1. TheDarkWriter
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    TheDarkWriter Active Member

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    What sounds more appropriate for my character to take for a trophy?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by TheDarkWriter, Jan 30, 2014.

    My main character is an ex cop that has become a vigilante like Oliver Queen from Arrow. He mainly goes after dirty cops that abuse their power and commit horrible crimes. After he kills them he takes something I haven't decided what yet but I'm thinking either their badges(because they don't deserve them) or their heads (seems more dramatic) but I can't decide which is more fitting.
     
  2. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    If he's an ex-cop then he should know that taking trophies is the best way to get caught and prosecuted as a vigilante.

    "Can you tell the jury what you found in his 'trophy' room?"
    "Yeah, we found a bunch of skulls, but those could have been from anyone. Well 36 anyones."

    He should take pictures to remember the justice with.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Do you want your readers to have sympathy for your character, don't have him collect body parts. You're putting him in Jeffrey Dahmer category.

    Also, remember a badge is also frequently called a shield.
     
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  4. JayG
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    JayG Banned Contributor

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    Umm...you do know that the Green Arrow is a comic book character? I ask because they don't usually work in fiction. You may have a hard time selling the concept that your protagonist is always right in selecting the victim, while at the same time the police are incapable of seeing the evidence. And if he's not right, even once, he's a murderer, and his mistake is not excusable.

    In comic books the heroes don't get stuck in rush hour traffic, and can roar through intersections without killing pedestrians or hitting cars as they ignore traffic lights. And no one ever notices them driving home to the basement of the mansion they live in. Conveniently, no one sees them turn off on that side road and follows. In real life that's a lot harder to make work.
     
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  5. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with @JayG. If you're going for anything remotely realistic, you pretty much have to abandon a comic-book inspiration. By their nature, as JayG pointed out, comic books take place in a fantasy universe in which real-life problems (traffic, uncertainty in sorting the guilty from the innocent, etc.) never arise for the hero. Also, in comic books, even characters without super powers seem to have inhuman agility and durability - leaping off three-story buildings without breaking a leg, etc. Even James Bond seems to have superhuman luck.
     
  6. TheDarkWriter
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    TheDarkWriter Active Member

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    Well the story I'm writing isn't grounded in reality it's more along the lines of the supernatural.
     
  7. plothog
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    plothog Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    So you're saying comic book characters are real? ;) Woohoo I'm off to the nearest nuclear waste facility, to get myself some mutant powers.
     
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  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Good luck with that ...
     
  9. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can see it working if he is part of, or working with, the internal affairs investigation team. They uncover dirty cops, but the MC is not satisfied with simple imprisonment or just dismissal. He wants them dead. In this case, he can be fairly certain that he has the right guy.

    As for the trophy, it has to be something smart. How about an imprint/cast of their dead face? From that he can make a rubber mask to put in a trophy case.
     
  10. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    Take the badges their a smaller item and in case the police figure out who the vigilante is and they raid his home the badges can be hidden easily.
     
  11. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I imagine that the kind of trophies would depend on whether

    1) he wants to avoid getting noticed as a serial killer;
    2) he wants his killings to be connected as the work of a serial, but doesn't want people to know that he's the one doing it;
    or 3) he wants to - or at least wouldn't mind - getting arrested someday.
     
  12. Morbius
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    Morbius Member

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    Well, taking anything that can be identified as belonging to the victim (such as a badge with a number of the actual head) is commonly called "evidence" in a court room, and an ex cop would know this.

    If the character has turned psycho, then he won't care and the head thing could work for your plot.

    If the character is all about justice, then mutilating corpses simply doesn't work (although it might work for a revenge angle).

    If the character is unrealistically obsessive compulsive about the police being paragons of justice and virtue, that would be a type of insanity that might lead into "punishing" the traitors to the cause of justice and "revoking" their badges, although that sort of thing would eventually lead to a horrible mistake, such as killing the "bad" cop who abandoned the hallowed halls or justice and righteousness, to join a drug gang...only to later read a head line "Under Cover Narcotics Officer brutally murdered", which then irrevocably moves the "hero" into the "villain" category.

    If the character is just simply fed up with corruption and seeks to punish the guilty, without collecting trophy evidence to implicate himself, he might realize that a retired ex-cop who collects newspaper clippings of crime stories is not all that bizarre....and collect the printed trophies of his exploits at the same time.
     
  13. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If you're not going for realism, and your vigilante is going after dirty cops, he might just take their trigger fingers. It would be symbolic of their inability to kill anymore.
     
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  14. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That's analogous to what the French allegedly did to captured English longbow archers to prevent them from using a longbow again. According to the story, the English replacement archers would taunt the French by waving the unsevered middle finger at them. It's a probably apocryphal story of the origin of the familiar gesture.
     
  15. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Actually the bird is far older than that. First accounts of the gesture appear in roman literature.
    http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/1279/whats-the-origin-of-the-finger

    Also, please don't pay any attention to the quote at the beginning of the page, the word "fuck" comes from old German "fliken" or strike.
     
  16. matwoolf
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    matwoolf Contributing Member Contributor

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    How quaint, hew

    It is the two middle fingers, and the 'v sign' of Crecy, etc.

    The single finger survives - across the pond, I believe, as a simplification of the original defiant gesture of our brave English (some were Welsh) archers.

    The severed finger memento would be perfect for your story - with your forensic scientist attempting to match the correct digit to the various cadavers of dead officers. This would be most dramatic when they find the correct digit...and the case solved. It would all depend on arc, of course.
     
  17. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    Right, except it's complete bullshit. See: above.
     
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  18. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    We were told similar in history. But they took the two fingers of an archer. Thats why here in uk it is just as offensive to give two fingers in a V as the mudfle finger in usa. We have just adopted the flipping the bird.
     
  19. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    He's a vigilante not serial killet (in terms alone mind you). So a trophey may not seem the best sympathetic route. Wouldn't it be best if he left something instead. Ie message or symbol or at least something symbolic ie. Hand cuff them (they have been caught). With out going down the zorro route.
     
  20. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'd thought of the same thing, but I also thought doing so would leave clues behind as to who the vigilante is. I think taking something would be safer than leaving something - less likely for the guy to get caught.
     
  21. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    That's a finer line than you think. Many serial killers are obsessed with punishing a particular kind of sin. If your vigilante deals out death even when he (or she) could deliver the culprit to the authorities, he (or she) is a serial killer of the worst kind.

    Rent Magnum Force and watch it with that in mind.
     
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  22. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Exactly. How many bloodthirsty, sociopathic predators haven't said - at some point in their lives - "S/he was asking for it" ? Her skirt was too short, his TV was bigger than mine, she was going to tell the police about both of the above…

    In any criminal gang/syndicate that you can think of, the killers who think at all about morality, about the people they hurt, will generally try to convince themselves that they are essentially vigilantes: that they are protecting themselves from the other gangs in the only way that they can; that the cops and bystanders are lying about there being any other way to live; and that anybody who tries to stop them - either actively as a cop who arrests them or passively as a bystander who doesn't give in to them - are just really just helping the other gangs.

    … This sounds like it could turn into it's own thread, so if anybody would like to continue this specifically, I think that we should start a new thread instead of de-railing this one.
     
    Last edited: Feb 3, 2014
  23. easyhell
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    easyhell Member

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    How about their tongues? If I believed that someone was a double crosser, liar or 'dirty', I would cut their tongues from their mouth and put their badge in it's place. Slightly Serial Killer-esque, but hey, it's Monday.
     
  24. mg357
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    mg357 Active Member

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    What about taking the dirty cop's handgun? then the vigilante could use a different gun for each separate killing.
     
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  25. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    I agree that's why i see it as in terms only. Yes they are a serial killer but if done right and the story sympathetic to the character the reader will see the vigilante not the serial killer. The Punisher is seen as an example of this, he is seen as a vigilante not a serial killer because of the empathy. But the mutilation can dehumanize the character, losing the emapthy.
     

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