Inspired by a couple of scenes from The Iron Giant ,one of my favorite movies of all time.
Who We Choose To Be
The images flitted across the screen, bringing swaths of light and color into the otherwise darkness of the living room. Two pairs of eyes, one youthful and enchanted, and the other observant and calm, watched the film together.
Jack's unruly patch of blonde hair swept out in all directions, unkempt from the earlier nap that was the reason he wasn't tired now. He clutched his favorite stuffed animal, a gift from miss Garcia, and leaned against his daddy's side.
Hotch watched Jack more than he watched the movie, one hand wrapped around the little boy's side. He was hardly paying attention to the dialogue until he noticed Jack's wide eyes were no longer focused on the screen, but on him instead.
"What is it?" He asked softly, and his son bit his lip.
"What he said, daddy," the boy replied quietly.
"What do you mean?" Dark brows drew together and Hotch reached for the remote, rewinding and playing back the last minute or so of the movie.
"It's dead, understand?" Hogarth, the little human boy, shouted up at the big metal creature. "They shot it, with that gun."
The iron giant looked down at him, blinking wide optics. "Gun?"
Hogarth frowned up sadly at the giant. "Yes... guns kill."
The metal behemoth looked at the deer, the still-warm body left dead by hunters. "Guns kill..."
Hotch turned away from the movie, a frown touching his stoic face as he met his son's eyes again. "Jack?"
"He said guns kill," The smart little boy offered softly, "but... you have a gun."
Dark brows shot up in surprise. "That's... different."
Hotch struggled to come up with a response. "Jack..." he started weakly, "daddy uses guns to... to catch bad people. People like... Mr. Mansley."
He pointed to the screen and Jack looked to see the red-haired government official pushing and shoving Hogarth, snarling threats and trying to force the boy to give up his friend.
"People like him... who want to hurt other people, even though sometimes bad people, like Mr. Mansley, think what they are doing is right. It's daddy's job to stop people like that from hurting anybody."
"The gun... stops people, too?"
"Well," Hotch continued, wondering when his son had gotten so smart, and so mature, "a lot of times, the gun will scare the bad people and they'll stop... hurting other people."
"But the gun kills?"
"Sometimes... the gun doesn't scare people enough, and they don't want to stop. That's when guns kill; my gun is used to protect people. Bad guys use guns to hurt others."
"Oh," Jack replied, "has yours ever... killed?"
Hotch drew in a sharp breath. "Well, yes, Jack. But sometimes, I had to use it when I didn't want to. I, and all of my friends from work that you know, only use our guns when we really have to. By using our own guns, we have saved a lot of people."
There was quiet for a few moments, and Jack leaned against his fathers side again as he resumed paying attention to the movie. Hotch watched the boy with troubled eyes.
"I understand, daddy," the quiet words came after a few minutes, "you're a hero... like superman."
"Super... man?" The giant's soft words came from the screen.
"I know you're good, daddy... I know you want to be good."
"You are who you choose to be," Hogarth told them from the screen.
As Jack went back to watching the movie, Hotch could only focus on the gentle words spoken from the boy he loved more than anything in the world. Who we choose to be, He thought.
He'd chosen long ago; and it was a choice so deeply ingrained that nothing could change it. He was good, and he would always be good.
Guns killed, but sometimes they protected, too.
This came to me after finishing the movie.
If you haven't seen The Iron Giant, I seriously recommend that you do. It's an amazing movie.