They lied to you. The Devil is not the Prince of Matter; the Devil is the arrogance of the spirit, faith without smile, truth that is never seized by doubt. The Devil is grim because he knows where he is going, and, in moving, he always returns whence he came.

Umberto Eco
Umberto Eco (b. 1932) Italian semiotician, essayist, philosopher, novelist
The Name of the Rose (1980)
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The struggle which is not joyous is the wrong struggle. The joy of the struggle is not hedonism and hilarity, but the sense of purpose, achievement, and dignity.

Germaine Greer
Germaine Greer (b. 1939) English reformer, author, educator
The Female Eunuch, Introduction (1970)
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I believe we are descendid from the Puritins, who nobly fled from a land of despitism to a land of freedim, where they could not only enjoy their own religion, but prevent everybody else from enjoyin his.

[I believe we are descended from the Puritans, who nobly fled from a land of despotism to a land of freedom, where they could not only enjoy their own religion, but prevent everybody else from enjoying his.]

Artemus_Ward
Artemus Ward (1834-1867) American humorist, editor, lecturer [pseud. of Charles Farrar Browne]
“Is Introduced at the Club,” The Complete Works of Artemus Ward (1898)
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No one just starts giggling and wearing black and signs up to become a villainous monster. How the hell do you think it happens? It happens to people. Just people. They make questionable choices, for what might be very good reasons. They make choice after choice, and none of them is slaughtering roomfuls of saints, or murdering hundreds of baby seals, or rubber-room irrational. But it adds up. And then one day they look around and realized that they’re so far over the line that they can’t remember where it was.

Jim Butcher
Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Cold Days (2012)
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If the provisions of the Constitution be not upheld when they pinch as well as when they comfort, they may as well be abandoned.

George Sutherland
George Sutherland (1862-1942) Anglo-American jurist, Supreme Court Justice (1922-1938)
Home Building & Loan Association v. Blaisdell, 290 U.S. 398, 483 (1934)
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There is nothing that I tell you with more eager desire that you should believe — nothing with wider ground in my experience for requiring you to believe, than this, that you never will love art well, till you love what she mirrors better.

John Ruskin
John Ruskin (1819-1900) English art critic and writer
Eagle’s Nest, Lecture 3, “Relation of Wise Art to Wise Science,” sec. 41 (15 Sep 1872)
    (Source)
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I think I don’t regret a single “excess” of my responsive youth — I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions and possibilities I didn’t embrace.

Henry James
Henry James (1843-1916) American writer
Letter to Hugh Walpole (21 Aug 1913)
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We protest against unjust criticism, but we accept unearned applause.

Jose Narosky
José Narosky (b. 1930) Argentine aphorist and writer
Si Todos Los Sueños (1993)
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Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed — and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First Amendment — the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution — not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and the sentimental, not to simply “give the public what it wants” — but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold, educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.

John Kennedy
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Speech, American Newspaper Publishers Association (27 Apr 1961)
    (Source)
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Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind, is written large in his works.

Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
Orlando: A Biography, ch. 4 (1928)
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Nothing makes one so vain as being told that one is a sinner. Conscience makes egotists of us all.

Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) Irish poet, wit, dramatist
The Picture of Dorian Gray, ch. 8 [Lord Henry] (1891)
    (Source)
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The Argument from Intimidation is a confession of intellectual impotence.

Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand (1905-1982) Russian-American writer, philosopher
The Virtue of Selfishness (1964)
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To be nobody-but-yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

e e cummings
e e cummings (1894-1962) American poet and painter [Edward Estlin Cummings]
A Miscellany (1958)
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I wouldn’t want to live in Tomorrowland, where the social patterns and infrastructure are all so spiff and modern and rational and well-designed that any remaining problems must needs be insoluble, and so a cause for despair.

Teresa Neilsen Hayden
Teresa Nielsen Hayden (b. 1956) American editor, writer, essayist
“On Time” (1995)
    (Source)
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I saw pale kings and princes too,
Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried — “La Belle Dame sans Merci
Hath thee in thrall!”

John Keats
John Keats (1795-1821) English poet
“La Belle Dame sans Merci,” st. 10 (1819)
    (Source)
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Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die.

Anne Lamott
Anne Lamott (b. 1954) American novelist and non-fiction writer
Traveling Mercies, ch. 3 (1999)

On Facebook (31 Jan 2013) she further wrote: "When I first got sober in '86, I first heard someone say that harboring resentment is like drinking rat poison, and waiting for the rat to die. Resenting someone is about not forgiving them -- thinking that they have done something to you so damaging or disgusting that the are beyond the pale; so therefore you are choosing to be toxic for the rest of your life, rather than to work and pray for the healing. You are willing to go through life not metabolizing the rat poison, so that this person should know what a morally repellent person you believe them to be. But the most horrible thing is that half the time, they aren't even AWARE of what it is you think they did to you. So it's a complete waste of your precious bile. When I am willing to have clogged bile ducts, because of a person who hardly thinks of me, or has no idea that he behaved like a total asshat, then I'm the crazy one."
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I git thar fustest with the mostest.

Nathan Bedford Forrest
Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877) American / Confederate military leader
(Attributed)

Sometimes "corrected" as "I get there firstest with the mostest men," first found in print in a New York Tribune article about Civil War generals. The New York Times (28 May 1918) speculatively corrected this to "Ma'am, I get thar first with the most men." Elsewhere given as "I always make a rule to get there first with the most men."
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He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth makes himself the accomplice of liars and forgers.

Charles Peguy
Charles Péguy (1873-1914) French poet, essayist, editor
“Basic Verities: The Honest People,” Basic Verities: Prose and Poetry [tr. A and J. Green (1943)]
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I can picture in my mind a world without war, a world without hate. And I can picture us attacking that world because they’d never expect it.

Jack Handey
Jack Handey (b. 1949) American humorist
Deep Thoughts (1992)
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There is hardly any bodily blemish which a winning behaviour will not conceal, or make tolerable; and there is no external grace which ill-nature or affectation will not deform.

James Burgh
James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
The Dignity of Human Nature, Sec. 5 “Miscellaneous Thoughts on Prudence in Conversation” (1754)
    (Source)
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Depending on the kindness of strangers may not be as bad as depending on the competence of strangers.

Arthur D Hlavaty
Arthur D. Hlavaty (b. 1942) American writer, editor, publisher [a/k/a "Supergee"]
“Derogatory Reference” #100 (2002)
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If it was a worthwhile fight, it didn’t matter who won; some good was sure to come of it.

Richard Brooks
Richard Brooks (1912-1992) American screenwriter, film director, novelist
Deadline: U.S.A. [film] (1952)

Line spoken by Ethyl Barrymore.
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The trouble with writing a book about yourself is that you can’t fool around. If you write about someone else, you can stretch the truth from here to Finland. If you write about yourself the slightest deviation makes you realize instantly that there may be honor among thieves, but you are just a dirty liar.

Groucho Marx
Groucho Marx (1890-1977) American comedian [b. Julius Henry Marx]
Groucho and Me (1959)
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Body or mind, heart or soul, we’re all human, and we’re supposed to feel pain. You cut yourself off from it at your own risk.

Jim Butcher
Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Small Favor (2008)
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The right to be heard would be, in many cases, of little avail if it did not comprehend the right to be heard by counsel. Even the intelligent and educated layman has small and sometimes no skill in the science of law. If charged with crime, he is incapable, generally, of determining for himself whether the indictment is good or bad. He is unfamiliar with the rules of evidence. Left without the aid of counsel he may be put on trial without a proper charge, and convicted upon incompetent evidence, or evidence irrelevant to the issue or otherwise inadmissible. He lacks both the skill and knowledge adequately to prepare his defense, even though he have a perfect one. He requires the guiding hand of counsel at every step in the proceedings against him. Without it, though he be not guilty, he faces the danger of conviction because he does not know how to establish his innocence. If that be true of men of intelligence, how much more true is it of the ignorant and illiterate, or those of feeble intellect.

George Sutherland
George Sutherland (1862-1942) Anglo-American jurist, Supreme Court Justice (1922-1938)
Powell v. Alabama, 287 U.S. 45, 53 (1932) [majority opinion]
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It’d be nice if we’d now stop hearing political appointees and MBA candidates crowing about their private sector successes, their nose for accountability and the perils of broken government. Whatever. All I hear in that is the sneering of reformers who actually don’t much like democracy. I don’t want politicians who are “above politics,” anymore then I want a plumber who’s “above toilets.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates
Ta-Nehisi Coates (b. 1975) American writer, journalist, educator
“Hubris,” Atlantic (7 Apr 2011)
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He has waged cruel war against human nature itself, violating its most sacred rights of life and liberty in the persons of a distant people who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into slavery in an other hemisphere, or to incur miserable death in their transportation thither. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of INFIDEL powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain. Determined to keep open a market where MEN should be bought and sold, he has prostituted his negative for suppressing every legislative attempt to prohibit or to restrain this execrable commerce. And that this assemblage of horrors might want no fact of distinguished die, he is now exciting those very people to rise in arms among us, and to purchase that liberty of which he has deprived them, by murdering the people on whom he also obtruded them: thus paying off former crimes committed against the LIBERTIES of one people, with crimes which he urges them to commit against the LIVES of an other.

Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) US President (1801-09)
Declaration of Independence [draft] (1776)

This anti-slavery clause was removed from the Declaration at the behest of the representatives of South Carolina as a requirement for their vote.
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He that flings Dirt at another dirtieth himself most.

ifullet001p1
Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia, #2107 (1732)
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An authentic faith — which is never comfortable or completely personal — always involves a deep desire to change the world, to transmit values, to leave this earth somehow better that we found it.

Francis I
Francis I (b. 1936) Argentinian Catholic Pope (2013- ) [b. Jorge Mario Bergoglio]
Evangelii Gaudium, sec. 183 (24 Nov 2013)
    (Source)
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Those people you saw — the realborn — are born without a plan. They’re born because biology tells humans to make more humans; but it doesn’t consider what to do with them after that. Realborn go for years without the slightest clue what they’re going to do with themselves. From what I understand, some of them never actually figure it out. They just walk through life in a daze and then fall into their graves at the end of it. Sad. And inefficient.

John Scalzi
John Scalzi (b. 1969) American writer
The Ghost Brigades, ch. 5 (2006)
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I should mention that there had been many floating castles before the Interregnum. I guess the spell isn’t all that difficult, if you care to put enough work into it in the first place. The reason that they are currently out of vogue is the Interregnum itself. One day, over four hundred years ago now, sorcery stopped working … just like that. If you look around in the right places in the countryside you will still find broken husks and shattered remnants of what were once floating castles.

Steven Brust
Steven Brust (b. 1955) American writer, systems programmer
Jhereg, ch. 7 (1983)
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The whole point of society is to be less unforgiving than nature.

Arthur D Hlavaty
Arthur D. Hlavaty (b. 1942) American writer, editor, publisher [a/k/a "Supergee"]
“Derogatory Reference” #100 (2002)
    (Source)
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SID: It is not what you are; it’s what you don’t become that hurts.

Fannie Hurst
Fannie Hurst (1889-1968) American novelist
Humoresque [film] (1946) [screenplay Clifford Odets, Zachary Gold]

Spoken by Oscar Levant.
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He that applauds him who does not deserve praise, is endeavoring to deceive the public; he that hisses in malice or sport, is an oppressor and a robber.

Samuel Johnson
Samuel Johnson (1709-1784) English writer, lexicographer, critic
The Idler (7 Oct 1758)
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No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding; and from that understanding comes support or opposition. And both are necessary.

John Kennedy
John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) US President (1961-63)
Speech, American Newspaper Publishers Association (27 Apr 1961)
    (Source)
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If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.

Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) English modernist writer [b. Adeline Virginia Stephen]
“The Leaning Tower,” Lecture, Workers’ Educational Association, Brighton (May 1940)
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DARLA: You really think that safety can be plucked from the arms of an evil deed?

Steven DeKnight
Steven S. DeKnight (contemp.) American television screenwriter, producer
“Angel,” 4×17 “Inside Out” (2 Apr 2003)
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An eagerness and zeal for dispute on every subject, and with every one, shows great self-sufficiency, that never-failing sign of great self-ignorance.

William Pitt the Elder
William Pitt the Elder (1708-1778) British statesman, orator [1st Earl of Chatham]
Correspondence of William Pitt, vol 4 (1840) [ed. Taylor and Pringle]
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There is nothing that makes more cowards and feeble men than public opinion.

Henry_Ward_Beecher
Henry Ward Beecher (1813-1887) American clergyman and orator
Proverbs from Plymouth Pulpit (1887)
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My own personal theory is that this is the very dawn of the world. We’re hardly more than an eyeblink away from the fall of Troy, and scarcely an interglaciation removed from the Altamira cave painters. We live in extremely interesting ancient times. I like this idea. It encourages us to be earnest and ingenious and brave, as befits ancestral peoples; but keeps us from deciding that because we don’t know all the answers, they must be unknowable and thus unprofitable to pursue.

Teresa Neilsen Hayden
Teresa Nielsen Hayden (b. 1956) American editor, writer, essayist
“On Time” (1995)
    (Source)
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O, what can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has wither’d from the lake,
And no birds sing.

John Keats
John Keats (1795-1821) English poet
“La Belle Dame sans Merci,” st. 1 (1819)
    (Source)
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Administrivia: Fortune and Glory, Kid!

I just discovered there’s a reference to WIST in the English Language Arts (ELA) text exemplars for the Common Core curriculum as implemented by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (NCDPI). These are “sample texts intended to guide educators as they thoughtfully select texts to use as vehicles for teaching the ELA Common Core State Standards (CCSS).”

On Page 8 of the PDF, under Informational Texts for grades 9-10, we have a reference to Learned Hand’s “I Am an American Day Address”, pointing to this WIST page.

WIST: Doing Its Part to Educate Kids (at least in North Carolina).


Added on 21-Aug-14; last updated 21-Aug-14
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The system isn’t about ideals. The country doesn’t elect great leaders. It elects fucked-up people who for reasons of ego want to run the world. Then the citizenry makes them become great.

Tony Kushner
Tony Kushner (b. 1956) American playwright and screenwriter
Interview with Ben Greenman, “Tony Kushner, Radical Pragmatist,” Mother Jones (Nov/Dec 2003)
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From the sublime to the ridiculous is but a step.

Napoleon
Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) French emperor
Comment to the Abbe du Pradt (1812)

Referring to the retreat from Moscow. See Paine.
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Men of Athens, I honor and love you; but I shall obey God rather than you, and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy, exhorting anyone whom I meet and saying to him after my manner: You, my friend — a citizen of the great and mighty and wise city of Athens — are you not ashamed of heaping up the greatest amount of money and honor and reputation, and caring so little about wisdom and truth and the greatest improvements of the soul, which you never regard or heed at all?

Socrates
Socrates (c.470-399 BC) Greek philosopher
In Plato, Apology, sec. 29 [tr. Jowett (1894)]
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If you mean to make your side of the argument appear plausible, do not prejudice the people against what you think truth by your passionate manner of defending it.

James Burgh
James Burgh (1714-1775) British politician and writer
The Dignity of Human Nature, Sec. 5 “Miscellaneous Thoughts on Prudence in Conversation” (1754)
    (Source)
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The main rule of writing is that if you do it with enough assurance and confidence, you’re allowed to do whatever you like. (That may be a rule for life as well as for writing. But it’s definitely true for writing.) So write your story as it needs to be written. Write it honestly, and tell it as best you can. I’m not sure that there are any other rules. Not ones that matter.

Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman (b. 1960) British fabulist
In “Ten Rules for Writing Fiction,” The Guardian (20 Feb 2010)
    (Source)
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Generally speaking, everybody is reactionary on the subjects he knows about.

Robert Conquest
Robert Conquest (b. 1917) Anglo-American historian, diplomat, poet
“Conquest’s Law”

Attributed in Kingsley Amis, Memoirs (1991)

Variant: "Everyone is a reactionary about subjects he understands."

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Shoot straight you bastards. Don’t make a mess of it.

~generic
Other Authors and Sources
Harry “Breaker” Morant, to the firing squad (27 Feb 1902)
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It always pains me greatly to discover how some Christian communities, and even consecrated persons, can tolerate different forms of enmity, division, calumny, defamation, vendetta, jealousy and the desire to impose certain ideas at all costs, even to persecutions which appear as veritable witch hunts. Whom are we going to evangelize if this is the way we act?

Francis I
Francis I (b. 1936) Argentinian Catholic Pope (2013- ) [b. Jorge Mario Bergoglio]
Evangelii Gaudium, sec. 100 (24 Nov 2013)
    (Source)
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What’s the point of being in charge if you can’t indulge in pointless favoritism?

John Scalzi
John Scalzi (b. 1969) American writer
Old Man’s War, ch. 7 (2005)
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Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy — they’re given after all. Choices can be hard. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you’re not careful, and if you do, it’ll probably be to the detriment of your choices.

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos (b. 1964) American business magnate, entrepreneur, investor
Commencement Speech, Princeton University (2010)
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The strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must.

Thucydides
Thucydides (c. 460-400 BC) Greek historian
History of the Peloponnesian War, Book 5, ch. 89 [tr. Crawley and Wick (1982)]
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It is a salutary discipline to consider the vast number of books that are written, the fair hopes with which their authors see them published, and the fate which awaits them. What chance is there that any book will make its way among that multitude? And the successful books are but the successes of a season. Heaven knows what pains the author has been at, what bitter experiences he has endured and what heartache suffered, to give some chance reader a few hours’ relaxation or to while away the tedium of a journey. And if I may judge from the reviews, many of these books are well and carefully written; much thought has gone into their composition; to some even has been given the anxious labour of a lifetime. The moral I draw is that the writer should seek his reward in the pleasure of his work and in release from the burden of his thoughts; and, indifferent to aught else, care nothing for praise or censure, failure or success.

W Somerset Maugham
W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) English novelist and playwright [William Somerset Maugham]
The Moon and Sixpence (1919)
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“So?” Bob said. “Hat up, go kill her. Problem solved.”
“Bob,” I said. “You can’t just go around killing people.”
“I know. That’s why you should do it.”
“No, no. I can’t go around killing people, either.”

Jim Butcher
Jim Butcher (b. 1971) American author
Grave Peril (2001)
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