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Of course Mary is a bad person.  (spoilers)

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I agree that Mary has acted in ways that are a bit not good. But I am having a problem with the fact that everyone believes CAM in this instance. Does freelance necessarily mean Killer for Hire? At this point I am still conflicted about exactly how I feel about Mary and Sherlock. I believe it was you who stated Sherlock did not research Mary because he was in love with John and didn’t want to cause him pain. I sort of explored this very superficially in my very first post. http://toooldforthissh— I understand that love can blind you to the faults of the beloved, but find it hard to think that it would over-ride the urge to protect them. My understanding of Sherlock is that he would always endeavor to find the whys and wherefores of any situation, especially if it had the potential of affecting John in a negative way. All that said, everyone is composed of good and bad (except Magnussen) and everyone makes mistakes in deed and judgment. I guess it may take me a while longer to settle my head canon with the canon presented to us by Moftiss in season 3.

He says, “She’s gone a bit freelance.”  Yeah, it had occurred to me that ‘contract assassin’ wasn’t the only way that might be read.  But the other ways aren’t significantly better.  If your job is killing people for the government, then ‘going freelance’ can mean either ‘taking money from other people’ or else just ‘killing people because you feel like it.’  Or ‘killing people for other countries,’ I suppose.

In any of those cases: still a terrible person.

But even if she ‘only’ killed people for the government: still a terrible person.  Yes, in that case she’s doing it for a higher cause (maybe), but do you think that people who kill for a living are in any way nice?  I mean…do you think the ranks of CIA hitmen are made up of idealistic, caring people whom YOU would trust to decide who deserves to live and die?  Going by history, I wouldn’t advise it.

As for Sherlock (and also Mary) when it comes to love…it’s so idiosyncratic.  Just look around at all the real people you know, and what they do in relationships.  Some people stay clear-headed.  Others are deeply emotional.  Some people are selfless in their love.  Others are self-absorbed.  Some get lost in their passion.  Others are wary about their commitment.

Sherlock is brilliant.  I know brilliant people who are positively incapacitated by emotion.  I know others who seem to apply logic seamlessly to people as well as things.  I can see how he might have let himself be blinded.

I can even see how he might have CHOSEN to let himself be blinded, because a thing about Sherlock is that along with being a brilliant, coldly logical scientist, he is also a hedonist.  He loves fine things and beautiful things and being whisked away by his passions, be they nicotine or casework or music or John.  And he’s never loved someone before, the way he does John.  It’s a novel and heady thing, that first time you find someone who touches you so deeply.  It can feel so wonderful, to throw yourself in and let yourself be carried off by the passion of it.

I can see how he might’ve stayed clear-headed, too.  But the show seems to have decided that he didn’t.

It’s a bit weird, I admit.  But I think that on balance I like it.  Sherlock needs flaws.  He can’t be perfect or things will get very boring.  That he can let his own emotions blind him to the truth is a pretty cool flaw for a smart man to have.

Two thing. First, being devil’s advocate here,  if we go down the road of all people who kill are “bad” does that include all the folks in the military of all nations, even those who don’t actually pull the trigger/press the button because the ancillary personnel make it possible for the actual trigger pullers? How about cops who kill baddies while protecting the public? Aren’t members of covert government organizations carrying out their duties on the behalf of the public of the nations they represent? Consider Snowden, Manning and all other whistle-blowers, or persons who have committed “treason”, depending on your point of view. They could be considered to have gone a bit “freelance”. Is that the same thing? If someone had assassinated Hitler or Stalin and thereby prevented millions of innocent people from being exterminated would they of necessity be bad? Like Sherlock’s understanding of the Garrotter, would the lives saved balanced against the lives taken cause the scales still to tip toward bad? I don’t think things can be that black or white. Kills=terrible, doesn’t kill=good. We need to know what she did, why she did it and why she thinks knowledge of the facts would cause John to leave her and his unborn child high and dry.   Two, Ha! I never thought Sherlock was anything less than exasperating and a prat most of the time, but I still understood that he was definitely not a sociopath and that he loved a select few but had an extremely unorthodox way of expressing it. His not researching Mary while being so protective of John’s feelings is so OOC to me. I can only hope it is as some have posited that he and Mycroft are playing a long game. That they were both unaware of CAM’s mind palace and now John is in on the entire thing and it will all come clear in season 4.                                      

That’s a false dichotomy that ignores the range in between.  Cops who shoot people in the line of duty do so (or should be doing so) in defense of life—because either they or someone else in the area is perceived to be in immediate physical danger at the hands of the target.


When a policeman shoots someone who does NOT pose an immediate danger to others, do we not consider them a bad person?  Do we not want to see him or her held accountable?  Should we not consider that a criminal action?

Military personnel (again, theoretically) are there to engage with enemy combatants—other people who are also there with the understanding that they will enter into conflict and who are prepared to take lives.  The Geneva Conventions, which most nations have signed, grants non-combatants and civilians a protected status.  Accidental attacks against non-combatants should (when the system is working right) merit a review of the situation and discipline of the perpetrators as appropriate.  Purposeful attack against non-combatants is a war crime.

This is why, when we find out that military personnel have done things like this and been allowed to get away with it, it often quite rightfully blows up an international scandal.

Assassination, even government sanctioned assassination, involves one person killing another who, usually, does not pose an immediate threat.  Who, if the assassin is doing their job right, is not even aware that they are in danger.  The target of an assassin has no opportunity to defend themselves.

Now, yes, there are arguments of higher principle to be made.  The whole “Would it be wrong to murder Hitler?” thing.  If you’re interested in this question, there have been treatises written on it.  Dietrich Bonhoeffer is a guy you might want to read up on (a Christian minister who pondered on the sin of murder vs. the sin of not intervening in murder; his answer was to join the plot to kill Hitler).

And if we assumed that the only people Mary ever killed were mass-murdering monsters, then maybe it’d be worth going there.  But I highly doubt that all her targets were so blackened in conscience.  CAM is the scum of the earth, but Sherlock, morally dubious as he often is, generally serves a beneficial role to society, and she showed little compunction about killing him.

And so to be more specific, Mary is not only a trained killer, like a soldier or some police.  Mary is a professional murderer.

And as I said before, if someone has the moral capacity to murder others for money, even if their employer is a government, they are almost certain not to be nice people otherwise.  There are books and studies on the kinds of people who do wetwork for organizations like the CIA and MI6, and it makes for interesting reading if you’re into psychology.  They are almost universally pretty awful people.  It’s a job that is psychologically and spiritually deforming.  The kind of people who can do that kind of work are not nice to begin with, and by the time they’re done they’re likely to be worse than when they started.

Additionally, whistle-blowers and ‘freelance’ are not comparable.  Whistle-blowing is when a person takes action to expose immoral or dangerous activity withing an organization, allowing the organization to be held accountable.  It is widely perceived (by most people aside from the corrupt organization in question) that this is a MORAL rather than immoral action.

Freelance means the self-employed marketing of your skills to clients of your choosing.  Mary’s skill set involves assassination and espionage.  If she was willing to take that skill set and apply it for the benefit of others aside from the government that originally employed her, then that lampoons all possible arguments that her reasons for killing were higher ones such as idealism or loyalty to her country.

So I reiterate: she’s a bad person.  

I also reiterate that ‘bad’ is not the only thing she is.  It’s a very shallow, cartoonish definition of ‘bad’ if you assume that that one characteristic somehow negates everything else about a person.  Even CAM and Moriarty are other things as well as ‘bad.’  

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