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The Wealth of Slayers (spoilers through 8.10)

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  • The Wealth of Slayers (spoilers through 8.10)

    Want to do some pheboto-economical theorizing about Buffy's organization and how she's financing it.

    Buffy gained a great deal of new freedom, but also took on a great deal of new responsibility by activating all those Slayers. Now, I don't think it's honest to say that she suddenly had 'these mouths to feed', for instance, but she needed to organize in some way, she needed to make sure that her and those with her were safe from civil authority that probably would have some questions about a collapsed city, and she needed to provide her own food and shelter.

    Obviously, the manner in which they chose to organize turned out to be quite necessary given this new threat, but it was also pretty cost intensive. Even if they have just two helicopters and one private jet, I couldn't tell if those were meant to be Blackhawks, but, let's say they are. The US Army pays a unit cost of $5.9 million for a UH-60. Now, they presumably own a private jet, since they wouldn't fly Dana commercial and probably needed to modify it to restrain her. A Gulfstream V G550 (give them credit for going high end), costs $60 million. So, that, just for air transportation, over $70 million in fixed costs, with no accounting for fuel or hired pilots.

    Now, they have 10 squads, and we know that Andrew sent a team of Slayers from Rome to Barcelona quickly -- that means either by air or by sea, and quickly. There's more money. And then, there are their facility costs. What does a 40,000 sq foot, or larger, castle cost in Scotland? $10 million, $15 million? Who knows what they have to lay out in other cities.

    I'd say Buffy's organization has to have a networth that's *at least* a quarter of a billion dollars, probably closer to half. That means, to be certain -- more than one bank. Maybe more than 10. And, some criminal contact (or magical method) to launder it, and then probably to invest it. Oh, how they probably wish they had Anya around.

    I'm not sure what sorts of revenue streams they might have -- tuition, perhaps? Have they set up a "Charles Xavier School for Gifted Youth" in the Buffyverse with campuses all over Europe? I'm starting to think the best reason not to have any squads based in the US is to avoid the IRS and the SEC.

    Want a reason for a breach between Buffy and Giles? How about if Giles really did offer Buffy access to the Council's resources... and Buffy quickly burned through them? And then turned to the robbery and burglary? I could also imagine Buffy and her Slayers really *being* mobsters of a sort -- shaking down criminal organizations around the world.

    It's interesting to contrast -- Angel sold out by going corporate, and Buffy did by turning into the Slayer Mafia.
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  • #2
    Hm, I wanna be careful about what I think about Buffy the Bank Robber because it seems that everytime I re-read the issue, I have a new take on it.

    Anyhow, I'm actually on Buffy's side on this. Or at least I can understand where she's coming from. By imbuing all the Potentials in the world as Slayers, Buffy did the best and worst thing. Evidently, this aids her mission to rid the world of evil since we know that two heads are better than one -- or in her case, two stakes. However, she realized that she would also have a number of Faiths on her hands. She knew she had to collect all of the newly activated Slayers and house them in order to train them. But how can a Californian High School Guidance Counselor do that? Well, desperate times call for desperate measures. Yes, robbing Swiss Bank Accounts isn't morally appreciated, but Buffy committed the lesser of evils. What's worse: missing Nazi money or hundreds of murderous Slayers? Gigi was darn right scary, imagine multiplying that by a thousand. Could Buffy have chosen an alternative option for getting money? No, it doesn't look she had any other.

    Regarding the Watcher's Council's resources, I'm going to say there were never any. I'm saying this because Joss has never mentioned it in the comics nor in the series (right?). Also, if Buffy knew of the resources, I'm sure she would've helped herself to it a-plenty.

    And I doubt Buffy and Giles' relationship is strained because Buffy drained all of the resources. If she had done so, I really can't believe Giles would be upset with her about it. Nor can I believe that he would be upset with her for robbing the Swiss Bank Account. We all know Giles isn't exactly the moral compass of the Scooby Gang. Must I remind you of "The Dark Age", "The Gift," or "Bring on the Night"?
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Weredog View Post
      Anyhow, I'm actually on Buffy's side on this. Or at least I can understand where she's coming from. By imbuing all the Potentials in the world as Slayers, Buffy did the best and worst thing. Evidently, this aids her mission to rid the world of evil since we know that two heads are better than one -- or in her case, two stakes. However, she realized that she would also have a number of Faiths on her hands. She knew she had to collect all of the newly activated Slayers and house them in order to train them. But how can a Californian High School Guidance Counselor do that? Well, desperate times call for desperate measures. Yes, robbing Swiss Bank Accounts isn't morally appreciated, but Buffy committed the lesser of evils. What's worse: missing Nazi money or hundreds of murderous Slayers? Gigi was darn right scary, imagine multiplying that by a thousand.
      The problem with this theory is that it's not clear how Buffy's going to prevent slayers from mistakenly deciding that they are above the law by teaching them that they are above the law. Indeed, one of the big parts of my WTF reaction to this is precisely that Buffy is now adopting Faith's philosophy (Slayers are above the law) and teaching it to new slayers despite the fact that she's very well aware of where Faith's philosophy led Faith. Buffy to Giles in First Date: "You can't fight evil by doing evil. I know this." Something has changed.
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      • #4
        Originally posted by Maggie View Post
        The problem with this theory is that it's not clear how Buffy's going to prevent slayers from mistakenly deciding that they are above the law by teaching them that they are above the law. Indeed, one of the big parts of my WTF reaction to this is precisely that Buffy is now adopting Faith's philosophy (Slayers are above the law) and teaching it to new slayers despite the fact that she's very well aware of where Faith's philosophy led Faith. Buffy to Giles in First Date: "You can't fight evil by doing evil. I know this." Something has changed.
        Because it seems that Buffy brought her A squad with her, I'm assuming that they follow her teachings to the word. Meaning, if she says "hey, we're only doing this 'cause we need a castle to assemble everyone", they would follow it. (Ooh, this might mean Twilight informed the government about Buffy's theft thanks to a Slayer mole... But that's a whole other topic!)

        And I can't necessarily agree that Buffy's taking Faith's philosophy as Faith did. Faith accidentally killed a man and didn't remorse whatsoever because she felt the judicial law shouldn't apply to her since she slays demons. We also know that she used this "rationality" to steal from department stores as well. But Buffy's situation is different. Like I said, Buffy was presented with two options: house two thousand Slayers with stolen Nazi money or let two thousand Slayers run rampant all over the world? It should also be pointed out that Buffy isn't shrugging her shoulders about her misbehavior as Faith did. She's definitely not bragging about where she got the money (see: "No Future for You, part III")
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        • #5
          it is mentioned that the council is very stingy with what it gives out (wouldn't cough up the cash to send wesley home and made their top cleaner guys fly coach) and that the board of directors is full of alchemists.

          i'd imagine buffy doesn't have a lot of money... and what they do get was always tied to ways that were slightly outside of the law.

          angel went in with his eyes wide-open knowing he was trying to break down an evil organization from the inside--he knew they were evil. buffy seems more clouded--she still has a background in seeing slayers as a benevolent group that is a force of good (despite the faiths, gigis and danas) and has never really looked too hard at the watchers council other than ignoring them since they chose mostly to stay in england.

          in fact, i'd say buffy being slayer corp. and giles being the watchers council is akin to angel being wolfram & hart... though, i'd imagine giles and angel are a bit more aware of who and what they are working for and fully aware of their intentions. buffy has never really looked too hard at anything going on around her or believing she is doing anything but the right thing with good intentions. angel and giles are more comfortable with seeing themselves in the gray area, whereas even in buffy's grayest moments, she considers herself a white hat.

          this is why buffy shrugs off any accusation that she might be creating some kind of super race or that there is something wrong with the mass-slayerization of girls who didn't choose with their freedom of will, but had the choosing forced upon them. there was one time when she thought it was unfair.
          Last edited by NileQT87; 10-01-08, 02:57 AM.

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          • #6
            Bear in mind that the site of the old Watchers' Council headquarters building in London alone is probably worth many, many millions of pounds... and since Caleb blew it up, it's prime redevelopment land.

            Although given their alchemists on the Board, I imagine the Council would create a pile of gold whenever it needed some cash rather than necessarily having huge portfolios and bank accounts.

            I wonder if Willow can turn lead into gold?

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            • #7
              Alchemy doesn't appreciate, though -- I'm sure the gold they made was sold for bearer bonds and other investments. What did Dr. McCoy say about the bureaucratic mentality? It's the only constant in the universe. Old institutions use money to make money.

              Giles either has considerable personal wealth or access to old Council accounts, if he could afford that retirement package for Faith.
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              • #8
                Originally posted by Weredog View Post
                Because it seems that Buffy brought her A squad with her, I'm assuming that they follow her teachings to the word. Meaning, if she says "hey, we're only doing this 'cause we need a castle to assemble everyone", they would follow it. (Ooh, this might mean Twilight informed the government about Buffy's theft thanks to a Slayer mole... But that's a whole other topic!)
                But we haven't seen her give that explanation to anybody, much less her team. When she had a chance to explain it to Willow, she did not offer up a well-thought out explanation about how they had no choice but to rob a bank; instead, she tried to say it wasn't really a bad thing to do of itself. You can ASSUME Buffy is doing this in a good way -- but the only evidence we have suggests quite the contrary.

                And I can't necessarily agree that Buffy's taking Faith's philosophy as Faith did. Faith accidentally killed a man and didn't remorse whatsoever because she felt the judicial law shouldn't apply to her since she slays demons. We also know that she used this "rationality" to steal from department stores as well. But Buffy's situation is different. Like I said, Buffy was presented with two options: house two thousand Slayers with stolen Nazi money or let two thousand Slayers run rampant all over the world?
                Faith's basic philosophy is in play. We are slayers, we are above the law. By definition Buffy has to be employing the same philosophy. You are hoping that Buffy is using that philosophy better than Faith did. But if she is, we don't as yet have any evidence of it. We do NOT know what made her feel like robbing a bank was a good idea. Again, when she explains it to Willow, she doesn't even attempt to say it was necessary. Nor does the text support the claim that if she hadn't robbed a bank she'd be facing 2000 crazed slayers running around the world. Quite the contrary. There are 1500 or so who are not with the Slayer Mafia (hi King), and so far we only know of ONE who was going to be a problem. Finally, Buffy wasn't stealing Nazi money. She was stealing the banks money. Along the way she found ONE painting that had been stolen by Nazis. To get to your conclusion you have to invent a bunch of stuff that isn't in the text, and which often contradicts the text.


                It should also be pointed out that Buffy isn't shrugging her shoulders about her misbehavior as Faith did. She's definitely not bragging about where she got the money (see: "No Future for You, part III")
                Not sure how you can simultaneously argue that Buffy was making a principled decision when she chose to rob a bank and that she was so embarrassed by her decision that she preferred to lie to her best friend about it. But you are pointing to a good piece of information. Buffy is ashamed of what she's doing. That means that she does not, in fact, think she can seriously justify what she's doing.

                Tis all very strange. And I think we are supposed to be struck by the strangeness, rather than trying to wave it away. Something has happened to Buffy. Something titanic. I can't wait to find out what it is.
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                • #9
                  But we haven't seen her give that explanation to anybody, much less her team. When she had a chance to explain it to Willow, she did not offer up a well-thought out explanation about how they had no choice but to rob a bank; instead, she tried to say it wasn't really a bad thing to do of itself. You can ASSUME Buffy is doing this in a good way -- but the only evidence we have suggests quite the contrary.
                  I think we know enough of Buffy to defer to the notion that Buffy isn't doing this for thrills or some kind of personal gratification. I think she's become so intensely committed to her mission with these girls, that she basically experiences 500 separate instances of the same pressure she always put on herself. Look at what she says to Gen. Voll, very reflexively, about how each of those girls are putting their lives on the line. She takes it very personally, both the idea that it's about the girls protecting the world and the (incorrect) idea that it's about women. Somewhere in all that, she lost perspective on little things like property rights.

                  Not sure how you can simultaneously argue that Buffy was making a principled decision when she chose to rob a bank and that she was so embarrassed by her decision that she preferred to lie to her best friend about it. But you are pointing to a good piece of information. Buffy is ashamed of what she's doing. That means that she does not, in fact, think she can seriously justify what she's doing.
                  I agree, Buffy isn't proud of everything she's doing -- I think we know a lot more about what she was feeling in 8.01 than we did then -- but we also know that she is quick to keep secrets from her friends when she does things she has doubts about.

                  This one is too big -- look at the numbers. There's no way she could have kept is a secret from any of the Scoobies, really. Every one of them is smart enough to wonder what the hell is going on. That's why I assume that Giles knows, and isn't okay, Xander knows, and is, and that Willow didn't know, since she wasn't around.
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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Maggie View Post
                    But we haven't seen her give that explanation to anybody, much less her team. When she had a chance to explain it to Willow, she did not offer up a well-thought out explanation about how they had no choice but to rob a bank; instead, she tried to say it wasn't really a bad thing to do of itself. You can ASSUME Buffy is doing this in a good way -- but the only evidence we have suggests quite the contrary.
                    Willow had previously asked Buffy in "No Future for You" where she got the money for all the equipment, and Buffy avoided the question. When Willow saw the robbery-flashback, she put two and two together before Buffy could explain when they weren't.

                    And regarding Buffy explaining to the Slayers her intentions, I am assuming, I said that. The reason I believe she did so is because she brought her best Slayers with her for the heist. As we saw in "The Long Way Home," they show great loyalty to her, so I'm positive she would've explained why they're breaking the law in this instance. Because, like you said, it would give a very wrong impression to the other Slayers if they thought they were robbing for kicks.

                    Faith's basic philosophy is in play. We are slayers, we are above the law. By definition Buffy has to be employing the same philosophy. You are hoping that Buffy is using that philosophy better than Faith did. But if she is, we don't as yet have any evidence of it. We do NOT know what made her feel like robbing a bank was a good idea.
                    Yes, we DO know. Joss made sure we knew that, so he slipped in a line in Willow's dialogue: "So the mysterious benefactor bankrolling the Slayer army..." I don't understand how clearer you want it to be.

                    Nor does the text support the claim that if she hadn't robbed a bank she'd be facing 2000 crazed slayers running around the world. Quite the contrary. There are 1500 or so who are not with the Slayer Mafia (hi King), and so far we only know of ONE who was going to be a problem.
                    If they hadn't robbed a bank, they wouldn't have been able to set institutions as well as purchase the latest technology to train the new Slayers. And we know from both the comics (Gigi) and the series (Faith) that when Slayers don't have watchers, they're misguided. Why else do you think the Scoobies assembled all of these Slayers if they needn't to be watched?

                    Finally, Buffy wasn't stealing Nazi money. She was stealing the banks money. Along the way she found ONE painting that had been stolen by Nazis. To get to your conclusion you have to invent a bunch of stuff that isn't in the text, and which often contradicts the text.
                    I read it that Buffy stole from one of the Nazi's volts that had money and a Watteau that they had stolen. I don't see how it contradicted the text. Whether it was from a Nazi account or a Mom and Pop's Swiss Bank, the point is the Slayers stole money. Or should I say gold? I don't want to contradict the text. I still stand by what I said in my last post; just scratch off any parts I said "Nazi".

                    Not sure how you can simultaneously argue that Buffy was making a principled decision when she chose to rob a bank and that she was so embarrassed by her decision that she preferred to lie to her best friend about it.
                    Like I said, she chose the lesser of evils. When Buffy breaks into the office in "The Freshman" to locate Sunday's lair, what is worse: breaking and entering or dusting a vampire? She went with the latter and yet didn't go around saying "Hey, I just totally broke a window with my fist, what's wrong with that?" That is the same situation as the robbery (on a smaller scale, of course.)

                    Tis all very strange. And I think we are supposed to be struck by the strangeness, rather than trying to wave it away. Something has happened to Buffy. Something titanic. I can't wait to find out what it is.
                    I don't think this will ever be mentioned again, quite frankly. Joss made it very clear: he revealed how Buffy got the money to establish the Slayer Army and stated that it was this choice (despite her good intentions) that launched the war on magic: the first domino.
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                    • #11
                      Oh, if there's one thing we can count on, it's that this *will* be an ongoing issue. Precisely *because* Willow points out that it is probably a cause of what Twilight is doing. Twilight is the quintessential humanist, really -- if Voll is to be believed, the motivation at an institutional level is to put down a lawless master race, and the influences that make it possible, before they turn into megalomaniacal killers. There's no way that this event, and I suspect others like it that we haven't learned of, will go unspoken of.

                      If Joss just wanted to raise and dismiss the money question, it *would* have been the Council, or David Nabbit, or Willow's an alchemist, and it would have been dealt with in a single mention. You don't put in this morally shaded reason if you don't plan on playing with the consequences of it.
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                      • #12
                        Yes, you're right, it will probably be addressed again, but I really don't think we should be sitting at the edge our seats and wonder what was Buffy's motivation. She did what she thought was the best (not necessarily the right) choice, and unfortunately suffers a consequence for it. The consequence being a Slayers VS The World.
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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                          I think we know enough of Buffy to defer to the notion that Buffy isn't doing this for thrills or some kind of personal gratification. I think she's become so intensely committed to her mission with these girls, that she basically experiences 500 separate instances of the same pressure she always put on herself. Look at what she says to Gen. Voll, very reflexively, about how each of those girls are putting their lives on the line. She takes it very personally, both the idea that it's about the girls protecting the world and the (incorrect) idea that it's about women. Somewhere in all that, she lost perspective on little things like property rights.
                          I don't mean to imply that Buffy is in it for kicks. And actually, if I had to guess on what triggered her it would be something related to her feelings about the slayers. I'm thinking that dumping slayerness on them turned out to be a problem for at least some of them (remember our earlier discussions about that?), and that she feels guilty, and that's clouding her judgment about how the slayers should interract with the human world. Though, knowing Joss, the actually story will be ten times more interesting than anything I could come up with. In any case, we seem to be on the same page -- she's not doing this for frivolous reasons, but something has caused her to get off track. ETA: This provides another comparison with Angel and W&H. He also did the wrong thing for the 'good' reason of wanting to save his son. I think we'll get something similar here. The most compelling stories aren't people being evil for the heck of it; they're stories of people doing 'evil' things for 'good' reasons.

                          And yes, the consequences are huge. Can't wait to see where Joss is going with this....

                          Agree that Giles and Xander both know. The fact that Giles knows and is not OK with it goes a long way to explaining his behavior up 'til now. (I really am going to write a post about this some time soon). And I think the fact that Xander knows and is OK with it is going to turn out to be a big part of the upcoming story. It gives an easy out for how to solve the 'betrayal' from the closest and least expected person problem -- assuming that at the end of the day, Buffy *is* off track here (and all the signals point to her being off track). Though, again, I'm guessing Joss has something even cooler up his sleeves.

                          When I first started posting on this forum I was on the fence about whether the comics were a good thing or not. I'm now much more solidly on board. I think the variant cover with Buffy as a jigsaw puzzle is exactly what we're getting. A story where pieces are brought to light one by one, and with each 'reveal' we get a better sense of the big picture of what's really going on. The reversal of roles between Buffy and Faith sets up a really interesting dynamic. And the only downside I can see right now is that it's chewing up way too much of my time!
                          Last edited by Maggie; 10-01-08, 07:25 AM.
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                          • #14
                            Agree that Giles and Xander both know. The fact that Giles knows and is not OK with it goes a long way to explaining his behavior up 'til now. (I really am going to write a post about this some time soon). And I think the fact that Xander knows and is OK with it is going to turn out to be a big part of the upcoming story. It gives an easy out for how to solve the 'betrayal' from the closest and least expected person problem -- assuming that at the end of the day, Buffy *is* off track here (and all the signals point to her being off track). Though, again, I'm guessing Joss has something even cooler up his sleeves.
                            Money being part of the problem with Giles and Buffy is pretty likely. As I said, the original idea I had was that Buffy quickly outspent the resources Giles was willing to help her with and they fell out over their respective visions of what this organization would be about, and the Slayer Mafia was born.

                            I won't bother with traitor related speculation on this thread, but I actually don't think this money is going to have anything to do with it, directly.
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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Maggie View Post
                              Faith's basic philosophy is in play. We are slayers, we are above the law. By definition Buffy has to be employing the same philosophy. You are hoping that Buffy is using that philosophy better than Faith did. But if she is, we don't as yet have any evidence of it. We do NOT know what made her feel like robbing a bank was a good idea.
                              Actually, you will notice that the one thing Buffy absolutely does not do is try to use being a slayer to justify her actions. Faith's philosophy put slayers above the law, but Buffy, instead of trying to excuse her actions that way, gives other, equally feeble but not quite as frightening, reasons. I don't think she believes that slayers should be outside of the law. I'm not quite sure what she does believe in any more, but that doesn't appear to be it.

                              If they hadn't robbed a bank, they wouldn't have been able to set institutions as well as purchase the latest technology to train the new Slayers. And we know from both the comics (Gigi) and the series (Faith) that when Slayers don't have watchers, they're misguided. Why else do you think the Scoobies assembled all of these Slayers if they needn't to be watched?
                              You mean as opposed to the minimum of 1,300 slayers that they haven't recruited? Sorry, but this simply doesn't hold water.
                              Last edited by Anon; 14-01-08, 08:57 PM.

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                              • #16
                                Buffy taking authority to do this from her being the Slayer is implicit -- she wouldn't be robbing swiss banks to finance a 500 student cosmetics and fashion design school.

                                Her rationalizations are weak, but they don't address the basic license she felt she had to make the decision in the first place. They robbed that bank because they, being Slayers, needed money and, being Slayers, that was a way they could get it.

                                You mean as opposed to the minimum of 1,300 slayers that they haven't recruited? Sorry, but this simply doesn't hold water.
                                Well, I'm sure they've tried to recruit many more than have actually joined, even if they haven't managed personal contact with every single one. They've identified them, as they said, and I take that literally -- names, basic whereabouts. I assume that at least part of their overall mission is to at least monitor those Slayers.
                                Last edited by KingofCretins; 14-01-08, 08:59 PM.
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                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                  Buffy taking authority to do this from her being the Slayer is implicit -- she wouldn't be robbing swiss banks to finance a 500 student cosmetics and fashion design school.

                                  Her rationalizations are weak, but they don't address the basic license she felt she had to make the decision in the first place. They robbed that bank because they, being Slayers, needed money and, being Slayers, that was a way they could get it.
                                  We don't know what her motives were, but there isn't sufficient evidence to infer that her being a slayer directly played any part in it.

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                                  • #18
                                    Anon, if it didn't, then by definition you're saying that robbing banks is something Buffy might have taken to if she *wasn't* the Slayer. You willing to actually argue in favor of that proposition?
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                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by KingofCretins View Post
                                      Anon, if it didn't, then by definition you're saying that robbing banks is something Buffy might have taken to if she *wasn't* the Slayer. You willing to actually argue in favor of that proposition?
                                      There is an important difference between saying that being the slayer played a part in bringing about circumstances in which she was willing to rob banks and saying that she thought being a slayer made it OK.

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                                      • #20
                                        I see, that is a valid distinction. But, we know that, for whatever reason, she is okay with it -- she seemed to enjoy it pretty well.
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