When the Killing's Done Quotes


What if we just left everything alone like the world was before us - like God made it. Wouldn't that be easier?

Alicia speaking to Alma

This seemingly childlike view of the world and the question that Alicia is asking seems like the question someone living in cloud cuckoo land would ask; of course we can't go back to the time before humans modified the environmental to suit our human needs because much of the damage done cannot be undone, and there is far too much money and power dependent on development. However, the question cleverly raises the issue of the damage caused by humans and the theme of playing God; instead of the world being left as God intends humans play God and decide that the future of certain species is not as important as the human need to develop the land for their own needs and desire to take over. The environmental ambition to return the earth to its previously undamaged state is also key to the novel and there are remarkable success stories of modern environmental activism, for example the indigenous fox on Santa Cruz Island is vital and unique to the ecosystem of the island and was almost extinct due to one man made catastrophe after another, until environmentalists found a way to turn this around and enabled the fox not only to survive but thrive as well.

(As Dave sabotages the rat poison) " he feels a giddiness rising in him, the surge of power and triumph that rises up out of nowhere to replace the bafflement and rage and depression Dr Reiser and his pharmaceuticals can't begin to touch. This is who he is. This."

Narrator, describing Dave's frame of mind

Dave originally became involved with environmental activism as a kind of panacea to address his rage issues. His doctors have tried traditional and non traditional treatments for him and still believe that his rage issues are a psychological disorder or treatable condition. Dave has come to realize that rage is not something he suffers from, but a fundamental part of who he is, and therefore not something that is treatable. Sabotaging the rat poison brings him out of his depression and makes him feel powerful in a way that "managing" his condition has never done. The realization also calls into question Dave's motivation and we wonder whether his extremism is entirely about the environment, or whether he has simply clung to a cause that enables him to unleash his anger on his perceived opponents.

Alma muses that if she had enough money - say five hundred billion or so - she'd buy up all the property in town, raze the buildings, tear out the roads and reintroduce the grizzly bear".

Narrator describing Alma's Outlook on the Environment

Alma, although painted by Dave as the villain for playing God, seems to have a far gentler outlook than he does and seems to be involved in environmental campaigning out of a genuine desire to protect the environment from damage. The quote also shows exactly why the environmentalist are fighting such an uphill battle; the amount of money it would take to "persuade" all of the individual and corporate interests to leave the environment alone is almost unimaginable. It is also interesting that the animal she references is the grizzly bear as this is the animal most impacted by the arrival of more and more humans who take over the land that the bears are indigenous to.

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