“Time of trouble,” I objected, “a man who can handle a gun is good to have around, and on your side.”
“Sure,” pa would say, “but when trouble is over folks can’t get shut of him fast enough.”
— Louis L’Amour, Tucker, 1971
When I read this, I first thought of our veterans. And that reminded me of Victor Davis Hanson’s The Savior Generals, and how the five leaders in the book fared following their salvific acts on behalf of their country (city-state, empire).
The same motif shows up in Westerns like Shane, Pale Rider, and even, in a way, in The Virginian.
And, God help us, here it is again, in Black Sabbath’s Iron Man, a song about a robot/machine that has been neglected since his act of rescue:
Now, the time is here
For Iron Man to spread fear
Vengeance from the grave
Kills the people he once saved
The difference is that the heroes would take up the mantle anyway, knowing the cost. Iron Man can’t. He knows revenge, not honor. Perhaps that is what makes the hero the hero.
So I’m wondering what examples other folks have come across of heroes who are neglected, dispensed with, or destroyed once their services are no longer needed. Churchill, of course, counts.Published in