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Self-centered anger generates evil, but wrath at social injustice becomes the driving force for reform. Strong language that censures and combats a great evil often awakens adverse reactions from society, but this must not intimidate those who believe they are right. A lion is a lion because he roars.
When it comes to locations, I’m one of those crazy authors who has to see it, touch it, taste it, before I trust myself to recreate it for my readers. Having said that, visiting a locked-down pediatric psych ward was the most intimidating research I’ve ever done – and I’ve visited maximum security prisons, shooting galleries, bone collections, etc.
Because when you kill 300 people, 400 people, who have nothing to do with the provocations Hezbollah staged, but you do it in effect deliberately by being indifferent to the scale of collateral damage, you’re killing hostages in the hope of intimidating those that you want to intimidate. And more likely than not you will not intimidate them. You’ll simply outrage them and make them into permanent enemies with the number of such enemies increasing.
I started thinking about gender and how it’s an arbitrary thing if you’re born with an XX or XY chromosome, but it can determine your experience of the world. It’s about whether you are physically intimidating vs. being physically intimidated. It determines whether you are the one to take an active role in sex and society.
Years ago I was asked this question: Do terrorists fear anything? I said, ‘I suspect they would fear a morally strong America.’ They would know that a morally strong America would not be dislodged. You can always appeal to a point of vulnerability which would break a people up. [Terrorists] don’t fear so much the weaponry as the moral courage, and I think a morally strong America would be intimidating to them.
On the other hand, winning awards is cool. Aside from the warm fuzzy, it creates publicity, and that helps spread the word about the book. Plus, this award was a plaque of some sort. I could have used that for all sorts of things. Obviously it would be useful for decorating the barren walls of my house and intimidating my enemies, but that’s just for starters.