Character flip sides

Phil: From last weeks news:

Person A – A man who he couldn’t adapt to working life. He just couldn’t comprehend everybody moving on and he was struggling to leave behind his school days. He has a vague hatred of  society and a general social inadequacy with his place in it. If he ever managed to find a women who would have him, his anger with the world may eventually go away.

Person B – A committed, passionate extremist with a real intention to kill and maim as many people as he possibly can.

I picked all this up from the BBCs report on a group of Birmingham men plotting terrorist activities. Both phrases refer to the convicted men. They are in effect, the same person.

This is cause and effect. If you treat the perpetrator as a character in a story, much like those in the film “Four Lions” then you see that an inadequate individual who feels that he is backed into a corner can come out fighting, grabbing hold of the most preposterous cause to channel his anger. They can pervert a belief system that many millions of people follow peacefully every day to help justify their cause. It’s one of the great joys of writing that you can provide an internal dialogue for your character as well as showing the face they present to the outside world.

All this allows you to tell the story. Interestingly (in my opinion)  this is what is happening in the media generally. Scary stories sell the news so they collude with the terrorist by taking them desperately seriously. This isn’t to say that the planned acts weren’t serious but imagine how much harder it would be to recruit converts if they realised the root of your anger wasn’t a logical disagreement on the policies of a government but simply that you couldn’t grow up and find a girlfriend.

If you want to use this as a starting point for a story, imagine if in the 1920s, people had looked at a failed Austrian artist with slightly mad eyes and laughed at him instead of listening to what he said…

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