT distracted her from focusing on the task at hand (the Ascension) more than going after Faith did.

Well, there's a whole separate bag of nonsense to unpack in analyzing Buffy making that decision, but it's spurious here -- what is salient is that she cared about her own chance of survival but not at all for Faith's. I don't think she should have done it anymore than I think she should have fed Faith to him. I mean, how far into "Vampire Diaries" ethics are we going to delve? Had the cure required (in keeping with Giles' sense of taste in such matters) the still beating heart of a virgin, we assume - I think - that not only would Buffy not have considered it, the others would have prepared to forcibly intervene to prevent anyone from trying it. Honestly I've never considered "unfortunately, Angel dies to the poison" an prevent-at-all-cost outcome. Is it any different than the many times procedural crime shows have played the "still living murder victim" that was victim of a fatal radiation attack? Not really.


As vampmogs said, it was pure luck that Buffy survived Angel feeding her so I really don't see how your alternative is any better. Letting Angel feed on *anyone* in that circumstance is a huge risk to their life. The fact that Angel stopped was miraculous and he would have been wayyy less motivated to do so had it been Faith that he was feeding on.

Zero vs. non-zero probability is as significant a distinction as one could make in moral questions of murder. All we know for certain is that the required "dose" is non-total exsanguination sufficient to be survivable, at least given the recuperative abilities of a Slayer. The rest is experimental.


And when the Ascension was over, then what would you have done with Faith? Keep her drugged up and captured for the rest of her life? Ascension or not, she was an extreme danger. Once it was over, she would have came back for revenge on all of them. "This Year's Girl" and "Five by Five" proves that. Like I said, a final battle between Buffy and Faith was inevitable. Buffy was justified in going after Faith the same way cops are justified in going after mass murderers and shooting them when they resist arrest.

Well, based on empirical data, 8-10 months on ice is enough to get her to chill for a minute. You are neglecting some events in "This Year's Girl"; aside from her mugging that girl for her clothes, which while extreme was not homicidal, Faith was not immediately on a course for revenge, she was sort of aimlessly taking in the passage of time and events without any clearly outward defined intentions, until she was found by Wilkins' delivery demon. It was his dead letter and the present it included that steered her, it wasn't what she rolled out of bed with. Obviously that wouldn't have come up had she been in the keeping of Giles, a cured Angel if such existed, or what have you.

Other empirical data we have is that a captive, conscious Faith was not beyond reach psychologically; Angel was doing just fine at it until Wesley intervened. Had he survived his poisoning by whatever means that didn't kill Faith, I don't think of any reason he wouldn't have tried again, since he was right back to it pretty quickly when she confronted him in Los Angeles.


Have you been reading the thread? Multiple people have done that.

Sure. But maybe I'm not clear -- I don't need justifications for killing Faith based on her being an irredeemable threat (because it wasn't true), or as a necessity to curing Angel (again, not true), or because she was otherwise an insurmountable obstacle to stopping the Ascension (seeing the theme here?). If one wants to justify killing her in "Graduation", it can really only stand on arguments that she deserved to die for what she had already done, not because of what she might do but factually, historically did not; and that it was proper that Buffy be the one to kill her.

vampmogs
10-12-18, 04:34 AM
Giles: (torn from his reverie) What? Oh, sorry. Um, no, it... (picks up
the notebook) I just wonder if we're looking for a thing. The use of a
symbol o-o-on a victim like this suggests a, a ritual murder and a cult
sacrifice by a group.

Buffy: A group of... human beings? Someone with a soul did this?

Giles: Yes, I'm afraid so.

He goes over to the bookshelves behind the table and starts his
research.

Buffy: Okay. Then while you're looking for the meaning of that symbol
thingy, could you also find a loophole in that 'Slayers don't kill
people' rule?

Dealing with a cult of humans who are hunting down and killing children - still slayers can't kill humans. So killing Faith because she's bad is out of the picture. Killing Faith because she is a danger to others is out of the picture. Killing Faith because she has special powers and would be hard to deal with is out of the picture in the B-vers. The reason is that the shows are about working your way through the mistakes you make and finding some sort of redemption.

Remove the supernatural - let's say Faith gave Angel something to induce immediate liver failure. Faith is a perfect match, and Buffy knows it. Would it be a dark action for Buffy to go gut Faith, with the intention of killing her and taking her liver? In this universe the answer is no. Unfair things happen - horrible things are done to others. In this universe there is a strong moral and ethical structure.

To be completely honest... "the show says it's wrong!" carries almost no weight with me whatsoever in terms of whether *I* think it's moral or not. I disagree with a lot of the things the show says is right. So, if your argument essentially boils down to 'Well the show wants you to see it as wrong', even if I thought the series did present it as black and white as that, my rebuttal is simply I don't care. All the series does is present me with complex situation's to interpret and debate. It doesn't get to dictate to me my own morality.

I mean, I have no doubt the show actually wants me to accept Faith's ridiculous "What are you going to do, B? Kill me? You become me" as some profound truth. I don't. Killing Faith to save a life/lives is not remotely the same thing as Faith butchering people to end innocent lives or Faith sadistically torturing people out of jealousy etc. A person can try and tell me Buffy and Faith are the same person until the cows go home but they'd be wasting their time because a) I don't take moral advice from a woman who justifies murder on the basis that she had an unfair life or b) ascribe to 'blanket morality' where the individual circumstances of a situation are entirely ignored.

That said, I don't find the series as clear cut as you do in terms of it's stance on killing humans. I mean, for one thing, who exactly decided that a Slayer doesn't get to kill humans? The Council? Because a) since when do we listen to them about anything and, b) they tried to kill Faith themselves when they deemed her too much of a threat? Giles? Because whilst I think Giles believes in this rule on a day-to-day basis he also screamed at Buffy, his Slayer, for not being willing to discuss killing Dawn, remember? Or is it Buffy? Because Buffy does feel justified in going after Faith so Buffy obviously feels that Faith doesn't fall into this category. The show never actually explains this.

Furthermore, if we take our moral cues from the show than the decision to go after Faith is... murky at best. The series definitely plays into the "you kill me you become me/"you told me I was just like you" bullshit and it avoids having Buffy actually successfully kill Faith. However, it also has the entire Scooby Gang aid Buffy in hunting Faith down so she can kill her and besides Xander's "I don't want to lose you" concerns, which he then puts aside and does exactly as Buffy asks of him, none of them feel uneasy about this. Angel also suggests draining Faith as I've already said above and then nobody expresses remorse or regret about the decision to kill Faith in Season 4 ("You had it coming"). The show absolutely does not treat this the same way it treats Willow killing Warren etc.

And as for the characters themselves; they're a mix of opinions about killing humans. Xander and Dawn both feel that Warren should die and neither of them ever express a change of heart about this. As I said above, the Scoobies all aid Buffy in hunting Faith down so Buffy can kill her. And Willow actually seems pretty non-regretful about killing Warren in Season 7 ("I killed him for a reason"). Giles also believed in killing both Ben and Spike (ensouled) for the greater good. There isn't a blanket moral code that all our heroes ascribe to. It gets even murkier when you take into account Angel which has various characters such as Angel and Wesley kill enemy humans or even characters like Cordy egging Angel on to kill men such as Holtz ("Kill him. He took Connor's childhood away so... kill him").


I think Angel would have preferred to die rather than find out that Buffy murdered a human and fed her to him while he was unable to consent.

On the contrary, Angel explicitly offers up Faith as an option when Buffy tells him the blood of a Slayer will cure him;

BUFFY
Angel, the blood of a Slayer is the only cure

ANGEL
Faith...

BUFFY
I tried. I killed her.

ANGEL
Then it's over


Angel was fully on board to drain Faith.



You are neglecting some events in "This Year's Girl"; aside from her mugging that girl for her clothes, which while extreme was not homicidal, Faith was not immediately on a course for revenge, she was sort of aimlessly taking in the passage of time and events without any clearly outward defined intentions, until she was found by Wilkins' delivery demon.

Faith *explicitly states* to Buffy that she's out for revenge;

BUFFY
Are you alright?

FAITH
Five by Five. That's the thing about a coma, you come out all rested and rejuvenated... and ready for payback

BUFFY
So much for pleasantries, huh?

FAITH
What you thought I'd wake up and we'd go for tea? You tried to gut me blondie

BUFFY
You'd have done the same thing to me if you had the chance

FAITH
So lets have another go at it. See who lands on top.

BUFFY
It doesn't have to be like this you know

FAITH
Actually it has to be exactly like this

Why else does she confront Buffy on campus? Buffy offers her the opportunity to go about things differently and Faith rejects her completely. When she runs from the scene she also states;

FAITH
You took my life, B. Pay backs the bitch

There is no doubt that Faith had vengeance on her mind after she awoke from her coma.

Dipstick
10-12-18, 03:12 PM
And Willow actually seems pretty non-regretful about killing Warren in Season 7 ("I killed him for a reason").

Jumping into say that I think Willow absolutely regretting killing Warren. Her "I killed him for a reason" doesn't imply a lack of regret. She did, in fact, kill him for reason (or REASONS). Poll the most fanatical Willow-haters- I think they'd back me up and say Willow killed Warren for actual reasons. I don't see how it's productive for Willow to live in make-believe land and pretend like she didn't kill Warren for a reason. Especially in the context of the scene where the quote came from where Willow is trying to warn Kennedy away from helping her because she's changed into Warren who Willow RIGHTLY considers a danger to all women. Because he *was*.

But I think Willow absolutely thinks she was horrible to kill Warren even if she's not backing away from the entirely reasonable and correct opinion that Warren was also horrible. Willow can absolutely think that she was very wrong to kill Warren but Warren committed unconscionable crimes against the gang and humanity. That's how much of fandom, including me, thinks. Willow says that she deserves punishment because she "killed people" in Lessons. She tries to stop Anya from killing people because she hasn't forgotten a second of the flaying. She tells Cassie that she was "horrible" after Tara died and then, Cassie tries giving her an out that she was grieving, Willow says "Lots of people grieve. They don't make with the flaying." She found Cassie incredibly convincing in those scenes where Cassie says that Tara, herself, can't come down and talk to Willow because of how Willow behaved in her rampage. Willow assumes that whatever darkness Wesley is referring to in Orpheus can't be as bad as trying to end the world and flaying a guy alive specifically.

I do agree that I don't substitute BtVS's morality for my own.

bespangled
10-12-18, 11:47 PM
What Faith had in mind after she woke from her coma is irrelevant, except for the fact that you seem to be saying that if Faith goes low then it's okay for Buffy to go lower. Faith tried to kill Angel - Buffy gutted her and left her with severe brain damage - Faith woke up looking for revenge. Buffy can choose to take actions that are as morally low as Faith's, and still be a hero.

What I like about what ghoststar had to say is that she is consistent. Angel gets jerked around by W&H. They bring Darla back, and just when he thinks he can rescue her they have Dru sire her. Angel responds by locking lawyers in with Dru and Darla, and this is okay with her. The same goes for Buffy in this situation - Faith keeps screwing with her and finally tries to kill Angel - Buffy responds by trying to kill Faith. The same dynamic exists when Willow kills Warren. I can relate to the inner fist pump and cheer.

But I recognize when the universe gets broken. How can vengeance demons have souls and still commit horrific crimes? That includes pointing out that revenge murder is universally considered evil - except when Buffy decides she wants to kill Faith.

I don't mind internal inconsistency, or character flaws. I just don't wave them away, or rationalize them.

flow
24-02-19, 07:58 PM
I`ve finally dug this thread up. I think each and every point has already been made and most of you said it better than I can. Just a few thoughts and my two cents:

It makes me feel very uncomfortable to label someone as non-human and by that justify killing them. Faith is a Slayer. She has the strength of a Slayer. But she is not a super-being. She is human. So is Buffy. So are Willow, Tara and Giles despite their magical skills and abilities. So are Warren, Jonathan and Andrew despite their technological skills and their evilness.

It might be more difficult to contain Faith in a prison cell than it is to do so with your average criminal. But that does not demonize Faith. It does not make her less human. It does not take away her human rights. Starting to demonize or to de-humanize people as a justification or excuse for murdering them is extremely dangerous because it opens the box of Pandora. Throughout history there have been dark times over and over again in which humans have murdered fellow humans on the premise that those fellow humans were something else entirely - animals, scum, demons, witches, whatever but not humans. In the more recent German history the word "Untermensch" was (mis-)used.

There is a drug which takes away the strength of a Slayer. The Watchers Council could easily have provided that drug and Faith could have been brought to trial and put into jail. Of course there are ways to deal with rogue Slayers except killing them. Why else did the Watchers Councils wet team try to take Buffy/Faith to England instead of killing her on the spot? Because they had a plan how to deal with her and her strength.

Buffy is not judge, jury and executioner in one person. We know that Faith was evil, was working with the Mayor and had killed an innocent human, because we were there and saw it when it happened. Buffy wasn`t there and she does not know, what we know. She can only come to conclusions. She suspects Faith to be responsible for the vulcanologists death but there is nothing to prove it and she doesn`t know. What if Faith was working as a double agent and was secretly trying to take down the Mayor? What if the volcanologist had attacked Faith first and she was acting in self-defense? We know it didn`t happen that way but Buffy doesn`t know she only assumes. It is not Buffy`s job to prosecute or judge. That is what court trials are for.

But even if I`d agree with vampmogs premise that time was crucial and she had to take out Faith in a preemptive strike to weaken the Mayorand his attempt at the Ascension, then Buffy was never and under no circumstances allowed to take Faith blood against Faith`s will or without her consent.

Had she gone to Faith, saying "I came to kill you, because you work with the Mayor" I would still have cringed, because honestly stopping Faith would also have done the trick. But Buffy had no right to take Faith blood. And that was all she came for and she said so very clearly. And that´s where it ceases to be a preemptive strike in combat and becomes cold-blooded, premedated murder.

Andrew S.
Buffy was justified in going after Faith the same way cops are justified in going after mass murderers and shooting them when they resist arrest.

Buffy never tried to arrest Faith. That`s kinda the whole problem here. If a cop goes after a mass murderer with the intent to kill him, the cop has to face a trial and very likely a jail sentence, where I live.

Andrew S.
For all of the people who say that Buffy was wrong for going after Faith in exchange for Angel's life in "Graduation Day", I'm curious to know... what would you have done in that situation?

I am not saying, that I would have done the right thing. Maybe I would have tried to kill Faith in order to safe my boyfriend`s life. After all - I am only human. But there is one thing, I wouldn`t have done. I wouldn`t have claimed, I was justified to do it.

Trying to kill Faith is Buffy`lowest point ever. It is the one and only point where she is in danger of becoming a monster herself, where she is in danger of becoming what Faith has become. In the end it is Buffy - not Faith - who is spared and - as far as I know - she never goes down that road again. And although she never apologizes, I like to think she refrains from attempting to murder anyone for the remaining four seasons because she has learned a valuable lesson.

flow

Willow from Buffy
24-02-19, 08:30 PM
And Willow actually seems pretty non-regretful about killing Warren in Season 7 ("I killed him for a reason").

The full quote is: "It's not a trick, it's not a glamour. I'm becoming him. A murderous, misogynist man. I mean, do you understand what he did? What I could do? I killed him for a reason." So first, Willow's intent is to warn Kennedy about the danger that Willow-as-Warren poses. Second, Willow is not completely herself. She's a Warren/Willow hybrid. At any other time, Willow's regret is unqualified.

vampmogs
24-02-19, 11:32 PM
Buffy is not judge, jury and executioner in one person.

She is, though. We literally see her be judge, jury and executioner in practically every episode. Demons are either spared on her say so ("Oh let him go. I don't think he falls into the deadly threat to humanity category") or stomped on (Fear Itself) even if they appear harmless and "cute." People hate Buffy's line from Selfless but she's right - "[She] is the law."

Who could seriously argue that she's not? The show always tries to make the distinction between the human world/supernatural world because, as Buffy says in Villains, "the human world has it's own rules for dealing with people like [Warren]", but in the supernatural world Buffy has always reigned as judge, jury and execution. She kills creatures without trial, she spares creatures she has deemed worthy of sparing, and deems creatures guilty of a crime either based on instinct or through her own small team's research. She often kills creatures before they can even commit a crime (like staking freshly risen vampires) because she has already deemed that they will be a threat to the populace by virtue of just existing.

And whilst operating as a Slayer, Buffy herself pays little mind to the human laws. She breaks laws continuously. She assaults police officers if they stand in the way of her duty, she evades arrest, she breaks and enters, she trespasses in crime scenes, she carries and conceals weaponry, and she acts as a vigilante based on our own law's standards. A Slayer may straddle both the human world and the supernatural world but she plays by her own rules - not ours. So is it really all that surprising that when faced with a murderous rogue Slayer, that Buffy believes she falls into her jurisdiction? Faith also operates outside of our human rules/laws as well.

My point that Faith is a supernatural threat isn't to dehumanise Faith. It isn't to justify killing her on the basis that she's "less than human" because humans have a greater right to life than demons do. I don't even agree with that premise as demonstrated by the fact that I think Angel deserved to live in this very episode and he's a vampire. My point was that there's a murky grey area in the Slayer lore - "She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness" wherein it's ambiguous as to what exactly that entails. There's a distinction between vampires/demons and the "forces of darkness" so it can't be them. Humans who pose a supernatural threat would inevitably fall into Buffy's jurisdiction because the supernatural is "[her] turf" as she told the commandos in Primeval.

Buffy has killed humans before who pose a supernatural threat. For instance, she chopped off Gwendolyn Post's hand knowing that it would kill her. She threw the hyena-possessed zookeeper into the hyena cage. She hurled an axe through the chest of a Knight of Byzantium and apparently killed others when knocking them off the roof ("And three of my men are dead"). Even The Bringers are somewhat ambiguous as to whether or not there's still humanity in them as Storyteller shows us that Bringers are actually humans who undergo a ritual and Buffy has killed plenty of them. Now, I'm sure most would argue that these examples are all different because Buffy was acting in self-defence rather than pre-mediated murder, but my point is that when Buffy killed these people or played a direct role in their deaths she didn't turn herself into the human authorities so that she could go through the courts and be exonerated. She didn't undergo a trial to deem whether her actions were justifiable self-defence/manslaughter/murder. She did what she felt she had to do in the line of duty and she acted entirely of her own accord and within her own set of laws. And that's because these humans posed a serious supernatural threat that Buffy believed that other human villains on the show did not. Buffy acted outside of the law and by her own set of rules.

And this is all whilst keeping in mind that we don't even know *who* established the Slayer lore and decided that Slayers can/cannot kill humans. I mean, I assume it was the Council, because who else could it be? And if it is then why do we adhere to this rule so strictly when a) the Council themselves don't even abide by it and, b) Buffy breaks Council rules and defies the Council all the time?

flow
25-02-19, 06:54 PM
vampmogs:
We literally see her be judge, jury and executioner in practically every episode.

There are (fortunately very few) people in the Buffyverse fandom, who actually believe, it`s not right to kill vampires on first sight. After all they are just doing, what their instincts tell them to do and ... hey, they simply need the blood, the poor things. It´s not their fault that they have to kill us.

We (or at least most of us) kill cows, chickens and pigs on a daily basis. Of course we don`t do it personally but unless you are living on a vegan diet your money keeps the animal processing industry going.

It`s actually worth discussing if Buffy is justified to kill vampires and if we are justified to kill animals. If you go with the premise that a vampire`s unlife or an animal`s life has the same value as a human life (and there are people who say exactly that), then Buffy is a mass muderer and so are those of us who enjoy a scrambled egg for breakfast.

It`s never explained in the verse, why Buffy (as well as Giles, Angel, Willow, Tara, Spike and Xander) are justified to kill demons and vampires but I chose long ago to take that rule and run with it because otherwise Buffy would be a mass murderer and I don`t like to see her that way. Therefore - no she is not jury, judge and executioner. She is The Slayer. She slays vampires, because within the verse it is not wrong to slay vampires, but is wrong to slay humans. Within the verse as well as outside of it.

The lines get blurred when it comes to a souled vampire. Is a souled vampire more like a human or more like a vampire? Can he be slain without second thought even if he is doing nothing wrong? Legally there would be no Problem. Jurisdiction would not consider it as a murder or manslaughter. Is there a moral rule to this? I don`t know.

vampmogs
why do we adhere to this rule so strictly

Interesting question. Why are you not killing humans? (I presume you are not ...;) )

flow

KingofCretins
26-02-19, 12:14 AM
I approve of this necro-thread because I was straight ballin' on this one :)

Agree with premise - it's simply not the case that Buffy is making the sort of legal-moral assessment on a nightly patrol basis to suit the metaphor of "judge, jury, and executioner" (the former a finder of law, the latter a finder of fact). Run of the mill demons and and vamps she runs into are not due nor are they given (with rare exception) that level of moral consideration. Buffy does not give them "due process" as she stakes them - pervasively - as they rise from their graves. She is within her power and moral writ to kill them out of hand.

That is simply not true for Faith, because Faith is none of these things.

vampmogs
26-02-19, 09:09 AM
There are (fortunately very few) people in the Buffyverse fandom, who actually believe, it`s not right to kill vampires on first sight. After all they are just doing, what their instincts tell them to do and ... hey, they simply need the blood, the poor things. It´s not their fault that they have to kill us.

I don't mean to nitpick but vampires don't have to kill us they want to kill us. Angel, Spike and Harmony are all proof that vampires can survive perfectly fine on pig's blood. But vampires genuinely enjoying killing and terrorising humans which is why they see no merit in choosing pig's blood over human blood.

It's why I don't equate vampires with animals, which I see a lot in fandom. Animals kill for sustenance and to survive. Vampires consider us food but they also enjoy causing us pain and they often kill or harm us without even feasting off the human (see Spike snapping the neck of the parent in "School hard" - "You're too old to eat. But not to kill"). You could liken vampires more to humans as we don't technically need meat to survive but most humans seek no pleasure in hunting the animals or inflicting pain on them and those who do are, thankfully, mostly condemned, and we see it as a sign of a deeper and more troubling aspect of their psyche.


It`s actually worth discussing if Buffy is justified to kill vampires and if we are justified to kill animals. If you go with the premise that a vampire`s unlife or an animal`s life has the same value as a human life (and there are people who say exactly that), then Buffy is a mass muderer and so are those of us who enjoy a scrambled egg for breakfast.

I think Buffy is entirely justified for 2 main reasons as presented in the show;

1) Vampires and demons are a supernatural threat and cannot be contained by human law. Furthermore, it's stated throughout the show that Buffy "is on the frontlines of a nightly war" and she's referred to as a "warrior." In war you kill your enemy combatants and Buffy is a solider at war.

2) Vampires, at least, are inherently evil and immoral and irredeemable. With demons there's a bit more of a grey area as there's far more variety amongst demons but Buffy picks and chooses her demons based on instinct alone ("Oh let him go. I don't think he falls into the deadly threat to humanity category").

Now, this does bring me to why I'm not against killing Faith on principle, because;

a) Buffy is at war. Faith is at war. Two enemy soldiers on opposing sides. They not only liken Slaying to a war in Season 3 specifically ("Buffy, the Slayer is on the frontlines of a nightly war" / "Your waging a war. She's fighting it. There's a difference") but in "Graduation Day" specifically ("I'm ready" "Ready for what?" "War"). I don't consider it immoral for soldiers to kill each other in war despite it being tragic and unpleasant. And whilst I definitely think that there's some codes a soldier must honour in war, I don't feel Buffy broke any of them. She gave Faith enough respect to face her one-on-one and announce her presence when a lot of people have questioned over the years why she didn't just shoot Faith in the back.

Faith fired the first shot. Buffy retaliated appropriately, IMO.

b) Why does Faith deserve to live over Lorne based purely on the fact that she's human and Lorne isn't? I'd find that fundamentally wrong and I've never really see anyone be able to justify it. Lorne wasn't murdering people, Lorne wasn't working with the Big Bad, and Lorne's blood wasn't the cure for the person he poisoned, and yet according to most Buffy would technically be within her rights as a Slayer to slay Lorne but not Faith. Vampires and humans are different because vampires are soulless and inherently evil but with demons it's not so clear cut. IMO it's entirely just to determine who Buffy has a right to kill based on the threat they pose and whether it's supernatural in nature as opposed to what species they happen to be.

I'm certainly not suggesting that taking a human life is something that should be done lightly. I think unless it's in a case of immediate self-defence then one should of course try and reason with the person and should offer them the opportunity for rehabilitation/redemption. But Buffy does that repeatedly to Faith throughout Season 3 to the point Faith mocks them for their efforts ("Oh give me the speech again! Faith it's not too late we're still your friends") and on the eve of the Ascension it is a matter of urgency not only as a precautionary measure to avoid further casualties but to save Angel who is rapidly deteriorating.


The lines get blurred when it comes to a souled vampire. Is a souled vampire more like a human or more like a vampire? Can he be slain without second thought even if he is doing nothing wrong? Legally there would be no Problem. Jurisdiction would not consider it as a murder or manslaughter. Is there a moral rule to this? I don`t know.

A souled vampire is no longer inherently evil and can genuinely be good so I absolutely do think that it would be wrong to slay one without a second's thought. The law matters little to me as I've said in my previous posts, Buffy rarely pays any attention to the law. Going against the law/no laws exisiting does not automatically make something immoral or wrong and seeing as how Buffy regularly breaks the law in order to save the world, if it did it'd mean that a lot of what Buffy does is immoral.

Not to mention that even in RL not all laws are necessarily moral.


Interesting question. Why are you not killing humans? (I presume you are not ...;) )

Well, I'm not a solider. I suspect that if I were in the middle of a war I may very well have to kill humans. But I'm also not living in the Buffyverse and dealing with humans so supernaturally strong they could "pop my head off like a grape" or bend the bars of a prison cell/escape from maximum security prison with great ease. I've never argued that Buffy should kill humans who can be brought to justice by regular human means/law. Only humans that pose a supernatural threat and are outside of regular human jurisdiction ;)

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26-02-19, 04:48 PM
vampmogs
I don't mean to nitpick but vampires don't have to kill us they want to kill us.

Just to be clear -I wasn`t defending that view nor was I presenting it as my own. I was just paraphrising it.

vampmogs
It's why I don't equate vampires with animals, which I see a lot in fandom

Neither do I.

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